Rhianna Simes, M.S.Ed
Co-Director, Cultivate Oregon
Oregon State University Cooperative Extension Service, retired.
Rhianna is an agricultural consultant, educator, and co-founder of Verdant Phoenix llc.
Rhianna grew up on a 100 acre farm in Central Texas where she developed her love of horticulture and organic farming. After completing her bachelor’s in Womens’ Studies, Communications and a minor in Spanish, Rhianna moved to Oregon in 2002 to be part of the environmental justice movement in the Northwest forests. She worked on farms in the Eugene area where she also managed a nonprofit (Breaking Free) that teaches women’s self-defense.
Rhianna moved to Southern Oregon in 2005, worked at several plant nurseries in the area, and spent 7 years at a nursery specializing in native plants. She taught at Oregon State University for 10 years where she developed three OSU programs: Master Recycler, Land Stewards, and Citizen Fire Academy. After starting and running these programs, Rhianna coordinated the OSU Master Gardener program for 4 years. Rhianna has a Masters degree in Education and Botany from Southern Oregon University.
Rhianna completed Oregon Tilth’s Organic Land Care Accreditation program to help educate people and municipalities about implementing organic land care. Most recently, Rhianna has designed and managed residential gardens, demonstration plots, and a variety of farms from 1 to 10 acres and served as Executive Director of Our Family Farms, a nonprofit organization that educates, advocates and inspires farmers, policy makers and the community at large to support regenerative agricultural practices.
When people understand where their food comes from, they can begin to understand its real value, and they start to see connections between how the food is grown and the health of communities. -Rhianna Simes