Danone Institute North America Offers Training to Boost Local Efforts Toward More Sustainable Food Systems

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Danone Institute North America, a not-for-profit established by Danone North America, recently hosted an in-person training program for grant winners from its “One Planet. One Health” Initiative. This initiative promotes resilient and sustainable local food systems by awarding five teams from the US and Canada with $30,000 USD to develop and execute their community-based sustainability projects and sponsoring their participation in a sustainability-focused training in Boulder, CO. The training featured national and local sustainability difference makers and included a communications workshop to help participants to spread the news about their work in their community. Participating teams represented four distinct communities in the United States and Canada: Lincoln City, Oregon; San Luis Obispo County, California; Edmonton, Alberta; and Nanaimo, British Columbia.

First introduced in 2019, the “One Planet. One Health” Initiative reflects Danone’s belief that the health of people and the health of the planet are interconnected. Selected from applicants across the United States and Canada, the grantees were awarded in 2021 for their innovation and impact, and how they address the evolving food challenges in their community. 

Winning projects and teams involved in the training include:

  • Juntos en el Jardín (Together in the Garden)
    (Team member organizations: Oregon State University; Northwest Coastal Housing; Olalla Center)
  • Farmers Market Navigators Program for a Healthy Planet and Healthy People in San Luis Obispo County
    (Team member organizations: University of California Cooperative Extension; North County Farmers Market Association; Center for Family Strengthening; Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County)
  • Building a post-pandemic sustainable food system: Starting in Edmonton
    (Team member organizations: University of Manitoba; Edmonton’s Food Bank; Baranowski & Sons Nutrition)
  • Delivering on sustainable food systems: Evaluating a good food box program in Nanaimo, British Columbia
    (Team member organizations: University of Victoria; University of Waterloo; Growing Opportunities Farm Community Coop; Nanaimo Foodshare Society)

“The “One Planet. One Health” Initiative helps amplify sustainability efforts by empowering action among communities and individuals at the local level and using communications strategies to raise awareness,” says Leslie Lytle, PhD, president, Danone Institute North America. “The training conference brings together winning teams from the US and Canada to share their experiences with each other and learn from experts in sustainability and communications. We were excited to award an additional $10,000 to the team from University of Victoria (BC) and Nanaimo Foodshare Society for its plans to create a documentary to share with stakeholders as a way to build awareness and support.”

About University of Victoria (BC) and Nanaimo Foodshare Society:
The trans-disciplinary team from University of Victoria and Nanaimo Food Share is examining the impact of the Good Food Box (GFB) initiative administered by Nanaimo Foodshare, serving a small city of approximately 80,000 people on the east coast of Vancouver Island, on the unceded territories of the Snuneymuxw (snoo-NAI-muk) First Nation. The project evaluates the impacts of GFB on household food security, dietary patterns, health, and food literacy and assesses the potential of the GFB to contribute to economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the local food system.

“We want to know how the Good Food Box initiative may reduce food and nutrition insecurity on the community level in Nanaimo,” says Matthew Little, assistant professor, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria. “Our preliminary findings suggest that participants feel an increased sense of belonging, are more food secure, and eat more regular, balanced, and healthy meals.”

For more information on the Danone Institute North America, visit www.danoneinstitutena.org

About Danone Institute North America
Launched in 1997, the Danone Institute North America fosters transdisciplinary, community-based work to promote sustainable food systems globally. It is a separately incorporated, 501c3 non-profit foundation dedicated to non-commercial activities. The Danone Institute North America is one of several Danone Institutes created worldwide by Danone, the ultimate parent company of Danone North America Public Benefit Corporation.

The Board of Directors is made up of both independent experts in nutrition science and business leaders of Danone North America Public Benefit Corporation. 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.