Adding more fruits and veggies into our meals is always beneficial, regardless of diet, but it’s important to know what and how to shop. Back in the day, we were only able to get certain fruits and vegetables during specific times of the year, but now it seems we can get them no matter the season. That isn’t necessarily a good thing. In-season fruits and vegetables are best because they’re nutrient-dense and they didn’t travel a long way to get to you. The Farm Project’s new campaign, What’s in Season?, helps educate people about the benefits of eating seasonal and local produce.
The Farm Project teamed up with Brooklyn-based illustrator Ariella Elovic to design T-shirts that act as visual maps of in-season produce. The 100% organic tees feature five U.S. regions and their accompanying fruits and veggies. They’re available in sizes small to XL for $30 each, and will be shipped in recycled mailers.
Aside from educating yourself about what food is in season, there are other things you can do to shop smarter. Choose to shop at a local farmers’ market or join a CSA program. Of course, you can also grow your own veggies, but what if you live in a small apartment? There are ways to work with that, too.
We talked to The Farm Project co-founder and HG alum Zooey Deschanel to get tips on growing your own food with limited space and how to shop on a limited budget. She also told us how she made her beauty routine more eco-friendly.
HelloGiggles: Why does this T-shirt project matter to you?
Zooey Deschanel: At The Farm Project, we want to empower everyone to ask the right questions about the food we eat. We know that it can be easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about issues surrounding our food system, and to make it a little more fun, we created this T-shirt collection. We want to encourage people to discover seasonal produce in their regions. By choosing to eat seasonally, we can all do our part in supporting local farmers and sustainable supply chains that are producing fresh, healthy — and more flavorful — food.
HG: How do you recommend people grow their own food if they live in apartments or have limited space?
ZD: It can be easy and fun to grow your own food, even with limited space. If you’re in an apartment, you can start with windowsill planters for anything from microgreens to fresh herbs or edible flowers. If you have a balcony or small yard, energy-efficient and soil-less aeroponic growing system works great.
HG: What kind of foods do you like to make with in-season veggies and fruits?
ZD: Locally grown, in-season fruits and veggies taste better and are better for you, because they haven’t had to travel thousands of miles to get to your plate where they lose freshness and nutrients along the way. This makes your job as a cook much easier, because you can really let the fresh ingredients shine. One of my favorite summer dishes in California is a simple heirloom tomato salad, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh basil from our garden.
HG: How have your eating habits changed since starting The Farm Project?
ZD: I’ve always enjoyed great food. But only when I got pregnant with my first child I started to care more about where our food actually comes from, and how it’s made. There’s nothing like pregnancy and supporting another life that makes you reassess what you’re putting in your body! The more I got involved and the more I spoke to growers and experts, the more it became clear that there’s a big gap between knowing that our food system is broken – and actually feeling empowered to do something about it. My family is fortunate enough to be able to opt out of the current food system, which favors processed, shelf-stabilized food, but many people aren’t. We founded The Farm Project to create a better food system for all of us.
HG: If someone is on a limited budget, how would you suggest they buy organic?
ZD: A great way to buy organic on a limited budget is to buy produce that’s in-season, at a farmers’ market or at the supermarket. Produce will be cheaper at the peak of its supply because it’s more abundant and has traveled far less to get to us. Buying organic rice, cereal, nuts and grains from bulk bins is also a great way to save money, and cut down on packaging.
HG: How in other ways have you become more eco-conscious in your day-to-day life?
ZD: I personally try my best to minimize food waste when I cook, even through using techniques such as fermenting. We’ve started to grow a lot of our own vegetables in our yard. We’re doing our very best to avoid single-use plastics, especially straws. I believe that it’s about a lot of small things that all add up to making a big impact for the planet.
HG: Is your beauty routine eco-conscious at all?
ZD: I try to buy my beauty products from companies that use eco-conscious packaging and refrain from using harsh chemicals. I recently started buying shampoo bars to cut down on waste from plastic shampoo bottles. So far, so good!
Shop the T-shirts and learn more about shopping for in-season produce at The Farm Project.