Zooey Deschanel and husband Jacob Pechenik are firm believers that the greatest wealth is health, and they’re dishing on the importance of “know it or grow it” in their new educational series “Your Food’s Roots with Zooey Deschanel.”
When Deschanel got pregnant with their first child, Elsie Otter, 2, the pair began to research whether or not the food they had been consuming all of these years would “the best thing for our child’s brain.”
“When I started looking into where our food was coming from, we all of the sudden starting seeing all this opaqueness – there were all these walls to finding out where your food came from, but that is a part of how we socialize, how we interact with our peers,” Deschanel told PEOPLE about how being a mother has changed the way she sees food.
“There are a certain amount of restaurants that tell you which farm your food came from, but most places don’t know, and a lot of places can’t tell you where your beef or chicken comes from,” she continues. “We started realizing that wall was making it difficult, though we were curious and slight obsessive and even we were having trouble finding out.”
The 5-episode original series — which is a collaboration between the health conscious couple’s new initiative The Farm Project and ATTN: — will focus on reconnecting people with the food they consume, where it comes from, and how it affects our body as a whole, as well as educating viewers on the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle. Created for Facebook, “Your Food’s Roots” is one of several original productions ATTN: is launching on the new Watch surface on Facebook. Other shows include, “Health Hacks with Jessica Alba.”
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“The more you eat local produce, the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the better you feel and the healthier you are, which makes it easier to stay fit and also the better it tastes,” says the New Girl actress. There was only like four percent of sustainable food production and the other 96 percent was industrialized, and that was just a big shock to us.”
In each episode, Deschanel will interview experts and everyday people about the origins of our food and the harmful production process behind it, essentially encouraging viewers to become “knowers” and “growers.”
“We have an organic farm in Texas that grows a lot of stuff, but at our house we grow leafy greens and lettuces, different herbs, tomatoes, squash, zucchini,” she says about the garden they have growing on the property of their own home in Los Angeles. “When you grow your own food, it’s exciting and your kids get excited.”
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And while kids tend to enjoy food that comes from a box rather than the earth, Deschanel makes sure to throw a fun spin on eating healthy by allowing her daughter to take a field trip to the backyard to handpick her food from the ground each time it’s time for a meal.
“Our daughter might not eat a piece of broccoli if you bring it to her on a plate, but if she gets to pick it herself she gets so excited and wants it!” Says Deschanel. “And then she wants to try everything – the arugula, the herbs.”
In fact, Elsie Otter has become so obsessed with her leafy greens that Deschanel and Pechenik often have to hid the salad from her because certain kinds of lettuce have the tendency to get stuck in childrens’ throats.
“She can eat romaine, so I’ve just started making more romaine lettuces, and the arugula just has to be chopped up really small,” says Deschanel.
“Your Food’s Roots with Zooey Deschanel” premieres on Facebook Watch on November 7.