In early 2010, just months after the death of the co-founder of Danone group, a foundation bearing both his and his wife’s names was created: the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation. Since its beginning, under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the foundation has set itself the double mission of funding projects that support sustainable food and diets, “to nourish the body”, and others that support the development of the arts in society, “to nourish the mind”. This twofold task reflects the couple’s two great passions: they shared a love for the arts, and Daniel Carasso made it the raison d’être of his company to ensure better food and health for as many people as possible. On 26 th November, in Madrid, the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation will award its first “Premio”, a prize
which recognises and encourages outstanding scientific research on sustainable diets and food for long-term health.
This award is also the best example of the Foundation’s commitment to sustainability: an indispensable step towards long-term health.
Sustainability: a vital change in behaviours and values
The Premio comes in a context where the “fine vision” of sustainable foods and diets for long-term human health still “contrasts starkly with reality today, afflicted by the intertwined global crises of sustainability and malnutrition”, as the website of the prize explains. Yet sustainability is an absolute must to feed the growing population of the planet while preserving our environment, as traditional farming is progressively proving its limitations. The Foundation thus supports the development of sustainable foods and diets, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation: “diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to safe food and nutrition and to a healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets protect and respect biodiversity and ecosystems, are culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable, nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy, and optimise natural and human resources.” Which of necessity means sustainable farming (both organic and integrated farming), and a deep change in attitudes.
Both consumers and producers need to change their behaviours and values. In developing new system-based approaches with a holistic approach, it is vital to achieve economic, health-related, and environmental outcomes within social frameworks that foster positive patterns and modes of production and consumption,
states the Premio website. The same agenda is pursued by Danone’s funds (danone.communities, Livelihoods and Ecosystem) in their quest for new businesses that are beneficial in environmental, economic and social terms. The Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, for its part, contributes to change by supporting “pure” scientific research: the candidates must present work that is acknowledged by the scientific community and open out new ways of thinking about sustainable food and long-term health. It must also present concrete results in the field, propose solutions for the future, show creativity, have a transdisciplinary approach and be the fruit of a team effort.
More to come
With this award, the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation demonstrates its attachment to the issue of sustainable food. But the organisation is also heading other actions, for instance by backing a “nationwide educational campaign in Spain”, whose aim is to “raise awareness of cardiovascular risks among school-age Spanish children and promote the importance of a balanced diet and physical exercise.” Although it mainly operates in Europe, the Foundation also supported “emergency and development projects in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake in January 2010.” The Premio will mark two productive years of existence, but the challenges are many, and there are numerous initiatives needing funding and support. This is surely not the last you will hear of the Foundation on Down to Earth!
Lille, 28 – 29th May 2013: Congress on “Sustainable Diet and Food Security”, Société Française de Nutrition, Belgian Nutrition Society.
Grenada, 15th – 20th September 2013: 20th International Congress of Nutrition, with a symposium sponsored by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation on “Sustainable food and diets for long-term health”.