Thousands of canned food items and a committed team of volunteers will converge at the 2011 Iowa State Fair to create a first-of-its-kind exhibit at one of the most popular celebrations of food, fun and agriculture in America. This year's fair is August 11-21 in Des Moines.
The "Together We CAN!" exhibit, presented by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP), will feature the awe-inspiring work of "Canstruction", the most unique food charity in the world. Located in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building and open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, this must-see exhibit will include larger-than-life replicas of the Iowa State Fair butter cow (in honor of its 100th anniversary), a milk carton, market-size hog and landscape of soybeans and corn fields--all sculpted from thousands of cans of food.
Following the fair, all food items used in the exhibit will be donated to the Iowa Food Bank Association, benefiting Iowans struggling against hunger.
"We're delighted to host this unique event," says Gary Slater, CEO and manager of the Iowa State Fair. "It's a truly remarkable display that's not been seen before at the Iowa State Fair."
Conversations about farming, healthy food, feeding people
The purpose of the exhibit is to encourage conversations about farming, inspire greater awareness of the commitment of Iowa farmers to providing healthy food for everyone and help people and families struggling with hunger.
"While people hold farmers in high regard, they have sincere questions about farming and want to know more about the quality of their food and how it's produced," says Aaron Putze, director of external relations for the Iowa Soybean Association and coordinator of the Iowa FFP. "Farmers want to listen, engage in the discussion and, most importantly, demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement."
"The 'Together We CAN!' exhibit will provide that opportunity," he adds, "while also serving as a catalyst to help people and families in need of food."
You can participate in activities and contests at this exhibit
Exhibit visitors can participate in a variety of activities and contests and donate to the IFBA. Actual construction of the display will take place during the first four days of the fair and utilize the assistance of "Celebrity Builders," including Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey and Des Moines native Rebecca Meyer, the Season 8 at-home $100,000 winner of NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
Members of Casting Crowns, a Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian rock band, will also lend a hand during a guest appearance Aug. 11 prior to their Grandstand performance.
Sponsors of "Together We CAN!" include the Iowa Soybean Association, Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Hy-Vee, Syngenta, Iowa State Fair, Iowa Food Bank Association and United Soybean Board.
Jordan Vernoy, IFBA state director, says its Iowa State Fair partnership with the Iowa FFP will make a tremendous difference in the lives of families and children struggling with hunger. "Action begins with awareness and we're pleased and grateful to the Iowa Food and Family Project for the substantial assistance the 'Together We CAN!' project will provide," he says. "Every dollar donated allows food banks to distribute up to $15 worth of food to hungry Iowans. The generosity of fairgoers visiting the exhibit will go a long way toward assisting the more than 380,000 Iowans who are food insecure."
About "Canstruction" and the Iowa Food & Family Project
Canstruction is a non-profit organization that holds annual design-and-build competitions to construct giant-sized structures made entirely of canned food. Since 1992, Canstruction has contributed more than 15 million pounds of food to community food banks.
The Iowa Food & Family Project is a purpose-driven initiative dedicated to nurturing positive and enduring relationships between farmers and consumers through personal engagement and advocacy. It involves more than 20 farm, retail and food relief organizations and celebrates the continuous improvement of Iowa's farmers and their commitment to providing healthy food for everyone. It's funded in part by the Soybean Checkoff.
Summing up, Putze makes these key points about this exhibit:
* It is an educational, interactive display will celebrate the miracle of food and the people who provide it
* The Iowa Food & Family Project is helping to alleviate hunger in Iowa
* You can find the exhibit in south atrium of Varied Industries Building and be part of "Together We CAN!"
For more information about the Iowa FFP and continuous coverage of its "Together We CAN!" Iowa State Fair exhibit, go to www.iowafoodandfamily.com, "like" it on facebook.com/foodnfamilies or follow along via Twitter @foodnfamilies.