Danone Institute North America said it is once again welcoming applications to its "One Planet. One Health" Initiative grant program to promote resilient and sustainable local food systems. Through June 6, Danone Institute North America, a not-for-profit established by White Plains, N.Y.- and Broomfield, Colo.-based Danone North America, invites transdisciplinary teams in the United States and Canada to submit proposals for projects to enhance the sustainability of food systems in ways that can advance both human nutrition and environmental health.

Danone Institute North America launched the "One Planet. One Health" Initiative grant program in 2019 to support local projects that strengthen food systems, reflecting Danone's belief that the health of people and the health of the planet are interconnected. Previous grants have funded projects on household food waste reduction, energy-efficient food production, supporting local food growers and farmers, and integrating locally sourced food into school lunches, Danone Institute North America said. The initiative is especially relevant now as the social and economic ripple effects of COVID-19 have revealed widespread weaknesses and inequities in the ways that healthy, sustainably produced food reaches people, and highlighted a role for community-based solutions.

Academic and community leaders are encouraged to apply to the "One Planet. One Health" initiative grant program on the Danone Institute North America website. Up to five selected teams will be challenged to design, implement and evaluate actionable community-based projects on sustainable food system solutions that contribute to the nutritional health of populations and the planet, and to communicate about their impact. Danone Institute North America said it will award a total of up to $160,000 for this initiative. Individual team grants of $30,000 plus a $10,000 incremental award for the team with the strongest communications plan will be awarded for work to be conducted over a two-year period.

"The pandemic not only has sparked a health crisis, but also has emerged as one of the most destructive economic and societal challenges of our time," 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. "As we continue the recovery process, our goal is to work collaboratively with community stakeholders and the academic community through our 'One Planet. One Health' Initiative, to protect and restore the vital foundation of the food systems that we rely on to nourish our growing global population."

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, Food Tank and Danone Institute North America will partner to host a virtual event to discuss with food sustainability and nutrition experts how the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged local food systems and to explore potential solutions such as the "One Planet. One Health" Initiative. Moderated by Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank, the one-hour public event will also feature both a current grantee and representative of Danone Institute North America to answer questions about the grant program. Attendees may register for the free event here. According to Danone Institute North America, the event’s speakers include:

  • N. Diane Moss – CEO of Project New Village.
  • Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian – dean, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Tufts University.
  • Jose Oliva – campaigns director at HEAL Food Alliance.
  • A-dae Romero-Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa) – director of programs native agriculture and food systems at First Nations Development Institute.
  • Tambra Raye Stevenson, MPH – founder and CEO of Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture.

"Receiving this grant from Danone Institute North America is such a tremendous opportunity for community groups and academic institutions," said current grantee Diane Moss of the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Project New Village. "Not only does the program work to promote sustainable food systems, but also nurtures a new generation of thought leaders working together and advocating for food system solutions. Along with reconnecting with residential gardeners from the Greater Southeastern San Diego through practices of regenerative urban agriculture, this past year we've been able to inspire and help community members begin to develop some autonomy by shifting from being just food consumers to food producers while connecting their personal growth to our community resilience."

The call for entries will remain open through June 6, 2021. For more information and to submit an application, visit http://www.danoneinstitutena.org/