Organizers in Johnson City and Jonesborough have picked up the pace for healthy living by promoting the new Farmacy Fit Farmers’ Market Walking Program.
The walking event will launch Saturday at the Johnson City and Jonesborough market locations — Founder’s Park and Main Street, Jonesborough, respectively — and those interested register for free at the market information booth.
Planners measured a mile loop that begins and ends at the markets, and in exchange for walking the trail, participants receive $3 to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from vendors.
Alexis Close, the local food promotion coordinator at the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council, noticed the success of a similar walking program in Kentucky and believed incorporating fruits and vegetables could boost Tennesseeans’ game for a healthy lifestyle.
“We were really hoping it would be a fun activity, build community and bring in folks who haven’t visited the farmers’ markets,” Close said. “It’ll give people the chance to have fun and enjoy more fruits and veggies.
“A lot of research shows that Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of exercise or fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s all about promoting healthy behavior — especially exercise.”
At either market, 160 participants can register for the program each Saturday. Organizers encourage those who are interested to arrive at 8 a.m. to guarantee a spot in the trot. Registration will last until 10 a.m., and walks will take place rain or shine unless it’s thundering.
Funding for the Farmacy Fit program was made possible by grants from the Tennessee Department of Health, but Close sees this launch as an opportunity for the community to band together for a similar cause.
“This is a trial program,” Close said. “It’s grant funded this year. Eventually, we might try to get local business sponsorships or local foundations that can help keep the program. We just have to gain enough interest.”
Those who walk at least five times will receive a free Farmacy Fit T-shirt, and those who walk 10 or more times will be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of the program in October.
For more information about Farmacy Fit: Farmers’ Market Walking Program, visit www.ARCD.org/Farmacy-Fit.