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Jennie Garth Reveals How Her Rural Upbringing Influenced Her Family’s Diet

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Although Jennie Garth has been calling Los Angeles home for many years now, her Illinois roots still play a role in her life—and her food.

Garth, who teamed up with vitafusion and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to plant fruit trees in the Bronx to help feed the underprivileged, says her childhood has formed the type of diet she now eats.

“I have three girls and growing up on a farm in Illinois, I was instilled with great values and the quality of having your own garden and growing your own fruits and vegetables from a young age,” Garth tells PEOPLE. “I love being able to do that with my own kids and pass that message along to other people.”

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Living on a hillside in California, the former 90210 star has had to get more creative in order to grow food for her family.

“We don’t have a lot of land, but we have a garden tower, which is a vertical situation and it’s awesome,” she says. “We have tomato plants, things like that, and I’m always a crazy vitamin lady.”

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Garth adds that the majority of the food her family consumes is fruits and vegetables: “I just don’t buy anything that’s in a box or can. We cook every night and eat fresh, healthy and clean.”

She says the Fruit Tree Project aims to cultivate and sustain more than 10,000 nutrient-rich fruit trees and remove more than 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. “We’re not only going to make a big impact for the people who are getting the fruit, but also for the environment the trees are serving.”