Cultural Crossroads and The Farm have a new executive director, and Chris Broussard said she could not be a better fit.
“We reorganized the board in 2014, along with our bylaws, and set out to find an executive director,” she said. “We knew it would take a very special person. Someone whose job wouldn’t be just administrative but they would have to love art, love children, love nature, love gardening and love the Farm.
“We lucked out,” she continued. “Dani has worked with us before. She has served as a board member in the past and was one of our Farmers Market vendors. After much deliberation, I got a personal message from her about her greenhouse and when I saw the message a light went off. I knew she would be perfect for the job.”
Danielle Deshotel, “Dani” as she’s known, said she’s excited about the job and is looking forward to continuing her work.
“It’s my dream job,” she said. “I’m beyond excited. I feel like everything I’ve done up to this point has led me to this, starting with getting my degree in art.”
Dani grew up in Hawaii and graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in art. She is Montessori certified and her main job will be to bring kids to the Farm and teach them about gardening and sustainability.
Goals have also been set forth including building a greenhouse and establishing a “chicken farm,” with live chickens.
The main goal is permaculture (mini-ecosystem) with the idea of teaching sustainability to kids,” Deshotel said. “With the shape our food system is in right now, I think it’s really important to teach that right now.
At the end, our hope is to have cooking classes where we harvest the food and the kids can learn how to cook
the food, to help them understand how it goes from seed to table.”
Other goals include offering recycling bins outside the Farm to allow the public access to recycling with the ultimate goal of working with the city to expand recycling and spreading awareness.
For the past two years, Deshotel has volunteered with Cultural Crossroads, teaching art and participating in the Farmer’s Market. And all of these things bring a community together, her meaning of “aloha.”
For her, the term, while many believe it is a term of greeting, means love, sharing and community.
Cultural Crossroads has been in existence for 23 years, and in those 23 years, it has served the community well, Broussard said. With the addition of an executive director, this means the organization can now expand its goal of bringing a community together.
“We are just so happy to have her,” Broussard said. “I guess you could really say she’s a godsend.”
The Farm will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.