Could this be the project that finally transforms Chattanooga?

It's possible. It's really possible.

Could this be the project that finally transforms Chattanooga?
Fall vegetables, Main St. Farmers' Market, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Oct. 18, 2023

Last week, we asked the question:

Can Chattanooga become a Blue Zone city, where people are living longer, healthier and happier lives?

A place where a local food infrastructure is prioritized, exposure to toxins is reduced, walkability is promoted and community is strengthened thereby decreasing isolation, loneliness and disease?

Regardless of zip code?

"Yes!" declared Dr. Suzannah Bozzone.

Bozzone, a lifestyle medicine doctor and creator of My True Health Journey, is a founding member of the Chattanooga Blue Zone Steering Committee, which began meeting in the spring of 2022.

"I absolutely think we have the people, the intention and the leadership to make this happen," she said.  

  • Along with Bill Rush (Metropolitan Ministries), David Johnson (The Trust for Public Land), Dr. Steven Fox (Erlanger Health Systems) and many other Chattanoogans, the group meets every fourth Friday at 1 pm at Metropolitan Ministries, 4001 Rossville Blvd.
  • They've begun raising $150,000 in order to partner with The Blue Zones Project, which would then provide the blueprint for such work.
  • Chattanooga has been named as one of three Appalachian cities as possible recipients of a Blue Zone grant – ranging from $500,000 to $3 million – for economic development. Results will be announced late 2023 or early 2024.

So, yes, it's entirely possible.

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"We have wonderful organizations striving endlessly to improve our infrastructure towards healthier decisions, but many are operating in silos," Bozzone said.

She's right. Consider all the meaningful, urgently good projects devoted to increasing health and reducing disease. Each with such merit, yet often, each operating independently.

Is this the project that will finally unite such efforts?

Meet the Plant-Based Doctor Transforming Chattanooga into a Blue Zone
Dr. Suzannah Bozzone empowers her community with a WFPB consulting business while working with Blue Zones Project. Read her interview here!

"The potential impact of Greater Chattanooga becoming a Blue Zone is massive, in that this process would help unite the many silos of incredible work currently being done under one evidence-based proven and very well tracked umbrella-blue print," she said. "Not only would this make a difference in the populations at greatest need, it could have far-reaching impacts in our neighboring Southern communities, all in dire need for health-promoting infrastructure."

For more info, visit Blue Zones of Greater Chattanooga. or email Bill Rush at

Niedlov's, Main St., Chattanooga, Tennessee

This Sunday, we're delighted to send you a feature on Erik and Lauren Zilen of Niedlov's Bakery & Cafe.

The story began weeks ago when Erik asked this unforgettable question as we sat together at Niedlov's. It's a question that followed him and his family to Idaho this past summer. A question that Kelsey and Bill Keener at Sequatchie Cove Farm are contemplating, also. A question I can't shake, either.

If you've ever eaten Niedlov's bread – or any rich, homemade, nourishing bread – it's a question you'll want to hear, too.

See you Sunday, my friends.

All photography by Sarah Unger. Visit

Story ideas? Interested in sponsorship opportunities + supporting our work? Feedback or questions? Email David Cook at This story is 100% human generated; no AI chatbot was used in the creation of this content.

Food as a Verb thanks our sustaining partners for their generous support.

Regional Farmers Markets

  • Main St. Farmers Market, Corner of W. 20th and Chestnut St., near Finley Stadium

Wednesday, 4 - 6pm

  • Brainerd Farmers Market, Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave,

Saturday, 10am - noon

  • Chattanooga Market, 1820 Carter Street

Sunday, 11am - 4pm

  • Ooltewah Farmers Market, The Ooltewah Nursery

Thursday, 3 - 6pm 

  • Signal Mountain Farmers Market

Pre-order online for Thursday pick-up between 4 - 6pm at Bachman Community Center

  • St. Albans Farmers Market, 7514 Hixson Pike

Saturday, 9.30am - 12.30pm with a free pancake breakfast every third Saturday  

  • Walker County Farmers Market

Wednesday, 2 - 5 pm, Rock Spring Ag. Center 

Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm, downtown Lafayette, Georgia

To include your farmers market, email

Dig in. (It's free)