Mayor Betsy Price stood around talking to fruits and vegetables. No kidding, it was Fort Worth’s health conscious mayor celebrating the joining together of the city’s helath/fitness/well-being program, the Blue Zones Project, with Central Market.
On Saturday, Central Market’s West Freeway location hosted a celebration for the public with Price, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan, Fort Worth District 9 Councilmember Ann Zadeh and people dressed up as bananas, tomatoes, pea pods and grapes.
“We applaud Central Market for the innovation and creativity it has demonstrated to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for its customers,” said Suzanne Duda, vice president of Blue Zones Project Fort Worth. “The leadership of Central Market is a milestone in Fort Worth’s Blue Zones Project experience.”
Blue Zones, led by the New York Times bestselling author Dan Buettner, develops customized community well-being programs and recommended policy changes based on the study of cities worldwide where people live the longest.
Blue Zones, in agreeing to work with a community, typically collaborates with school districts, employers, neighborhoods, restaurants, grocery stores, and healthcare providers to develop buy-in to the project.
Texas Health Resources put up the money for a Blue Zones feasibility study in Fort Worth in 2013. Over the next four years, the city will be implementing environmental changes in six key areas, including worksites, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, individuals and community policy. Once city-specific goals are met, Fort Worth will be certified as a Blue Zones Community.
Central Market achieved Blue Zones Project Approved status by completing the Blue Zones Project Grocery Store Pledge and adopting or supporting a selection of best practices.
Those options include offering half sandwiches in the deli, adding signage to highlight locally grown produce, selling healthy grab-and-go lunches, distributing healthy recipes, and holding food demonstrations in the store that meet the Blue Zones Guidelines.
The Fort Worth store is implementing several significant changes such as creating Blue Zones Project parking spaces at the furthest distance from the store, using shelf talkers to call out Blue Zones-inspired foods and installing two Blue Zones Project checkout lanes that offer healthy grab-and-go snacks and beverages rather than candy and soft drinks.