Not Far From The Tree is thrilled to officially introduce our new Interim Director, Danielle Goldfinger. I sat down with Danielle to talk about her experiences in Toronto’s food community and her hopes for our organization. Here’s what she had to say…
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Heather: What filled your time before you joined the Not Far From the Tree team?
Danielle: Before this, I worked at The Stop Community Food Centre as the Events Coordinator. I also spend a lot of time with my son, Moishe, who is three.
H: How did you connect with The Stop and Toronto’s community food scene?
D: I worked internationally for about a year in Lagos, Nigeria doing work around AIDS, TB, and malaria. I studied International Development and thought that was where I wanted to be – but while I was there, I realized that a lot of the issues that communities were facing were things that I didn’t have personal experience with. So, it just felt there was a disconnect.
And then I realized that there were lots of issues in my own city that I wanted to get involved with. So when I got home, I Googled “community food Toronto,” because I always had an interest in food. The Stop came up, and I thought, “This place is so cool! Why have I never heard of this? Oh yah, because I’ve been focusing on international work!”
So, I started volunteering with The Stop in their drop-in centre. Then a job opened up in their fundraising team. I had a bit of experience in fundraising, and I got the job. It was a short-term contract that turned into something permanent, and I stayed there for almost six years.
H: Oh, lovely! And then, what drew you to Not Far From The Tree?
D: What I love the most about Not Far From The Tree is that there is a problem in the city – there is so much fruit currently growing in the city that is not getting used – and then there is – well, I won’t say it’s a simple solution, because I can see the work that goes into coordinating it – but there is a solution to the problem. It’s one idea. I love that the folks who have worked here have never veered away from that core idea.
H. Yah, the focus.
D: Exactly. The focus has been there from the beginning, and I believe it will continue to be there, as long as trees need picking.
H: And what are some of your plans or hopes as the new Interim Director?
D: Well, I hope that I can do as great a job as Laura (Not Far From The Tree’s founder) has done for so many years! She is wonderful and brilliant and charming, and so I want to do her proud. I want to continue in the vein that she has taken this organization.
In terms of work, I have a bunch of experience in fundraising, and I hope to create a really achievable fundraising plan for myself and the organization. I want to get some new grants, and I want to work on individual giving and corporate donors. I think there are a lot of people who are really interested in what we’re doing and want to support what we’re doing.
H: Is there one or two things that you’re especially excited about for joining the Not Far From The Tree team?
D: There are probably more than two! But I’m excited to work with such a dynamic team of people. And I’m excited to eat lots of fruit.
H: Which brings me to my final question! If you were on a deserted island, with only three fruit trees, what trees would you want them to be?
D: Mango. Because I cannot get a good mango in this city. I just don’t eat mangoes here. But If I’m overseas and happen to be in a place where they grow mangoes, it’s like “Ohhh, that’s a mango.” So, mangoes.
H: I feel that way about bananas.
D: Oh, I don’t really like bananas. But bananas are really good for you, so they might actually go on the list.
H: Oh no! I’m biasing you!
D: Seriously. So, mangoes, peaches, and apples – because apples store really well. Very practical!