On June 3 the Garden Club of Jacksonville joined 60 other local nonprofits at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds to celebrate the kickoff event for the Blue Zones Project. Over 140 attendees stopped by our table where they could learn more about the Garden Club and make a DIY bird feeder out of toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, birdseed, and pipe cleaners. This event was family-friendly and open to all ages. Kids and parents alike both loved our cornhole and jenga yard games!

What is the Blue Zones Project?

Blue Zones are cities across the globe that have a population that lives a longer and healthier life on average as studied by the Blue Zones Project and National Geographic. Five places meet Blue Zones criteria:

  • Barbagia region of Sardinia – Mountainous highlands of inner Sardinia with the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Ikaria, Greece – Aegean Island with one of the world’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – World’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality, the second highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Loma Linda, California – The highest concentration of Seventh Day Adventists, they live 10 years longer than their North American counterparts.
  • Okinawa, Japan – Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.

After studying these groups, the Blue Zones Project distilled the discernable causes into what they call the Power 9:

  • Move Naturally: Engaging in movement in day-to-day activities such as walking and gardening
  • Purpose: Knowing one’s sense of purpose
  • Downshift: Any activity that healthy reduces stress such as meditation or taking a nap
  • 80% Rule: Eat frequent small meals or 80% of a full-size meal
  • Plant Slant: Beans, including fava, black, soy, and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets
  • Wine @ 5: If you are able, it is recommended to have 1-2 glasses of wine a day with friends or family in healthy social situations
  • Belong: Community belonging with regular meetings
  • Loved Ones First: Putting one’s family first enhances a sense of belonging, and ensures you have someone to care for you too
  • Right Tribe: The world’s longest-lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors

The Garden Club of Jacksonville’s programs encourage guests to Move Naturally, eat a Plant Slant diet, and find Belonging in a community.

The Blue Zones Project is a community well-being improvement initiative designed to change the way people experience the world around them. Because healthier environments naturally nudge people toward healthier choices, Blue Zones Project focuses on influencing the Life Radius® — the area close to home in which people spend 90 percent of their lives. Blue Zones Project best practices use people, places, and policy as levers to transform those surroundings.


  • Read about the Blue Zones Project here.
  • Read about Blue Zones Jacksonville here.
  • Check out our events here.