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New “Farm to Fair” Dinner Opens a Dialogue Between Farmers and Consumers

DES MOINES, Iowa – Four hundred lucky Iowa State Fair goers got a chance to see where the food in our state really comes from.

The first “Farm to Fair” dinner took place on the Grand Concourse this morning. The meal was catered by The Machine Shed in Urbandale and incorporated some of the major elements of Iowa’s agriculture such as beef, pork, corn, dairy, egg, soybean, and turkey.

The 500-foot long table was the largest table ever sat at the Iowa State Fair. It was big enough to hold the 400 lucky fair goers and 100 of the state’s farmers. Those included out-of-state visitors who took an interest in the work Iowa farmers do.

“I had relatives who were farmers but I’ve spent my life living in the city,” Steve Haines of Moline, Ill. said. “Anytime, I think, if you get a dialogue going with people it’s going to help things.”

“As the generations get further and further away from the farm, there becomes a disconnect with that local farmer,” said Doug Carroll, a dairy farmer from Ryan. “Some kids today actually think that the food comes from the grocery store.”

There was so much interest in the “Fair to Farm” dinner that a lottery system had to be put in place where people had to write an essay explaining why they wanted to sit down with a farmer.