Danone Institute North America Sustainable Food Systems Initiative 


Danone Institute North America announces a request for proposals for the third offering of its Danone Institute North America Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, formerly called the “One Planet. One Health” Initiative. Danone Institute North America (DINA) is a nonprofit 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 of people and the health of the planet are inseparable. As a reflection of this, the goal of the DINA Sustainable Food Systems Initiative is to foster transdisciplinary, community-based work to promote sustainable food systems that impact human nutritional 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.

Funding from this initiative can be used for various types of projects and can include pilot studies, feasibility testing, and needs assessments.  (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 must participate in a five-day in-person program October 1-5, 2023, in Boulder, CO. The objectives of this program are 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 and nutrition.  Programming will include content on the relationship between sustainable food systems and human health and nutrition; a communications training from experts from the Danone company; presentations and panels of community stakeholders involved in the sustainable food ecosystem; and panels and group discussions among the selected teams. The Danone Institute North America will cover the costs of this in-person programming, including transportation, meals and lodging for up to four team members.

The in-person program will conclude with teams presenting to a panel of experts a communications plan to support their project. The team that presents the strongest communication plan as determined by the panel will be awarded an additional USD 10,000 prize to apply toward expanded communications. 

The awards will cover a 24-month period for implementing and evaluating projects. Throughout this 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 outcomes of funded 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

  • Support innovative, actionable North America-focused initiatives to promote sustainable food systems that reflect the interconnectivity of community, health of people, and health of the planet. Focus areas could 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 build community and benefit the health and nutrition of community members.
  • Amplify the understanding of the relationship between sustainable food systems and human 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 of community members, 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, behavioral, 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. It is recommended that the faculty member be the lead or co-lead of the project.  The team may include other academic      members, other professionals, and practitioners, such as dining directors, community leaders or agricultural experts. 
  • One team member must have expertise in program evaluation. A quantitative or qualitative evaluation of project aims is required.
  • 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 

Proposal Requirements 

Proposals are due Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Proposals must include the following components; proposals lacking one or more of these elements will not be considered:

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

  • Specific aims: What are the objectives of this project?
  • Relationship between sustainability and health and nutrition: How do the Sustainability goals of this project relate to the nutrition and health 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? Which nutrition and health outcomes will be measured?
  • 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 health and nutrition of 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?

2. 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.

 3. 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 among community, the health of people, and the health of the planet. 
  • Relevance and importance of the project objectives, feasibility of implementing the project and plans and ability to      assess 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.


Danone Institute North America