Meet the Team: Nicole Cupolo
Nicole Cupolo is working with 10C’s Sustainable Development Goals Cities (SDG Cities) initiative as an Impact and Evaluation Assistant, funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program. In her role, she finds ways to localize, quantify, and apply the Sustainable Development targets within 10C’s initiatives, such as Food Uniting Neighbours (f.u.n.) and Harvest Impact. One of her current projects involves helping to plan and deliver an impact reporting workshop for businesses and individuals interested in publishing their SDG practices.
Originally from the Niagara Region, Nicole attended Carleton University and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management. While in university, she gained an appreciation for diversity in food and culture. In one of her co-op terms, she worked at a non-profit called the Public Interest Advocacy Centre that advocates for improved equality in transportation, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure. It was there that she was exposed to hands-on, on-the-ground work to make positive change. During her next role in program co-ordination at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, she engaged in many of the topics about which she is now passionate, such as local food infrastructure, food waste, and agricultural methane emissions.
Nicole realized the importance of having hands-on experience if she was going to make a difference in future policy-generating roles. The following summer she lived and worked on a farm in Copetown, Ontario. She learned to raise animals and grow vegetables using regenerative agriculture and permaculture principles. Practicing agriculture itself made her feel connected to and rewarded for her work.
Drawing from the insights of her past jobs and education, Nicole decided to apply to a program that incorporated both her passion for sustainable food systems and skills in policy. She enrolled in a Masters of Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph, where she was invigorated by the program’s emphasis on interdisciplinary education that included non-traditional methods of learning, such as reflecting on music and culture.
Nicole first encountered 10C during a field trip for her Community Engagement course, where she learned about the 10C space as well as how a non-profit enterprise operates. She was enthralled by 10C’s culture and interdisciplinary approach and decided to volunteer as a desk host. Now, she is enjoying 10C in a different capacity, as an employee.
Nicole’s career aspirations are to “integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the agri-food systems, whether that’s planning, community development work, or continuing work with a non-profit… as long as I’m working with those values or topics.”
You can find her at 10C in the staff office, in the sunroom, or at the host desk.
In her spare time, Nicole has recently started oil painting fruit as a therapeutic form of self expression.