About Us

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), a grassroots general 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 the 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, resulting in a new food system for our state revolving around 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 17 years we’re proud to have highlighted over 150 farms and 150 restaurants, bakeries, wineries, and other businesses committed to local food in Minnesota Cooks.

Through our one-day event at the Minnesota State Fair, an accompanying calendar sent to MFU members, the public television program Farm Fresh Road Trip and the upcoming book The Farmer and The Chef: Farm Fresh Minnesota Recipes and Stories, Minnesota Cooks strengthens the health and fabric of Minnesota’s farms, restaurants, households and economy by connecting consumers and wholesale buyers with locally grown foods. Minnesota Cooks ultimately demonstrates that locally grown food is a viable economic opportunity for many family farmers.

The Team

Claudine Arndt


Claudine Arndt is the manager of Minnesota Cooks, acting as the team lead organizing Minnesota Cooks Day at the Minnesota State Fair, an annual, all-day celebration featuring family farmers and chefs demonstrating locally grown and raised foods. 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 nutrition counselor and owner of Wellness with Claudine, she encourages others to choose quality, local foods whenever possible as part of their health journey.


Katie Cannon


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.


Anne Schwagerl


Anne Schwagerl joined the Minnesota Cooks team in January 2020 as the Minnesota Cooks Coordinator, assisting with the overall organization, communication, and promotion of the program. Anne is also the Minnesota Farmers Union State Secretary, elected in 2017. 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.