Zooey Deschanel is opening up about her latest venture, The Farm Project, and why she wants you to start asking questions about your food.
"The more that you ask questions and find out where the food [comes and who is growing it, it's going to totally affect what you buy," the "New Girl" actress told LIVESTRONG.COM at the opening of the L.A. Food Bowl on May 1. "And when you buy locally, your food is going to be more nutritious, it's going to taste better and it's going to be better for the environment.
"And you might not be eating the same thing all year round, but it's going to create a more interesting plate for you," she adds.
Deschanel co-founded The Farm Project with her husband, Jacob Pechenik, to empower people to eat local, sustainable, seasonal and organic food.
"Our whole mission is we're trying to make sustainable, local food as affordable and easy as packaged and processed alternatives," she told People last year.
As for her own eating habits, Deschanel has been outspoken about her unsuccessful attempts to go vegan in the past. "I have a lot of food sensitivities," she tells Health. "I can't eat wheat or soy, and it was very difficult to eat and get enough calories. It was even impossible to eat at a vegan restaurant."
So she and her family, which includes daughter Elsie, 2, and son Charlie, 1, eat a "flexitarian" diet.
"We're kind of, like, flexible vegetarians," she tells LIVESTRONG.COM. "Because if I'm, like, in somewhere, I might have fish. But [the children] don't really eat any meat. [Elsie] will have a little egg and cheese sometimes. But we're mostly vegetarian."
Deschanel also revealed that The Farm Project has been working on Lettuce Grow, a service that provides you with all the equipment and maintenance you need to run an urban farm. "We do these vertical gardens, so you can grow in a very small space," she says.
So why should we care where or food comes from? Studies have linked pesticides to multiple chronic illnesses, including prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and breast cancer as well as Parkinson's disease. What's more, it's estimated that Americans lose about 16.9 million IQ points every year due to exposure to organophosphates, the most commonly used pesticide.
Deschanel's initiative to make local, organic food more accessible is incredibly important, considering that some of LIVESTRONG.COM's users have mentioned that it can be difficult and costly to find organic options. If you're on a budget, know that there are certain foods that are more essential to buy organic than others. Find out more by reading our lists of the 21 foods to always buy organic and the 16 foods that are OK to opt for nonorganic.
Has your interest been piqued? If so, watch Deschanel dive into the origins of our food and the potentially harmful processes that go into producing it in her Facebook educational series "Your Food's Roots with Zooey Deschanel." And be sure to read up on all the reasons why you should start buying organic!
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What Do YOU Think?
Do you shop organic? How important to you is eating seasonal and local foods? Will you be watching out for more of The Farm Project's work? Share in the comments section!