The Fareway store in Spencer has become the first "Blue Zones Grocery Store" in Iowa.
Reynolds W. Cramer, Executive Vice President of Fareway Stores, says the Spencer store is the first in the state to complete the required criteria to reach certification status.
"Spencer Fareway is so excited to be the first to achieve the status of a certified Blue Zones Grocery Store. We would like to thank our local store manager, Karl Levisay, and his staff for helping us achieve this goal," said Cramer, in a written statement.
As a part of the certification status, the Spencer store has added a Blue Zones checkout lane, Blue Zones parking spaces which are at the back of the parking lot to encourage walking, re-calibrating scales for measuring fruit and vegetable servings, distributing healthy recipes in the store and providing samples of healthy food choices.
The Blue Zones Project uses principles developed by Dan Buettner, National Geographic explorer and author of "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest."
The project, which employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives, was brought to Iowa through a partnership between Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways. While only four communities, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Mason City and Spencer, were selected in the first round, the program encourages all Iowa communities to become healthier communities and to help Iowa become the healthiest state in the nation by 2016, a goal set by Gov. Terry Branstad.
Fareway will celebrate the recognition with a ribbon-cutting at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday at the Spencer store.