Zooey Deschanel's Company Makes It So Easy to Grow Your Own Vegetables, You Literally Can't Mess it up
Actor Zooey Deschanel co-founded Lettuce Grow, a company that sells home hydroponic systems called Farmstands. Customizable with over 200 varieties of veggie, herb and fruit seedlings, the towers are available in five sizes: from Teeny (44 inches tall), which holds 12 plants, to the 6-foot-tall Large that holds 36. She shares how this system can help anyone become a backyard (or balcony) farmer.
EatingWell: What inspired you to start Lettuce Grow?
Zooey Deschanel: It seemed like there was a solution for people who don't have green thumbs or the time to spend gardening but want fresh produce and the benefits of eating something right after it's picked.
EW: What are some of the benefits of this hydroponic system?
ZD: The base is only, like, 2 feet by 2 feet, so you can put it on a balcony. (We're working on lights for indoor growing, but right now Farmstand can only be used outside.) It uses 95% less water than regular gardens grown in soil. Plus, compared to shipping fresh produce, we can send so many more plants in seedling form, and the truck doesn't need to be refrigerated, which lowers the carbon footprint. Not to mention the tower itself is made from recycled plastic.
Related: How to Grow Microgreens
EW: Do you have a green thumb?
ZD: No! No! No! No! I'm terrible at gardening. I find a way to kill plants. But this is completely different. I do hardly any work—maybe 5 minutes a week. Plus, there's an app with reminders to add water and nutrients.
EW: Besides nutrition, what are some of the other upsides of growing your own food?
ZD: I think we've become more and more disconnected from where our food comes from—it's kind of out-of-sight out-of-mind. But if you're growing your own food—even if you just grow a little bit—you have an appreciation and gratitude for it.
EW: So what are you growing?
ZD: I love herbs like basil and mint as well as lettuces and kale for salads. I make a ton of salads. I also love chard parboiled in salted water, then sautéed and topped with toasted nuts.
Read More: Healthy Chard Recipes
EW: Chard isn't always a kid favorite. Do your two kids eat what you grow?
ZD: It's actually the only time they'll eat anything obviously green. My daughter is very picky. In terms of green vegetables, she'll only eat it if she sees it growing. She'll just sit there with a leaf and eat it. Whereas, if I just put it on her plate, she wouldn't. She loves seeing it grow. And my son does too. I think it expands their palates.
For more on Zooey's experiences with gardening and her products, check out Lettuce Grow.
This story originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine January/February 2020.