• Mission

    To enhance social and environmental resilience by growing locally adapted seeds, distributing them to low-income and BIPOC communities, and empowering our members and partners to grow and save seeds of their own.

  • Vision

    To foster ecological resilience and a culture of abundance in our local food system, where everyone’s access to healthy, organically-produced foods is no longer defined by their income or zip code.

  • Values

    — Mutual aid between people, plants and pollinators.
    — Climate shock mitigation through smart landscape design.
    — Creating and sharing a replicable nonprofit model that can be spread to urban areas across the United States.

Meet the Team

Nick Canino

Executive Director & Founder

As well as founding Rhythm Seed Farm, Nick is our in-house botanist, landscape designer, and permaculture expert.

While he was introduced to gardening at a young age through his mom’s community plot in Seattle, Washington, it wasn’t until he graduated high school and worked on organic permaculture farms in New Zealand that his obsession with growing plants truly took root. While living on the North Island, he worked planting trees, maintaining perennial food crops, and building homes from cob.

He returned to the US in 2011 to attend the Johnston Center at the University of Redlands in California. There he worked with the school’s garden, where he spearheaded an independent study project to plant an orchard of apple, fig, plum, peach, pomegranate, and citrus trees. He also planted an herb garden outside the college cafe, initiated a composting effort amongst his peers, and – to the great delight of his roommate – kept a bin of composting worms in his dorm room.

Since he left university, he has dedicated his time to botany. He has worked as a farm manager, as well as designed and installed dozens of unique home-scale gardens across Oregon, Washington, and California. His main passion is working with unconventional edible plants. In particular, he is fascinated by the process of plant selection and understanding how growing conditions encourage new varieties to emerge and adapt to our changing climate.


Laura Deal
Director of Development


Laura is our program strategist, digital infrastructure lead, and outreach manager.

Laura is a systems thinker, world traveler, and alternative agriculture enthusiast. Born and raised in Vancouver, Washington, she resettled in the Pacific Northwest in 2022 following 10 years of living across South America, the Caucasus, Southeast Asia and Western Europe.

She joined us in August 2022, bringing over 6 years of experience in environmental research and communications to RSF. She has worked as a science writer and social media strategist with the Center for International Forestry Research and in digital community building with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. She also worked as a research assistant with TRANS SUSTAIN, a grant-funded research group focused on studying the social efficacy of agricultural sustainability certifications (such as Fair Trade and Organic) at the University of Münster in Germany, where she earned her master’s degree.

Her primary passion is seeking “embarrassingly simple” solutions to interconnected social and environmental injustices, which is what inspired her to join RSF. When she is not working with RSF or in her own garden, she can be found pursuing various DIY projects, planting trees as a crew leader with Friends of Trees, or buried under a pile of books.


Alana Cornell
Executive Officer

Alana is our cofounder, Queen of Flowers, and volunteer facilitator.

As our co-founder, Alana was breaking ground at the farm before the first seed was even planted. Harvesting fruit at a u-pick farm in her home state of Maryland was her first brush with farming as a child, and has loved farms and cultivation ever since. She is particularly gifted at the art of growing flowers.

 Now, when she’s not in her studio, you will often find her at the farm helping new volunteers get their hands dirty, tending her dahlias, and harvesting flowers, fruits or seeds. Outside of the farm, she is also the founder and owner of Sprigs and Clay Creations (also on Instagram), where she sells handmade ceramics and botanical designs.

Alana received a BA in 2013 from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands with an Emphasis in “Experiential Sociology, Creative Writing and Photography.” The center’s unique approach to education – in which students take ownership over their own education – inspired her to work as a recreational youth program director before moving to Portland in 2020. She also brings this approach to the farm, where she facilitates communal learning experiences. In 2023, she aims to establish a youth-focused educational program at the farm that will engage students in urban farming and seed saving.