Today we are honored to have with us Danielle Moore. Danielle is the founder of
the Sunday Bacon Foundation, a nonprofit organization. She's very passionate
about healthy cooking and eating and is here to share a little bit about that passion with us today. Hi Danielle, thank you so much for being here with us. How are you today?
I'm great, thanks for having me. How are you?
TC: I'm doing well. Thank you. We are very excited to have you and
I'm just curious what drew you to doing the work that you do with healthy cooking and eating?
Well, I started out from really young thinking that I was going to be a doctor, always had
that focus. Also wanted to be a backup dancer for Paula Abdul, but that was kind of a separate passion. I got all the way up to the cusp of it and when it started becoming a reality, I just realized that it wasn't in line with who I was becoming. I was more focused holistically, so I think I did what most people who don't know what they're going to do
do, which is go to Business School. (Both Chuckle)
DM: So, I went and got my Masters in business. I found myself working in kind of corporate setting and it just wasn't for me, so I just thought, you know, what do I want to do? What do I want to focus on and a friend was just like, hey, you never stopped talking about food. How about food? And that was just an aha moment. So then I went to grad school for nutrition, and found my way into the local farmer’s market scene in Atlanta through volunteering. I just fell in love. It was just the passion of the farmers, the chefs, the shoppers. Everybody was just celebrating around food all the time. Then from there I got into food access work and did a statewide campaign to try to bring farmers markets to everybody. Try to you know, spread the word about using SNAP and EBT dollars at farmers markets, reaching food deserts, things like that and here I am.
TC: That's awesome and I really think that it says a lot that you went back and followed your passion. It's so important to do something that you're passionate about and something that just helps you fulfill your purpose.
DM: Yes, and there's an interesting balance that needs to be found between what your passion is and making it your work, because I found that I made the farmers markets my job which I loved, but then there was no personal hobby. My personal hobby became my job. So I think that finding a line between you know, keeping yourself as a person and then defining yourself in what you do for business or for your livelihood is important.
TC: Absolutely, I agree, and you've touched on this just a little bit, but how and why did you start your nonprofit the Sunday Bacon Foundation?
DM: Going through Business School, they kind of funnel you into these big corporations. I mean, they're great jobs and it's a great opportunity, but it just always felt wrong for me. I always was just really drawn to the nonprofit world. So you know, I got 2 business degrees. I moved to Atlanta thinking like “ooh, look at me everybody’s gonna want to hire me.” I sent out 75 resumes and I didn't hear back from a soul except for a very entry level job at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But I was just determined to be around nonprofits. That didn't really pan out into the growth that I wanted, and that's around the time that I decided to go back to school. So I went back to school for nutrition always thinking there would be a non-profit component to what I was going to do. I always thought I'll focus on local food. It's important to me. It's important to support our farmers. It's important for people to shop locally and then 2020 happened and it was just kind of like awakening to the bubble that I lived in. That was like, hey, you know, local food is important absolutely, but it's also a privilege. I moved to St. Pete right in the middle of the pandemic, and I was thinking what nonprofit can I create to help? What does St. Pete need? And I started doing some research and it was like St.Pete doesn't need another nonprofit. There are people here doing so much work in every spectrum of society and causes that you can imagine.
DM: And there was just so much energy behind what I was finding that I was like
“I just want to be a part of this.” I don't want to, you know, take another piece of the pie. Working in the nonprofit world with local food that was kind of how it was. It was like there was only so much that was going to be given by these big foundations and you want to support your fellow nonprofits so it was kind of like, can we combine our efforts and, you know, get a bigger chunk of the pie.
DM: So a challenge I faced with the farmers market program is that everybody wanted to fund like the real attractive, getting your name out there stuff, and they wanted to fund like the “it” nonprofits, and there was all these kind of unsexy programs that were getting no attention because it's not in line with the aesthetics. There’s just so many decisions that go on at big foundations about what they can really address. So I thought like, well, let's just be that in between. I have skills that I know that I can offer. I have time that I can offer. So it's not just writing a check for me, it's joining the board and going to the volunteering events and joining the committees. Whatever they need. So, it's been awesome and I'm so grateful to have all of these people to learn from. I'm kind of like a baby foundation where I'm like “ok, well this is my idea, but how does it actually work on your end?” So it's been cool to kind of figure out how we're doing this with the people that we're giving the grants to.
TC: Right, right, and in addition to you learning a lot, I feel like you are definitely offering a lot too because although Saint Pete does have a lot of nonprofits, there's always a need that can be met, and you're also gonna bring your own thing to add your own niche to you know, the market for what you're doing.
DM: Yeah, I think there was a real feeling inside of me that was like I don't know what St. Pete needs. I'm brand new to the area, so I think that if I had been in Atlanta where I did know the needs I may have gone another way. Here, it just kind of felt like let me just let people tell me what they need…
DM: …instead of imposing my beliefs on everybody.
TC: I think that's a great approach…it is. Can you describe a challenge other than what you've shared already, that you've had to face or overcome in this line of work?
DM: Ok so I was thinking about this question 'cause I'm thinking about the women of EmpowHerment and who will be reading this. I thought about the typical challenges of starting a business or starting a foundation, but I think a more personal challenge, on like a womanhood level is like this. I guess you call it impostor syndrome. This idea of “am I going to get found out that I'm faking or that I don't know what I'm doing?" I am a recipe developer and photographer for my business and I'm self-taught. I don't have a fancy degree in photography. I didn't go to culinary school. What I do is all just based on trial and error and reading and watching people’s videos and just working with chefs in Atlanta, and I constantly have this feeling of like “oh, but I'm not a real photographer, or like it's not a real foundation.” I think that we make ourselves smaller and we make ourselves feel a little bit less important than we really should. If I listened to my inner voice, it would be like “heck yeah you are doing this! Like everything is amazing!” But I tend to question or quiet that voice.
DM: But there's struggle because I mean I was raised that modesty is what you do as a woman. And that, you know, when a group of women are together, they criticize themselves, not build themselves up.
DM: So I think that's been a challenge for me just getting to this place and being like yes I have a successful business and a foundation. There was a particular woman that I worked for that was on the board of all these amazing nonprofits and she always had these projects going on and I remember looking at her like “ooh I want to be you one day.” (Both chuckling/smiling) I feel like I've arrived there and it's sometimes hard for me to go OK and just celebrate it. Sometimes it’s “but, but, but…” So I think, just like owning it seems easy, but it’s way harder than it sounds.
TC: And I'm so glad that you brought that up, because I think a lot of times as women we need to hear that other women feel that, and the impostor syndrome,
it's like sometimes we feel like we have to dim our light around others because we feel like it may come across as boastful, instead of knowing that other women are there ready to celebrate with us. So, I'm glad you brought that up because I think other women really need to hear that it was confirmation for me at least, like I appreciate you sharing that.
DM: Yeah yeah, and you know, I really notice it in my group of girlfriends. I've got friends of 25 plus years that we've just really been lucky to like keep our core group of friends. We've worked over the years to maintain the friendships across the country and everything, and when I'm around them, modesty isn't even something that crosses my mind. It's just like I want to share good news and they want to be excited about it. There's something about being around your people that you're like “this is authentically me, let's celebrate that!”
TC: Yes, yes. So I think that's great because I think one of the things about EmpowHerment is getting women to have that safe space in that place where we can share these vulnerabilities with one another, so that's awesome. Now, what is your favorite aspect of sharing the value of healthy cooking with others?
DM: Oh man, I feel like this was such a clear path. When I look back right like it's always 2020.
TC: Uh huh.
DM: And I feel like 2020 isn't a good saying anymore (Both chuckle), but 2020 vision.
TC: Right (chuckling) We don't want to look back at 2020.
DM: We all need to eat. It's just such a communal human thing that we do. Watching people enjoy food, watching those health connections be made, watching people achieve the outcomes they're looking for, you know whether it's physical health, mental health, or just feeling good about the decisions you're making. But there's just excitement around food for me, there's never a dull moment, I guess. I feel like you give me a scenario and like I can fix it with food.
TC: Ok (both chuckling)
DM: Like the end of the world apocalypse. I am definitely the chef.