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Indigenous foods take center stage at Minnesota State Fair

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. – Most of the foods eaten at the Minnesota State Fair are not native to Minnesota. But on Saturday, fair-goers could learn all about ingredients that are local at the fair’s Indigenous Food Lab cooking demonstrations. 

“We’re really excited to be able to come here again and to celebrate Indigenous foods, Indigenous identity here at the Minnesota State Fair,” said Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to the crowd at Dan Patch Park, where Indigenous food was the topic of the day.

“We just feel really lucky because historically there hasn’t been a lot of diversity here at the Minnesota State Fair, especially just representing Indigenous peoples of where we are,” said Sean Sherman, who is in charge of the nonprofit NATIFS Indigenous Food Lab, and the co-owner of famed new restaurant Owamni. “We’re just trying to change that narrative a little bit and bring something really positive and fun to really showcase how vibrant and alive our Indigenous cultures are here in Minnesota.”



A varying stream of presentations, including cooking demonstrations with Native chefs from Minnesota and around North America. Plus, there was a chance to learn about ingredients native to Minnesota, like nettles.

“A lot of them are in peoples’ backyards,” said Francesca Garcia, who works with NATIFS. “So it’s kind of like another way to utilize a plant that you may see as a nuisance as well and be like, ‘Oh that’s food.'”

“Especially at the Minnesota State Fair, where we showcase the best of Minnesota, Indigenous people are a part of that,” Flanagan said. “And I think it’s always a good reminder that we’ve always been here. We are still here as contemporary people, and we will continue to be here. It’s part of our story as Minnesotans.”

Source: CBS Minnesota

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