EAT 2 FEED TO, a new socially good dining series, is kicking off this Friday March 6th at Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St. W). Profits raised from the event will go to FoodShare Toronto. SDTC caught up with Debbie Field, the Executive Director of FoodShare Toronto.
SDTC: What does a typical day look like for you?
DF: I like a lot of sleep so get up pretty late (at 8:00 a.m.), have coffee, read the papers and arrive at work for 10:00 a.m. meetings. I work a bit of a split shift, leaving work at around 5:30 p.m. to go to the gym or have a social evening with friends and family and then do a few hours of work after 9 p.m., sometimes writing my best reports and grants after 11:00 p.m.
What made you want to get into this line of work?
When my son Joe was younger, he ate everything at daycare (even squash soup!) but when I asked him what he wanted for lunch he said a bag of chips, a salami sandwich and a can of pop. I had participated in a subsidized hot lunch program in NY when I was growing up and knew that all over the world, schools had healthy meal programs. I decided to get involved with school food and then came to FoodShare through that connection.
What characteristics should a person cultivate to do this job well?
Multi-tasking, sense of humour, vision for social change, ability to not be overwhelmed by tasks but get them done in a relaxed way.
What’s your favourite part about your job? Least favourite?
I love fundraising. My least favourite part of my job is the having to say ‘no’ to some projects because there are not adequate resources to do everything we want to do.
Describe a situation that you’ve encountered in your life where you knew for certain this was the right field for you?
My job at FoodShare has been the best job for me, as it has combined my passion for social change with the technical aspects of building a social enterprise. My highest paying and most prestigious job, Equal Opportunities Coordinator for a major union, was the job I knew I could not stay in very long. It was all about top down change rather than grassroots mobilizing. I had a company car, a big expense account, a nice office, but did not feel happy going into work each day.
What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
My husband and I operate a small guiding company, Beautiful North Backcountry Travel. I hope to be working in Beautiful North full time, taking people on canoe trips, hiking and cross country skiing five years from now.
What are your most effective programs?
Student Nutrition Programs reach the most people. Good Food Programs have created an amazing new supply chain of healthy food from field to table. Good Food Cafe is proving that high schools students will eat healthy food.
Should access to fresh, healthy food be considered a right?
Yes, because healthy food is the building blocks of all health. FoodShare believes society should subsidize basic healthy foods for the whole population to make food a right.
Are there specific areas of the city where getting fresh, healthy food is still a challenge?
Where are they and what is being done to address them? Yes, we have many food deserts where healthy food is not available. In the short run FoodShare’s Mobile and Good Food Markets are helping with that. In the long run, planners need to ensure that no developments can happen without developers showing where the healthy produce stores will be, in the same way that we make sure there is a school in each neighbourhood.
Where will the money raised from Good Food For Good and the EAT 2 FEED dining series go to specifically?
Helping pay for the infrastructure costs, the drivers, community development staff and gas and maintenance for the trucks and buses for the Mobile and Good Food Markets, Good Food Box and School and Community Produce Delivery.
What can we do to become more conscious when it comes to what we are eating and where we get our food?
Foodland Ontario provides great information as do some many other websites. Ask your store managers questions about why there is no Ontario tomato in their store in the middle of August when we have abundant tomatoes from Ontario available.
Tickets for EAT 2 FEED TO can be purchased here.