Danone Institute North America Names Winners of the One Planet. One Health. Initiative

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Danone Institute North America, a not-for-profit established by Danone North America, announced the four winning teams of the One Planet. One Health. Initiative – a new grant program in which transdisciplinary teams from across the U.S. and Canada were challenged to design, implement and evaluate actionable community-based projects for sustainable food systems. As winners of the inaugural One Planet. One Health. Initiative, the four teams with involvement from University of Guelph and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University as well as non-profit organizations Project New Village and the City of Minneapolis will each receive $20,000 in grant funds to further design and execute their projects.

Earlier this year, teams from around the nation submitted innovative proposals focused on sustainable food systems solutions. The selected teams stand out for their ingenuity, impact and scalability. With this grant, the teams will be able to implement their projects that address critical issues such as food waste reduction in households, energy-efficient food production, retaining food growers and farmers, and integrating locally sourced food into school lunches.

“As the world’s largest Certified B Corp, we are committed to applying sustainable practices across our business, while helping other organizations and institutions do the same – particularly on a local level,” said Miguel Freitas, Ph.D., Vice President, Scientific Affairs for Danone North America. “The One Planet. One Health. Initiative is rooted in community development because we believe local innovators are critical in the role they play in finding effective strategies to improve sustainability in food. By bringing together the next generation of thought leaders with experts who share their passion for sustainable food systems, these scholars and practitioners have an opportunity to also learn from each other.”   

The goal of the One Planet. One Health. Initiative is to foster transdisciplinary, community-based work to promote sustainable foods systems globally. As part of this year’s program, the four teams traveled to Boulder, Colorado to participate in a four-day learning expedition about sustainable food systems and presented their proposals and communications plans to a panel of experts. In addition to the $20,000 in grants each winning team was awarded, Project New Village received an additional $10,000 prize for presenting the best communication plan for their project. Each team also received coaching by food systems experts and Danone Institute North America Board members to facilitate implementation, communication and evaluation of their projects over the next twelve months.  

“The innovative and locally-sourced projects submitted reflect the enthusiasm of academics and practitioners across the country to create a healthier world through food,” said Leslie Lytle, President of Danone Institute North America and Professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “We are incredibly inspired by this year’s applicants who are taking action in fostering more sustainable food systems that benefit their local communities. This type of work requires collaboration to make a meaningful impact, and we are excited to bring together these local teams as well as experts in sustainability and nutrition to help us foster a new generation of change-agents.”

The 2019 One Planet. One Health. Initiative winners and projects are:

University of Guelph (Canada) – Food Waste Reduction in Families

Food Waste Reduction in Families tests the feasibility, acceptability and impact of a four-week food waste reduction intervention on household food waste and fruit and vegetable intake. This pilot intervention provides 30 families with children with a Food Waste Reduction Toolkit that includes practical tips for parents and children on meal planning, food shopping and storage, along with recipes that showcase strategies to use up foods before they spoil. Families also will participate in education and cooking sessions; receive meal planning worksheets, food shopping lists, and information on food storage; and receive text messages to reinforce food waste reduction messages addressed in the Toolkit. The results of this project will support a larger intervention in the future.

City of Minneapolis, Tamales y Bicicletas, Appetite for Change and University of Minnesota – Perennial Health Project

The Perennial Health Project aims to support climate change mitigation and food sovereignty by increasing year-round, energy-efficient food production in food-insecure neighborhoods through passive solar greenhouses. Partners in the project include an architect from the University of Minnesota providing the technical expertise and two BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community-led organizations, Appetite for Change and Tamales y Bicicletas that focus on environmental and food justice in chronically underrepresented and disenfranchised populations in Minneapolis, MN. The Perennial Health Project involves construction of and food production within two passive solar greenhouses that use the sun’s light and heat energy as the primary energy source. The project will collaboratively plan, build, and analyze energy use, cost, production of fresh produce, benefit and community education from the greenhouses, with the goal of expanding hyper-local food production capability, providing training opportunities for youth leaders, and providing direct access to fresh produce on a year-round basis in a cold climate and urban setting. Both community organizations will offer volunteer opportunities to help with greenhouse assembly.

Project New Village, San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego – Bringing Gardening into the Good Food District: Increasing Gardeners’ Capacity through a Regenerative Community of Practice

This project aims to expand the Good Food District (GFD) vision by reconnecting residential gardeners and farmers from the Greater Southeastern San Diego – most of whom are low-income people of color – to the broader discourses and practices of regenerative urban agriculture. The overarching goal is to assess the feasibility and benefits of creating and sustaining a community of practice for residential food growers and farmers contributing hyper-local food to the GFD. This initiative turns to urban agriculture as a way to achieve broader goals of food abundance, regenerative place-making, community resilience, and social equity in Greater Southeastern San Diego (GSESD). Project organizers will develop a system for recruiting and retaining residential food growers to participate in the project. Along with community members and local customers, the project will cultivate a community of practice among residential food growers in GSESD, building their capacity to grow and sell their food; foster regenerative agricultural practices; build agricultural business/economic skills; and identify local outlets for the food they produce.

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University – Assessing the Global Warming Potential and Nutrition Profile of Local Foods in Boston Public Schools 

Sustainable food systems are characterized by their contributions to human health, protection of ecosystem resources, and provision of equitable and just supply chains. Aware of the potential to shape the food system, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Food and Nutrition Services strives to make school menus more healthful and environmentally sustainable, in part by expanding purchases from farms or manufacturers operating in New England. This pilot study facilitates transdisciplinary collaboration among schools, farmers, manufacturers, and nutrition researchers to assess the potential nutritional and environmental benefits of including local options on school menus. Researchers will evaluate the nutritional density and global warming potential of the current BPS lunch menu items and will work with local farmers and manufacturers to find alternate products that maintain the nutritional quality of the meals served while reducing their global warming potential.

For more information, please visit www.danoneinstituteNA.org.

About Danone North America 
Danone North America is a Certified B Corporation business unit of Danone and operates in the U.S. from headquarter offices in White Plains, NY and Broomfield, CO. Danone North America was formed as a Public Benefit Corporation in 2017 to nourish people, communities and the world through its diverse portfolio of healthful dairy- and plant-based products, coffee creamers and beverages. Its portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, Danonino®, Danone®, Earthbound Farm®, Horizon Organic® premium dairy products, International Delight® coffee creamers and iced coffee, Light & Fit®, Oikos® Greek yogurt, Silk® plant-based foods and beverages, So Delicious® Dairy Free, Vega® and Wallaby® Organic. The mission of the Company is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, please visit DanoneNorthAmerica.com.

About Danone Institute North America
Danone Institute North America is a non-profit innovation center managed by Danone North America, which focuses its efforts on promoting research, education and communication in the field of nutrition and sustainable food systems. The Board of Directors includes both academic experts in nutrition science and business leaders of Danone North America. The nutrition scientists establish program direction, determine recipients of funding and are closely involved in all Danone Institute North America programs. Danone North America managers offer communication support, program development and management expertise.