By Aaron Putze, Coordinator of Iowa Food & Family Project
A must-see sculpture created from nearly 50 tons of sand provided the ideal backdrop to a one-of-a-kind celebration of farming hosted by the Iowa Food & Family Project (IFFP) during the Iowa State Fair held Aug. 7-17 in Des Moines.
The exhibit, “What farmers grow makes Iowa go,” was located in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building. It featured the inspiring work of Greg and Brandi Glenn, 26-year veterans of sand sculpting and co-owners of Sandscapes®.
Nearly 250,000 fairgoers marveled at the work of art measuring 20-by-24 feet and standing more than 12 feet tall. It showcased how food is grown and where it’s enjoyed. Included in the sculpture were farms and farm fields, a tractor and milk carton, grocery stores and restaurants and a variety of animals including cows and pigs.
“Iowa Girl Eats” Kristin Porter, host of the IFFP’s “Join My Journey,” made appearances throughout the fair at the exhibit. She greeted fairgoers and autographed the Iowa FFP’s popular “Let’s Cook” cookbook.
From the ground up, farmers are dedicated to healthy families, communities and the environment. The exhibit and related activities reaffirmed the dedication of farmers to growing safe, wholesome food, generating jobs and income that build strong communities and safeguarding air, soil and water quality.
Fairgoers also visited with farmers about food production and participated in numerous activities. Children were invited to participate in a coloring and illustration contest while people of all ages tested their food and farming IQ. Thousands of fairgoers opted in to receive “Fresh Pickings,” Iowa FFP’s monthly e-newsletter.
Also, the Iowa FFP joined the Iowa State Fair and U.S. Department of Agriculture in sending fairgoers on a scavenger hunt throughout the fairgrounds to learn more about agriculture. “AgVenture” trail maps were available at information stands located throughout the fair. Once completed, they were redeemed for a special gift at the IFFP booth.
The Iowa Food & Family Project (www.iowafoodandfamily.com) is dedicated to uniting Iowans in conversations about today’s farms and food system through personal engagement and advocacy. It proudly serves as presenting sponsor of the Iowa Games, and supporter of Live Healthy Iowa and is funded in part by the soybean, pork, beef, dairy, corn, turkey and egg checkoffs.