We were engaged by Mind & Life Europe (MLE), the leading non-profit that bridges and integrates contemplative practices with cutting-edge science, to provide a foundation for the creation of a “Mind Your Food” initiative around mindful eating.
The mapping methodology consisted of conducting in depth stakeholder analysis, interviews, and desk review deepening knowledge across interrelated but often disconnected disciplines in health, nutrition, food systems and contemplative science. A questionnaire and interview protocol were developed together with MLE. For this initial phase of research, semi-structured interviews with identified key strategic informants were conducted across various disciplines and stakeholder groups including: academia, private sector, foundations, non-profits and international organizations. Mapping of experts across relevant disciplines reviewed a wide-range of experts and practitioners working globally in the fields of the social sciences (psychology, anthropology, sociology, and economics); natural sciences (biochemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience); applied sciences (medicine, nutrition science) and the humanities (philosophy, theology), with a special focus on Europe. Desk research included websites, the references interviewees provided, along with a multidisciplinary literature review.
Success of the initiative will be built upon people. Therefore, it has been essential to build trust and credibility in any established relations at the start. Contemplative science and practice are not yet well understood among many stakeholders in a world driven by siloed linear approaches and short-term financial performance. Enthusiasm and interest shared by potential partners during this research has been extremely promising.
This initiative is ongoing.