Iowa State Fair celebrates farmers with canned food creation

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

DES MOINES, Aug. 15- In honor of its 100th anniversary, the Iowa State Fair butter cow is now duplicated out of more motley material-thousands of cans of farmer-produced food. 


“Together We CAN!” is an exhibit hosted by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) at the 2011 Iowa State Fair. Celebrating the innovation of farmers, producers and all those involved in agriculture, cans of food are displayed in a life-size scene designed and assembled by Canstruction® and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Iowa chapter. 


 Together we can feed the Bees
The display includes thousands of canned food items arranged into replicas of the Iowa State Fair butter cow, a milk carton, a market-size hog and a landscape of soybeans and corn fields. The entire food and farm exhibit takes up approximately 26 feet in circumference in the South Atrium of the Varied Industries Building. At Fair's end, all components of the display will serve their ultimate purpose and be donated to the Iowa Food Bank Association.  


“This type of display encourages conversations with consumers,” said Aaron Putze, director of external relations for the Iowa Soybean Association and coordinator of the Iowa FFP. “It enhances awareness, understanding and trust for America's farmers.”


At the exhibit, fairgoers have the opportunity to visit with farmers, register for prizes and make cash donations to the Iowa Food Bank Association. Every one dollar donated allows food banks to distribute up to $15 worth of food to hungry Iowans.

Sponsors of “Together We CAN!” include the Iowa Soybean Association, Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Hy-Vee, Syngenta, Iowa State Fair, Iowa Food Bank Association and United Soybean Board. Canstruction® is a non-profit organization that holds annual design-and-build competitions to construct giant-sized structures made entirely of canned food.

“Celebrity” builders also made an appearance at Canstruction®'s first Iowa State Fair exhibit, including Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and members of Casting Crowns, a Grammy-award winning Christian rock band.

“Farmers are committed to continually improving how they provide food and providing wholesome food for everyone,” Putze said. “It's a tremendous success story, and what better way to share that story than the Iowa State Fair.”

The Iowa State Fair continues until August 22, which is also when “Together we CAN!” will announce the winners who most accurately guessed the number of cans used in the display.  

For more information about the Iowa FFP and the “Together We CAN!” Iowa State Fair exhibit, go to or


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