A sustainable food system ensures food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition of future generations are not compromised. No single sector of a food system can achieve this alone.
Nourish Dialogue Dinners (NDD) were designed to create a dialogue among diverse stakeholders from across all sectors of food systems around opportunities related to advancing agriculture, nutrition, health and sustainable food systems.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
In collaboration with state and regional dairy councils, National Dairy Council organized 25 NDD around the country. Stakeholders from the supply chain (farmers, processors and distributors) and those impacting food environments (retailers, schools, hospitals and food banks) and providing health and wellness guidance (physicians, nurses, dietitians, fitness professionals and culinary experts) were invited to participate. Each NDD followed a standardized methodology to facilitate an inclusive discussion around 6 questions posed by a moderator. Detailed notes were taken from each dinner table discussion.
A trained, custom-built machine learning model synthesized the dinner notes to identify discussion themes and topics. Descriptive statistics and Spearman's rank-order correlations were performed to generate frequencies for discussion topics and assess the degree to which topics were discussed together (significance level at P < 0.05).
The model identified 19 discussion topics organized into 5 overarching themes from 242 stakeholders. While the topics discussed differed markedly across stakeholders from different sectors of the food system, the most frequently discussed topic was the need for youth experiential learning experiences around farming, food production and nutrition to inform future public health. The second most frequently discussed topic was farmers’ efforts and progress toward environmental sustainability.
NDD bought stakeholders from across the food system together to realize their interconnections that can be leveraged to improve sustainability. NDD is a replicable model that supports advancing sustainable food systems.