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 highlighting the partnerships between Minnesota’s dedicated family farmers and talented chefs, cooks and restaurant owners from around the state who work tirelessly to highlight 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 community from galvanizing and forging powerful business relationships, resulting in a new food system for our state revolving around local foods. Since its creation, Minnesota Cooks’s mission has been to highlight these critical partnerships, tell their stories and help drive consumers toward Minnesota-grown foods.
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 with locally grown foods. Minnesota Cooks ultimately demonstrates that locally grown food is a viable economic opportunity for many family farmers.