Not Far From The Tree has come a long way in a short time. The last few months in particular have been filled with much behind-the-scenes action to build a solid foundation for this little project to grow on.
Along with becoming a project of Tides Canada Initiatives Society, an exciting milestone is convening the inaugural Steering Committee to guide Not Far From The Tree along.
It is my pleasure to introduce the founding members of Not Far From The Tree’s Steering Committee, an incredible crew of movers and shakers whose first meeting happened – where else? – under the canopy of an apple tree:
Derek Smith is Senior Counsel in the legal department of TD Bank Group. He is the founder and chair of TD Legal’s pro bono program, through which TD lawyers provide free legal advice to small, well-run non-profits that cannot afford the legal help they need. Derek handpicked Not Far From The Tree as the first client of the program. At TD, he provides legal advice to TD Asset Management and he is one of the leaders of TDAM’s sustainable investing initiative.
(I don’t have a photo of Joshna under the apple tree, so please enjoy this gorgeous shot by Edward Pond.)
Joshna Maharaj is a chef, writer and activist. With a simple but thoughtful approach to food and cooking, Joshna has held such diverse posts in Toronto’s food scene as Executive Chef at The Stop Community Food Centre and at the ROM Food Studio, and as an instructor at Dish Cooking Studio. She is regularly featured on CBC’s “Steven and Chris,” contributed to Coach House Press’s The Edible City, and just one week ago delivered an outstanding talk at the 2011 TEDxToronto.
(This is really the best shot I got of Ravenna – she spent the whole time up the tree! This is indicative of just how lovely she is, and how committed she is to the work of Not Far From The Tree!)
Ravenna is the director of Sustain Ontario, the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming. Prior to joining Sustain Ravenna worked at FoodShare in a wide variety of roles, from composter to Community Food Program Manager. At FoodShare, Ravenna designed, developed, and fundraised for a wide variety of programs including urban agriculture; consulted with community groups and government decision makers on policy issues; and organized and supported a number of local, provincial, and national networks. Ravenna has also worked for the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy and for Public Interest Research Groups in the U.S. She has a Masters of Urban Planning from York University. In her free time Ravenna enjoys fruit gleaning, gardening, and canning.
Jodi discovered her calling after she told a head-hunter “I think I want to be in marketing, but I don’t want to sell shampoo.” She’s been helping market the “good guys” ever since. For the past three years Jodi’s been General Manager at Hypenotic, a communications company that works exclusively with values driven brands. Jodi landed at Hypenotic after 5 years at Social Marketing firm Manifest Communications, and before that, a number of non-profits including Harbourfront and the Toronto Symphony. In her free time Jodi finds time to organize a networking/learning/socializing gathering called Women in Food.
Jordy Gold is a sustainability consultant, journalist and speaker focused on creating the greatest possible changes leading to a more vibrant society living within natural limits. As Deputy Campaign Manager he recently helped Elizabeth May become the first elected Green Member of Parliament in Canadian history. He is also a founding member and Editor for OpenCity Projects, a consultancy and online publication using strategic design to problem solve and enhance urban experiences.
Chris Chen works on economic policy in the Ontario government. He is a candidate for the Master of Finance degree at the University of Toronto as well as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. Chris holds a bachelor degree (art history) from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree (sociology) from the University of Virginia. At the Centre for Social Innovation, he is launching a project that connects artists with Chinatown residents through an oral history project that brings art and community history to local schools.
Ben Marans is the Manager of Social Innovation & Transportation for the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the City of Toronto’s climate agency. For the past five years, Ben has been managing TAF’s grants and electric vehicle programs. Ben’s role at TAF is to cultivate, incubate, develop and support projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in Toronto. Ben also serves on the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network Board of Directors, is a professional photographer and does most of his traveling by bike. Ben lives in the east end of Toronto with his wife and son, both of whom are also avid cyclists.