Danone Institute North America Sustainable Food Systems Initiative


Danone Institute North America announces a request for proposals for the third offering of its DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative (formerly the One Planet. One Health Initiative). Danone Institute North America is a non-profit innovation center managed by Danone North America, a subsidiary of the global food and beverage company Danone, which has a mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Danone believes that the health and nutrition of people and the health of the planet are inseparable. As a reflection of this principle, the goal of the DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative is to foster transdisciplinary, community-based work to promote sustainable food systems that impact human nutrition and health.

Initiative Description and Scope

The DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative is a competitive program that will select and fund up to five transdisciplinary teams in 2023 to design, implement and evaluate actionable community-based projects on sustainable food systems that contribute to the nutritional health of populations and support communication about their impact.

This initiative will provide seed funding for projects such as pilot studies, feasibility testing, needs assessments and planning grants. (Please see the Danone Institute North America website link for descriptions of past projects awarded.) Each selected team will receive a USD 50,000 DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative grant to implement its project and amplify its message to a broader audience over a two-year period. Teams may use this grant mechanism to supplement current funding from other sources, but new project aims must be developed for the DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative funding.

As part of the initiative, selected teams will participate in a four-day in-person program in October 2023. The objectives of this program is to provide expertise and support for enhancing projects through project-specific communication and evaluation assistance, and to facilitate the development of a community among award recipients to share ideas, offer support, and create a grassroots movement toward sustainable food systems that improve human health. Programming will include content on the relationship between sustainable food systems and human health from experts in sustainability, communication, and nutrition; workshops with community stakeholders involved in the sustainability food ecosystem; and panels and group discussions about working in transdisciplinary teams toward a common cause.

The in-person program will conclude with teams presenting a communications plan to support their project to a panel of experts. The team that presents the strongest communication plan as determined by the panel will be awarded an additional USD 10,000 prize. Throughout the 24-month award period, the teams will receive assistance by Danone Institute North America Board members to facilitate implementation, evaluation, and communication of their projects. Opportunities to stay connected with other award recipients will also be provided.

The awards will cover a 24-month period for implementing and evaluating projects. The Danone Institute North America will cover the costs of in-person programming and support, including transportation, meals and lodging for up to four team members. The outcomes of these projects will be communicated to the Danone Institute North America networks and broader groups of external stakeholders.

Specific Objectives of the DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative (formerly the One Planet. One Health Initiative):

  • Advance Danone‚Äôs frame of action through innovative, actionable North America-focused initiatives to promote sustainable food systems that reflect that the health and nutrition of people and the health of the planet are interconnected. Examples of focus areas include: the impact of regenerative agriculture on health behaviors; measurement and mitigation of carbon footprint in a health-focused food system such as university dining or a food bank; reducing food waste as an aspect of a public health nutrition program; closing food systems gaps that prevent equitable and sustainable access to healthy food; and promotion of sustainable, accessible and balanced dietary patterns that help improve short-term and long-term health across the lifespan.
  • Foster a new generation of transdisciplinary thought leaders working together and advocating for food systems solutions that can benefit the health and nutrition of the public.
  • Amplify the understanding of the relationship between sustainable food systems and human nutrition and health among key decision-makers and the public.
  • Forge new networks and collaborative relationships among Danone North America, Danone Institute North America, academic institutions in North America, community groups involved with food sustainability issues, health and nutrition of the population, and broader food systems disciplines.

Team Requirements

To be eligible for this initiative, each team must meet the following requirements:

  • Teams should include four core team members representing diverse disciplines related to food systems, including, but not limited to, nutrition, health, economics, agriculture, community food access and social or environmental sciences. All team members must actively work together on the project rather than serving exclusively in an advisory role.
  • At least one team member must be a faculty member from a U.S. or Canadian institution of higher education. The team may include other academic members, other professionals and practitioners, such as dining directors, community leaders or agricultural experts.
  • While more team members may be involved, only four will attend the in-person program in October 2023. To the extent possible, the four team members named in the application should be the team members who will be attending the program.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals are due Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, and must include the following components:

A description of the project (limited to 2,000 words).

  • Specific aims: What are the objectives of this project?
  • Relationship between sustainability and health: How do the sustainability goals of this project relate to the health and nutrition of people and the health of the planet?
  • Plans for designing and implementing the project including a timeline: What will the project look like and what is the timeline for activities?
  • Plans for evaluation, including a description of outcome measures: How will the effectiveness of the project be determined?
  • A description of the broader community or venue that will be participating in and impacted by this project: What community groups will the project engage? How will the community benefit from participation in this project?
  • A communications plan that includes plans to amplify project results to a broader audience: How will the results of the project be communicated?
  • The transdisciplinary nature of the project: What disciplines or stakeholder groups are involved with the project?

A detailed budget for a two-year project that includes how the funds will be spent throughout the project. Indirect or overhead costs may not be included in the budget and funding does not allow for faculty salary support.

CV/resume of each of the team members who will attend the four-day program.

Applications will be judged by Danone Institute North America based on:

  • Strength of project proposal in addressing DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative objectives, including the relationship between the health of the planet and the health of people.
  • Relevance and importance of the project objectives, feasibility of implementing the project and ability to assess and evaluate outcomes.
  • Evidence of required skills and resources to successfully complete the proposed project.
  • Evidence of a transdisciplinary team.
  • Value to the field as it relates to the amplification potential and connection to the nutritional health of populations.
  • Budget appropriate to the work.