The Midwest’s largest celebration of organic food just got a little tastier! The Kickapoo Country Fair, taking place on Saturday, July 30 in La Farge, Wis., today announced its keynote speakers are to be nationally renowned food leaders Will Allen and Andrew Zimmern. Allen, an urban agriculture pioneer and founder of Growing Power, a farm and community food center in Milwaukee, and Zimmern, chef and star of the Travel Channel’s hit series, “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” both hail from the Midwest and have helped establish the region as a center for food culture and advocacy. Rounding out the day-long celebration will be country music headliner The Kentucky Headhunters.
Organic Valley, a farmer-owned cooperative with 1,636 organic farmers nationwide—dozens of which are located just miles from the fair grounds—created the Kickapoo Country Fair eight years ago as a healthy alternative to the traditional deep-fried fair. Nestled amid the steep hills and coulees of southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless region, this year’s Kickapoo Country Fair will attract thousands of attendees for a day-long exploration of all things food, including hands-on workshops, craft and cooking classes, issues-based seminars, poetry and theater performances, farm tours, live music and more—all offered at an affordable price for families. Passes providing access to all activities are only $5 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and under, and free for kids five and under.
“We’re excited to spice up this year’s event with two food leaders who, similar to our co-op, have been instrumental in helping establish the Midwest‘s prominent role in the changing food movement,” said Theresa Marquez, chief marketing officer for Organic Valley. “The opportunity to hear from such renowned personalities, chefs, farmers and advocates, all while eating delicious local and organic food in the beautiful Kickapoo region, is truly a unique food experience only a dedicated community like ours could cook up.”
Allen, Zimmern Take Center Stage
Will Allen, named one of TIME Magazine’s “World’s Most Influential People” in 2010 and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant, will take center stage at 11:30 a.m. Allen is among the preeminent thinkers of our time on agriculture and food policy and systems and is the founder of Growing Power. Based in Milwaukee, Growing Power serves as a ”living museum” or “idea factory” on sustainable food systems for the young, the elderly, farmers, producers, and other professionals ranging from USDA personnel to urban planners. Training areas include everything from urban agriculture, permaculture and food distribution, to community engagement and participatory leadership.
At 1:30 p.m., Andrew Zimmern will address fair-goers with a keynote speech and cooking demonstration. Zimmern is a Twin Cities native, James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, teacher, and is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the co-creator and host of the Travel Channel’s hit series “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and “Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Food World,” he travels the world exploring food unique to various communities. From world-class restaurants to jungle carts to Kickapoo Country Fair booths, Zimmern is all about discovering and sharing authentic, local food experiences.
More Food, Featured Attraction
The heart of the fair is the “Organic Valley Kitchen,” where fair-goers can participate in hands-on workshops, learn cooking techniques, meet Organic Valley farmers and sample free food all day long, such as fresh salads, homemade ice cream, kombucha, and beer and cheese pairings.
In the morning, go direct to the food source by touring a local, Organic Valley family farm. Those looking to get more creative with food can take delight in a food poetry slam or food theater performance in the afternoon. Various seminars on food-related issues and topics will be held throughout the day, including a presentation and food foraging adventure through the woods led by local Sam Thayer, author of “Foragers Harvest.” Keep the kids entertained all day with activities such as after-school snack cooking classes, puppet shows and more.
While fair-goers get their food fix, they’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy live music from The Kentucky Headhunters, country rock legends who, to date, have won three Country Music Association awards and are flat-out fantastic live. Also taking the stage will be The Squeezettes, an all-women polka band from Milwaukee, and the Driftless Region’s very own Bad Axe Blues Band, an electric “Chicago-style” blues band playing a mix of traditional and contemporary tunes.
For those interested in making it a weekend affair, camp or stay the night at one of the local bed & breakfasts or country cabins, then return to the fairgrounds for an all you can eat breakfast at Organic Valley’s Milky Way Café Sunday, July 31 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under and free for kids three and under. After breakfast, explore all the beautiful Driftless region has to offer, including kayaking the Kickapoo River, hiking and biking through the lush green hills of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and more.
Organic Valley created and hosts the Kickapoo Country Fair with support from more than 75 local businesses and organizations, including the Wisconsin Farmers Union’s Kamp Kenwood and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
For more information about the event, including the official schedule and area lodging information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.kickapoocountryfair.org, or find the fair on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KickapooCountryFair.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,636 farmers in 34 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $619 million in 2010 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, yogurt, 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 label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.