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.
TC: Well, I'm glad to know you now (Chuckling)
TC: I am glad (Chuckling)
DM: I got you, I’ll feed you. (Both chuckling)
TC: Thank you. You can hear the passion in your voice when you're talking about what you do. You can hear that it's something that really brings you a lot of joy, DM: Thank you. That's nice to hear. Thank you.
TC: You’re welcome. And what are 3 words you would use to describe your foundation?
DM: This is a tricky one. The first word that came to mind was “flexible." If you read our website, that’s what I was going for. I got on there at first with my business mind and marketing mind and it was kind of stuffy and like typical foundation or professional copy. Then I kind of just like stepped it back and I was like, you know I don't want anybody to feel intimidated by the application first of all, because for me it's just replacing the in person chat experience. I wanted it to feel like if I met someone in person and they excitedly told me about what they were doing. I want it to be very informal because I think that that's like where people in the non-profit world shine. Like you just said that I'm excited when I talk about food. When you talked to Ambee about EmpowHERment, she’s just like a ball of light when she talks about what she does.
DM: So I just really wanted to bring that out and I was like, well, I can't expect them to be flexible if I'm not flexible. So with the foundation, I’m just figuring this out, and if you have a suggestion, let me know. If the application is like “do you have a website, that’s ok if you don’t," “Do you have a plan? That's ok if you don’t." So, I really just wanted to find ideas, and I think that you can't put ideas in like a very strict confined area, so I just wanted to be flexible.
The other one is “motivated.” I feel like I kind of get the cart before the horse. I just want to find everybody and learn about everything and that's kind of why we took this approach to taking on a few groups or causes at a time because once you get into a community like we got into equity at first and we started going out to events and getting to know all of the folks around town that were doing things and it was just like so exciting. So I think that I just get tunnel vision for it, so I'm really motivated to see not only who we can help now, but like how can we keep this going and how can this grow and be a resource that people can rely on?
And then the third one is…I guess it kind of tied to motivated…would be “interested or inquisitive.” I just want to know all the layers of the story. I think that a lot of time with good intentions people put Band-Aids on a bullet wounds.
DM: Like we're an instant gratification society. So a lot of us just want that instant “we fed a person” which is so important. It’s important to get the base needs met, but then there's all these different layers of why and how and who and when, and so I really want to learn how to not only help right now at this moment, but what can I do to figure out the why or help fix why.
TC: Right, right. That makes a lot of sense with the three words that you gave, which were flexible, motivated, and interested or inquisitive. I feel like those all lend to wanting longevity for your program and for your foundation, because you're looking to make lasting change. You're not just wanting as you said to deal with the now, you want these things to carry out in the future and have people make long term lifestyle changes is what it sounds like to me.
DM: Right, definitely.
TC: Um hmm, very good? How does healthy cooking and eating relate to equality in your mind?
DM: So I feel like I really learned a lot of lessons in this in the farmer’s market campaign that I was doing in Georgia. Like I said, I started with a real focus on supporting local and supporting farmers. I didn't really get into that space for the outreach and equity work but it found me That was a real like aha moment for me on so many different levels, but figuring out that it's not just that these farmers need our support, it's that they genuinely have the ability to feed the people who need to be fed.
DM: It's not gonna further our local community or economy to put another big chain that people may not be able to get to or may be priced out of. When we got a grant from the USDA and they wanted us to focus on outreach at food deserts, and so we found that there was this whole community right around farmers markets that wasn't going. It was people that were using SNAP and EBT, and so we started polling and they said that the markets felt very elitist and like they weren't invited. Nobody knew that they could use their snap and EBT dollars there, so there was this whole gap in information. In reality, if you swipe your SNAP/EBT card for $10, they will give you $20 to spend with local farmers, but no one knew.
DM: And then not only that, but it's great if you can go to a farmers market at 4:00 o'clock on a Thursday, but like the average person can't just go stroll the market at that time. So trying to figure out how we can make this local food accessible to people, not just in this three hour time period that most people are working. Then it was how do we teach people to cook this? If you shop at a farmers market, you shop in season and if you're shopping in Georgia, sometimes it's going to be rutabaga, kale, kohlrabi. It looks like alien vegetables to most people in this right? So how can we teach them what it does for their bodies and teach them how to fix it so that they like it so that you can take advantage…'cause when you shop local, if you get something that's at the height of season, it's so inexpensive. So teaching people, how can we take advantage of seasonal eating to keep our grocery budget down? And, you know, diversify the nutrients we're getting. You have to have equal education in nutriiton and cooking. You know somebody in your life had to teach you how to cook, and a lot of people don’t have that. So I think that everything about food relates to equality. And then add that to the fact that when you have poor nutrition, you're more susceptible to these diseases…
DM: …and then you get into that cycle of hospital bills and medication, and I think that it impacts at every level, and that's like why I get so excited about food.
TC: I like a lot of what you were sharing. It is very intriguing to me for several reasons. I'm a social worker, so I look at a lot of these things like equity, equality and it sounds like you've taken an approach where it moves things away from being exclusive to being more accessible. And when you talk about, education, I love it. I love that you're educating people because even different cultures, the way that they're taught, even if they're taught how to cook. It's not always the healthiest thing, it's just what you know. If you don't know any better, it's hard to do better. So I like that you take that education approach to let people know how things impact their bodies and how to use different foods and even how to shop in season for vegetables that you may not have known about or heard about, and just to kind of step out, and branch out to different things.
TC: Yeah, and what advice do you have for women who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship?
DM: For one, I would say leave modesty at the door. I think that when you're pitching your business, it is not the time for modesty. This isn't the time for minimizing yourself. This isn't the time for, you know, filling that quiet role that sometimes we as women are expected to fill. This is the time to slam into the room. To anybody who will listen, talk about what you're doing, talk about yourself, own your achievements. Own why you're great and why you're different. You never know if that person at the coffee shop has some connection or you just never know who knows who or what could come from a conversation. Just never minimize it. Never forget that if you didn't think you were qualified, you wouldn't be doing it. There's something in you that says “I am qualified to be an entrepreneur,” so listen to that and just go with it.
Then number two, I would say kind of has to do with like the coffee shop thing. Just meet with everybody, talk to everybody, seek mentorship. I was really lucky in working in local food. I worked with a group that had a lot of experience in start ups. So I got to learn a lot from them. One woman in particular would take every meeting. It didn't matter how far removed from what we were doing it was, it was like we're going to go have coffee with this person, and the weirdest combinations came from that. The weirdest ideas came, just so much innovation. If you keep on just taking meetings with people in your space, then you're just going get into this circular mentality.
TC: Yes, Yes. I think it's so healthy to be around people who challenge your thinking, and not always people who are going to just agree with everything and they get you to see different perspectives from different walks of life and what I've heard from you that stood out the most in what you just shared was knowing your worth and making sure that you abandon fear when you're looking to be an entrepreneur.
DM: Yeah, yeah, if you don't believe in it then nobody else is and you're going to wonder why it didn't work out.
TC: That's great advice. That's great advice. In fact, as I said, although I'm interviewing you for so many women, to you know read this article. I am like really inspired and you're helping me confirm some things for me, so I appreciate you.
DM: So wonderful to hear. Thank you.
TC: And what is one social media platform that enriches your life?
DM: A platform or account?
TC: I think they could mean the same thing, but I just changed it to platform like as a way of marketing your business. Or even if it's on a personal level, whichever you prefer.
DM: Well then I would say I'm not super big in the social media. My background is actually in marketing and in a previous life I would advise people on how to use it. I might be dating myself here, but that was like, you know, before Tik Tok and Snapchat and everything kind of came on the scene. I don't find fulfillment in engaging with social media sometimes, so I just don't. I'm lucky that my business doesn't rely on that. I think that a lot of people don't have that luxury. So if I were to really be serious about building my business online, I would probably hire somebody. I would seek help because I know that that's not my strength. I know that I struggle with the vulnerability that some people can show on their social media. I feel like I am a private person so I like to keep my business separate from myself as a person. And there's a part of me that wants to kind of merge it all, but there's another part of me that realizes that, sometimes that's not the safest space for my mental health. So I post when I feel it and I get on when I feel it and I engage when I feel it, and I try not to hold myself to too high of a standard because that's when I get into the “you should you should you should” mentality.
DM: But I do like Instagram very much. I think that's pretty obvious for a food photographer. I get a lot of inspiration from other people's work. I think that it's just fun to look at pictures. I'm a very visual person. When I first started posting I kind of had this like goal that I want just a legitimate amount of followers so that my clients see that I'm out here and doing things. If my clients ask me to post, I do. In building it though I did meet some other people that are in my space. Sometimes the food photographer/recipe developer space feels a little bit made up to me, 'cause I really did kind of make up this job in my head before I knew that it was really a job and I launched my business kind of not doing any market research, just knowing this is what I know I'm good at. I knew that I could bring something to the table, so I just started to reach out to companies. So I think that in building my social media, I found this little community that was like, “oh look at all these other people that are doing it too.” We would send messages like “girl are you in your pajamas all day covered in dish rags, like how many dishes are we going to do in one day?” So I think when you can find those real connections, it's really awesome, but I think that social media also brings a lot of pressure personally and professionally. So I try as hard as I can to keep a balance, but I go in and out.
TC: No, that makes total sense. It's important, especially with social media, to create those healthy boundaries and to let it work for you. You know it's definitely meant to enhance your life and not be something that's going to bring about chaos. You definitely have to protect your peace when it comes to social media.
TC: Yes, and what inspired you to get involved with EmpowHerment?
DM: I'm gonna put it all on Ambee. Like I said, with the application process, I really wanted to just feel like I met somebody and they were like “hey, this is what we have going on and this is what I'm passionate about,” and as soon as I read her application, that's what it was. I liked what EmpowHerment was about, but it was more like “this woman is going to get it, like whatever she has like in her vision, I can tell that she's going to do as much as she can to achieve it.” So she got me with her excitement when we had a call. She was very vulnerable and very flexible. She was like “I have 100 ideas for all these programs and I'm not sure which one’s gonna happen.”. She wasn't trying to sell a false narrative of what she was doing. It was just kind of like we're going to figure it out as a community. She wasn't hard stuck to any idea. So I think talking to somebody like that it's just like her, it’s easy to see that she genuinely wants to help people. I can tell that even though she wasn’t what she’d use the money for, I knew she’d use it to help as much as possible. Also, like I said, I don’t want to just write a check. I want to be involved. I could tell that I could bring something she needed to EmpowHerment. I could just tell that this is an organization that I would mesh with well and I would be an asset to and I could actually be useful.
TC: I definitely see you as an asset and I'm glad that you're going to be on board.
DM: Yeah, you're welcome. Thank you.
TC: You're welcome, and finally, how can people get in contact with you if they wish to support Sunday Bacon foundation.
DM: They can email us at email@example.com. You can text or call me at 941-302-1115 or you can get me on Instagram but it's hit or miss @SundayBaconFoundation.
TC: Well, thank you again so much for joining us today and I'm personally looking forward to being able to support your mission and having you be a part of EmpowHerment as well.
DM: Thank you, I can't wait to meet you in person.
TC: Same here.
DM: Thanks have a great night.
TC: You too.