What do Sara's Tipsy Pies and Peace Coffee have in common? Find out at Eco Experience!

Contact: Pam McCurdy, 651-757-2559

St. Paul, Minn. — You can’t have a great Minnesota get-together without food! The Eco Experience tells the story behind the best locally grown and produced food at the Healthy Local Foods Exhibit, presented by Renewing the Countryside.

The Healthy Local Food area’s 2014 theme will be #GrowaMNFarmer!” The exhibit explores what it takes to build and grow a successful farm business in Minnesota. According to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture, the largest cross section of farmers in the country, grouped by age, is at or near retirement and the number of younger farmers is shrinking.

More than ever Minnesota needs new farmers yet these, oftentimes young, entrepreneurs face unique challenges such as difficulties in accessing good farmland, securing traditional financing, understanding farm law and reaching new markets. The Grow a Farmer exhibit looks at some of the hurdles as well as the rewards of entering our food economy.

Free food samples: Daily at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. local chefs from around the Twin Cities will be cooking on the Sustainability Stage with their best dishes! Visitors will learn how to make Zucchini Lemon Cookies, Bison Chili, Pie Pops and more with chefs like: Chef Ani and Chef Derek from Whole Foods Market, Chef Marshall Paulsen from the Birchwood Café and Baker Sara from Sara’s Tipsy Pies.

Coffee and Farmers: Early morning fair-goers will be able to sample fresh-brewed, organic, fair trade and locally roasted coffee from Peace Coffee every morning until noon, and learn about coffee farming, roasting and see brewing techniques. The Healthy Local Foods Exhibit will include cooking demonstrations from some of the Twin Cities’ best chefs and cooking instructors. Then, at the Local Food Sampling Station, visitors can meet local farmers and producers and sample some of their products!

Free Popcorn and Movies: Visitors can eat free popcorn from fresh- popped locally- grown corn and watch short food related films, such as episodes from The Perennial Plate, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Sustainability Stage. Kids can learn about farming and local food with fun activities like the Veggie Grand Prix, where they race cars made of fresh, local vegetables.

Major partners supporting the Healthy Local Foods Exhibit are, Health Partners, Whole Foods, and Peace Coffee. For the daily schedule of cooking demonstrations, CSA Farms, and local food samples check out Renewing the Countryside.org.

A full schedule of the free cooking demos and presentations on our Sustainability Stage can also be found at www.ecoexperience.org