Forever Green at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair

Helene Murray

Healthy Local Food Exhibit Features Local Chefs, Food Samples, and Educational Exhibit

 St. Paul, MN (Aug. 24, 2016) – The eleventh annual Healthy Local Foods Exhibit will be a delicious feature of the EcoExperience at the Minnesota State Fair.

A captivating exhibit organized by Renewing the Countryside hosts more than 250,000 visitors annually, and each year engages visitors to learn about the impact they have on Minnesota’s agricultural system and vice versa – all of the ways food, culture, health, technology, and environment connect. Join us to taste a wealth of up-and-coming local food samples from the likes of Gray Duck Chai and Salsa Del Diablo and watch mouthwatering local chef demos from pros including Union Kitchen’s Yia Vang. For the youngest ones, make sure you don’t miss our activity-packed Kids Area, sponsored by HealthPartners yumPower Initiative, where the whole family can learn how to power up with five fruits and vegetables every day!

Plus, during this year’s 12 day event, explore how the University of Minnesota and USDA’s Forever Green initiative aims to supplement Minnesota's traditional "summer-annual" commodity crops, which farmers plant and harvest each season, with perennials which can come back for more than one season, and winter-annuals which are planted in the fall and harvested in the spring. An exciting example of this is "Kernza," a hardy, perennial, wheat-like grain that offers high yields while its dense root system builds soil carbon, stores nutrients and prevents soil erosion. Covering the soil year-round, keeping it forever green, means healthier lands, healthier waters, and more diverse incomes for farmers.

With our family-friendly games, informative displays, local food sampling and special guests, learn more about Forever Green and meet some of the entrepreneurs that make Minnesota a great place to eat.

Our live cooking demonstrations with local chefs will be on stage at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. – and don’t miss out – Peace Coffee celebrates 20 years of sourcing, roasting, and sharing exceptional organic, fairly traded coffee. Join us for free coffee tastings every day from 9am to 3pm!

Learn more about the annual Healthy Local Food exhibit, a project of Renewing the Countryside, a non-profit working since 2002 for a just, sustainable, and vibrant countryside.

For more information email Eli at To keep in touch with the latest updates, ‘like’ us at Renewing the Countryside on Facebook. follow @RtCountryside on Twitter, and use #ecoexperience16 to make sure your voice is heard.

Partners that make the Healthy Local Food Exhibit possible include the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, HealthPartners, Peace Coffee, the McKnight Foundation, Organic Valley, the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota, Department of Agronomy & Plant Genetics, and Green Lands Blue Waters Initiative.

Click poster image to see complete poster:

cropped version of Winter Barley State Fair poster

cropped version of Camelina State Fair poster

cropped version of Kernza State Fair poster

cropped version of Perennial Flax State Fair poster

cropped version of Hazelnuts State Fair poster

cropped version of Elderberry State Fair poster

cropped version of Cow State Fair poster

cropped version of Goat State Fair poster

Photos from the Fair


Aaron Reser of Green Lands Blue Waters and Tracy Singleton of the Birchwood Cafe enjoy delicious local food samples

Aaron Reser & Tracy Singleton with food samples
photo by Helene Murray


Chef Marshall Paulsen of the Birchwood Cafe demonstrates cooking with Kernza

Marshall Paulson demo of Kernza
photo by Helene Murray


Fairgoers Sampling Healthy Local Food

fairgoers sample food
photo by Helene Murray


Samples of "Orchid" Watermelon from Featherstone Farm

Orchid Watermelon Samples
photo by Helene Murray


Healthy Local Food exhibit area in the Eco-Experience Building

Healthy Local Food exhibit area
photo by Helene Murray


Rainfall simulator

Rainfall Simulator at State Fair 2016
photo by Katherine Frels


Poster showing Kernza root depth

poster of Kernza root
photo by Helene Murray