What would Minnesota be without wild rice, lefsa and pho? Celebrate agriCULTURE at the Eco Experience


St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota State Fair is more than just food on a stick. 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.

Healthy Local Food’s 2015 theme is AgriCULTURE: From First Peoples to New Immigrants. Food traditions have been brought to, discovered, shaped and renewed in Minnesota and we as a whole community are richer for it. What would Minnesota be without staples like wild rice, lefsa and pho? Numerous cultures have had — and continue to have — lasting impacts on the food system in our state. Come explore how native cultures and immigrants, past and present, have played important roles in food production, economic growth, and expanding our palates.

Themed days. Each day brings something new with themed days that focus on a particular immigrant group. Fair guests will get to speak with representatives from different immigrant groups and learn about the food that is important to them.

Free food samples. Daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. local chefs from around the Twin Cities will be cooking foods from different immigrant cultures using local ingredients on the Sustainability Stage! Visitors will sample modern and traditional Dakota and Ojibwe foods with Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef; learn the secret to perfect Chinese dumplings with Chef Nina Wong of Chin Dian Cafe, and enjoy traditional Hmong cooking paired with agricultural folklore from Pakou Hang of the Hmong American Farmers Association.

Kid-friendly fun. 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. The country (or region) of origin for each vegetable will be included for even more fun!

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, many from different immigrant communities.

Come explore how immigrants past and present have played important roles in food production, economic growth, and expanding our palates.

Major partners supporting the Healthy Local Foods exhibit are Health Partners and Peace Coffee. For the daily schedule of cooking demonstrations, CSA farms, and local food samples, check out renewingthecountryside.org. A full schedule of the free cooking demos and presentations on our Sustainability Stage can also be found at www.ecoexperience.org.