Jennifer Garner‘s passion for healthy, organic food all stems from her family’s roots.
The actress, who co-founded the organic baby food line Once Upon a Farm and has been showing off her skills in the kitchen recently with her “Pretend Cooking Show”, opened up at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, describing how her childhood has influenced the way she feeds her own kids today.
“My mom made all of our food,” Garner says. “I would just be desperate for anything in a package. I was so envious of my friends and their Little Debbie oatmeal cakes and things like that. When we were hungry she would say, ‘Go out to the garden, child, I bet those tomatoes are ready and grab yourself some sugar snap peas.’ [Now], you know, you can’t help it. That’s what I do with my kids.”
The 45-year-old, who is a parent to daughters Violet, 12, and Seraphina, 9, and son Samuel, 6, with her ex-husband Ben Affleck, says they have their own farm in Los Angeles where they grow most of their food.
“We have chickens but that’s very L.A. so don’t be too impressed,” she says. “We grow tons of fruits and vegetables because here in Los Angeles you can just grow anything. I can’t get over it. I just keep planting things.”
Garner says they even have seven bee hives and her children have bee suits they put on to check out the progress of each hive.
“It’s super fun. It’s like a living science experiment,” she says.
At the expo, Garner also described why she was interested in starting her line of organic, fresh baby food alongside one of the company’s co-founders and CEO John Foraker.
“When your kids are born, everything in your brain shifts,” she says. “When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I thought I would never stop working, I would just get right back on set and she’d be raised in a trailer and I would never make her baby food and she’d be fine. I opened one of those jars and I was like, ‘No! I’m never feeding this to an actual human.'”
Once Upon a Farm‘s mission is to bring baby food that contains no preservatives, concentrates or processed purees to people of all households and incomes—something both Garner and Foraker are extremely passionate about.
“The first thing I said to John is we can’t just talk about feeding the top 10 percent of kids, 50 percent of kids, we have to talk about how to give that nutrition to the bottom half, the bottom rungs of the ladder,” says Garner, who recently showed off her very first office at the company’s headquarters. “Part of my job is to educate moms what we’re doing, who we are, where we are in the grocery store, [and] why we exist. The thing I’m the most passionate about is I really hope and aim for us having the first WIC farm fresh organic baby food.”
Now Garner is literally going back to her family’s roots, and revitalizing the farm her mother grew up on in Locust Grove, Okla., so they can grow organic kale, blueberries and persimmon as part of the supply chain for Once Upon a Farm.
“Kids will say, ‘I don’t like broccoli, I don’t want broccoli,’ but if we’re picking it fresh out of the ground and eating it in the row of the garden, they can’t resist it,” she says. “You can’t resist what is still warm from the sun. You just can’t. So all of the luck that I’ve had with my kids, is what’s been picked with the dirt still on it and what’s been plucked out of the ground, rubbed on your knee and eaten right there.”