King City Mayor Mike LeBarre (middle) recognizes Robert Cullen (third from right) and members of his Farmers Insurance Agency for becoming the city’s first Blue Zones Project approved organization during a celebration Dec. 7. (Robert Cullen Farmers Insurance)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Blue Zones Project has now launched in Gonzales and King City as part of the healthcare initiative’s expansion into South Monterey County.

Brought to Monterey County through an innovative sponsorship by Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Taylor Farms and Montage Health in collaboration with Sharecare Inc. and Blue Zones LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier for residents.

Through permanent changes to local environment, policy and social networks, the project’s ultimate goal is enabling residents to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic disease.

“Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is honored to sponsor this transformative healthcare initiative,” said Pete Delgado, president/CEO of SVMHS. “We have seen the impact of this program in other areas of implementation, and we fully expect the people of South County to benefit as well, enjoying greater shifts toward optimal health.” 

According to Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index conducted in 2021, chronic disease risk factors — such as stress, obesity/overweight and low fruit and vegetable consumption — are prevalent in more than two-thirds of South Monterey County residents.

To help improve overall health, Blue Zones Project plans to deepen the work that has already begun in South Monterey County by working with local leaders, organizations and residents in King City and Gonzales to create a transformational blueprint for well-being aimed at optimizing the Life Radius, or the area close to home where residents spend 90% of their lives, with an emphasis on people, places and policy.

The commitment from the King City government, businesses and other organizations has been shown through the early adaptation of a Blue Zones Project Resolution, having their first approved worksite and several schools registered to become Blue Zones Project approved schools. 

Last month Robert Cullen Farmers Insurance Agency was celebrated for becoming the city’s first Blue Zones Project approved organization.

“The City of King proudly supports the Blue Zones Project Monterey County, expresses its commitment to implementation of the program in King City, and urges all businesses, organizations and residents to participate in order to help everyone in the community to live a longer, healthier and happier life,” said King City Mayor Mike LeBarre.

Blue Zones Project’s expansion into King City will be discussed at the King City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m. City of Gonzales discussed the initiative during its council meeting on Jan. 18.

The path to greater health in Monterey County began in August 2018, when an initial assessment conducted by the Blue Zones Project in Salinas determined the community was well positioned to embrace well-being improvement, with a strong community foundation and a willingness to implement programs and activities required to become a Blue Zones Project community. The work that initially began in Salinas has expanded to the Monterey Peninsula and now to areas of South Monterey County.

“Taylor Farms is delighted to partner with Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and Montage Health as we expand Blue Zones Project to South Monterey County,” said Bruce Taylor, chairman and CEO of Taylor Farms. “We are committed to helping create a healthy community for all.”

Through the collaboration and partnership with local government, civic groups, worksite, schools, restaurants and grocery stores, Blue Zones Project has been able to foster the well-being of more than 14,500 individuals throughout Monterey County via Blue Zones activities, including purpose workshops and potlucks.

“The Blue Zones Project clearly aligns with Montage Health’s mission and our commitment to the community,” said Dr. Steven Packer, president/CEO of Montage Health. “We are thrilled to partner in this effort with Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and Taylor Farms. We look forward to the expansion into South Monterey County.” 

To learn more about getting involved in Blue Zones Project, contact the Monterey County team at 831-241-0561 or visit

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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