Celebrating its 20th Anniversary and the success of the organic family farm cooperative, Organic Valley Family of Farms will host the fifth-annual Kickapoo Country Fair on Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27 on the grounds of its headquarters in La Farge, Wis., set in the ancient and beautiful hills of the Kickapoo River Valley.
Open to the public, the Midwest’s largest rural heritage, food and farming festival will feature farm tours and exhibits, live music and dancing, local artisans and food vendors, kids’ activities, author readings, organic cooking taught by celebrity chefs, and free workshops related to sustainability, including renewable energy, community health and environmental responsibility.
“Each year, our co-op hosts the Kickapoo Country Fair to honor our rural heritage and the spirit of organics,” said George Siemon, CEO for Organic Valley. “This year is especially meaningful because we welcome our neighbors, family farm members and some of the organic industry’s most legendary pioneers to help us celebrate 20 years of providing healthy food for families and a lifeline for organic family farms.”
Praise for the Organic Pioneers – A 20th Anniversary Tribute
In recognition of the co-op’s 20th Anniversary and success of the entire organic and sustainable food movement, Organic Valley has lined up a number of featured guest speakers and special events. Honoring the pioneers of the organic movement, the co-op will welcome as its keynote speaker Francis Moore Lappé, noted social change activist and author of 16 books including the bestseller “Diet for a Small Planet” on Sunday at 2 p.m. Additional featured speakers include Fred Kirschenmann, Jim Hightower, Anna Lappé and John Stauber.
Organic Valley also will recognize its promising young members with the co-op’s first-ever ”Generation Organic” (Gen-O) Awards, which honor leadership among the next generation of organic farmers.
Kickapoo Kitchen – A Tasting Tribute to Organic Success
Food will take center stage in the Kickapoo Kitchen tasting tent with some of America’s foremost organic chefs and locavores from the Kickapoo Valley offering classes and sampling of the Midwest’s best organic foods. Organic Valley also welcomes to the tasting tent renowned authors and chefs Michel Nischan and Ann Cooper. Seating is
limited. Tickets are available on-site beginning Saturday at 9 a.m., and proceeds benefit Valley Stewardship Network. The Pantry, an adjoining tent, will offer free classes throughout the weekend.
Additional special events include the second-annual Butter Churn Bike Tour, which will begin Saturday at 8 a.m.; the Word Tent, welcoming authors and performers throughout the weekend; the Kickapoo Film Festival, featuring a selection of independent films about perspectives on environment and agriculture; and a 20th Anniversary birthday cake celebration following Sunday’s keynote presentation. Great music is sure to be enjoyed, as Michael Martin Murphey, JJ’s Zydeco Pay Dirt, Natty Nation and many local favorites fill the valley with their sounds.
The weekend-long festival is sponsored by Organic Valley Family of Farms and more than 40 local businesses and organizations, including partners Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and gold sponsors Schroeder, Tetra Pak and Toyota.
For more information about the event, including schedule details and lodging information, visit www.kickapoocountryfair.org.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents more than 1,200 farmers in 34 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $432.5 million in 2007 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.com and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop.