The Indiana State Fair is underway, as the Indiana Pork Producers kicked it off with their traditional ham breakfast which draws politicians and potentates from around the state. Hoosier Ag Today begins its coverage of the State Fair sponsored by the Indiana Soybean farmers and their checkoff and by the American Dairy Association of Indiana. Gary Truitt and Andy Eubank will be there to bring you all the latest news and activities at the Fair.
This year the theme of the Fair is “The Wonderful World of Food.” Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye says the focus on food is only natural, “The number one reason people come to the Fair is the food. So we decided to just blow this up and make it all about food. Farmers feed the world, so why not focus on the world of food?” Hoye says a special display by the American Museum of Natural History traces the history and culture of food. It takes visitors on a journey around the world and through time, this exhibition explores the common interactions we have with our food, examining the intricate system that brings what we eat from the farm to our tables. Through digital interactives, rich dioramas, cultural artifacts, and striking models, visitors will experience stories of how humans have shaped the foods we know, and how food has shaped us.
Again this year, Dow AgroSciences is sponsoring a featured farmer. In its third year, this program celebrates Hoosier agriculture. The 17 farm operations represent all regions of the state and were chosen to align with the 17 different foods being showcased throughout the Fair. Each Featured Farmer grows a component of the featured food for their respective day. “Food is something that connects all Hoosiers, and fairgoers will experience food in new, fun, and interactive ways, as well as learn about how Hoosier farmers help feed the world,” said Susanne Wasson, U.S. Crop Protection Leader, Dow AgroSciences. “We’re pleased to again present the Featured Farmers to help consumers connect with the people producing what ultimately ends up on their dinner plate.”
In the Agriculture Horticulture building, fairgoers will be able to purchase a variety of Indiana Grown products from the Indiana Grown Marketplace. Next to the store, cooking demonstrations featuring member products will be held daily at noon on the Culinary Stage. Indiana Grown members will also be offering samples in the Agriculture Horticulture building.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture will continue to educate the public about new aspects of agriculture, engage families with interactive exhibits, and highlight the importance of Indiana agriculture as part of everyday life. New this year, the Normandy Barn will have an Augmented Reality Sandbox, which is a hands-on exhibit that allows users to create colorful topographic maps demonstrating the relationship between soil and water, as well as an exhibit that highlights Indiana’s agritourism destinations.
Indiana Farm Bureau will reach fairgoers through a collection of games and exhibits inside the Farm Bureau Building on the north end of the fairgrounds. The content covers many areas of agriculture including farm technology, household byproducts, food production and labeling, sustainability and economics. “It is so crucial for those of us involved in agriculture to share our story, since the average person today is at least three generations removed from the farm,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “The Indiana State Fair is a great way for us to advocate for agriculture to a large audience year after year.” New this year in the Farm Bureau Building is a “Barn Theater” wall showing videos of farmers across Indiana. The videos will showcase farmers of lumber, cattle, turkeys, flowers, goat cheese, apples, mint, wind, hogs, and grain.