About Us

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), a grassroots farm organization, has been an instrumental force behind the local food movement in Minnesota. In 2003, MFU created Minnesota Cooks™, a program devoted to celebrating and cultivating partnerships between Minnesota’s dedicated family farmers and talented chefs, cooks and restaurant owners who feature farm-fresh foods on their menus.

The idea that farms and restaurants could work together directly to support and help each other succeed was still far from mainstream back in 2003, but that didn’t stop Minnesota’s innovative food and farming communities from galvanizing and forging powerful business relationships centered on local foods. Since its inception, Minnesota Cooks’ mission is to emphasize the importance of supporting locally grown and made-in-Minnesota foods and products and help grow local food markets. Throughout our 19 years we’re proud to have highlighted over 150 farms and 150 restaurants, bakeries, wineries, distilleries and other businesses committed to local food in the Minnesota Cooks program.

Through our one-day event at the Minnesota State Fair, our popular Minnesota Cooks calendar, the Emmy Award-Winning public television program Farm Fresh Road Trip, and our newly released book, The Farmer and The Chef: Farm Fresh Minnesota Recipes and Stories, Minnesota Cooks strengthens the fabric of Minnesota’s farms, restaurants, households and economy by connecting consumers and wholesale buyers with farmers and their products. Minnesota Cooks ultimately demonstrates how the local food market is a viable economic opportunity for many family farmers.

The Team

Claudine Arndt

Manager

Claudine Arndt is the manager of Minnesota Cooks, acting as the team lead. She is the author of the stories featured in the annual Minnesota Cooks calendar and the primary author of the stories in The Farmer and the Chef: Farm Fresh Minnesota Recipes & Stories. Also a part-time nutrition counselor and owner of Wellness with Claudine, she encourages others to choose quality, local foods whenever possible as part of their health journey.

www.wellnesswithclaudine.com

Katie Cannon

Photographer

Katie Cannon is the photographer for the Minnesota Cooks™ program, the public television program Farm Fresh Road Trip and The Farmer and The Chef: Farm Fresh Minnesota Recipes and Stories. Her photography business, Katie Cannon Photography, focuses on lifestyle photography of food, families, farms and travel.

www.katiecannonphotography.com

Anne Schwagerl

Consultant

Anne Schwagerl joined the Minnesota Cooks team in January 2020 as a Farmer Consultant, assisting with project development and big picture decision-making. Anne is also the newly elected Vice President of Minnesota Farmers Union (November of 2021) and the outgoing State Secretary. She and her husband, Peter, operate a diversified grain and livestock operation near Browns Valley, MN. Their family operates nearly 400 acres and grows certified organic corn, soybeans, small grains, and alfalfa, as well as a pastured pork and laying hen operation. Prior to returning home to farm, Anne earned her bachelor’s degree in Geography at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN and worked in the field of nonprofit grant management at National Geographic Society and United Way. Anne currently serves on the board of governors of Farmers Union Industries has recently completed the WFO-GYMNASIUM Young Farmer Leader Training. She is the Next Generation Representative on the National Farmers Union Board of Directors.

© Copyright Minnesota Farmers Union. All rights reserved. All photos copyright Katie Cannon Photography.