“Connect to Farming,” Aug. 8-18, at the Iowa State Fair

Aaron Putze

Aaron Putze

Guest Blog by Aaron Putze
Director of External Relations & Coordinator
Iowa Food & Family ProjectIowa Soybean Association

It’s less than week away from the start of the one-and-only Iowa State Fair.  Indulge in all the great fair fun.  Try some of the 18 foods to debut in 2013, and put the “Get Connected to Farming” exhibit on your “must see and do” list!

The Iowa Food & Family Project will be building (yes, literally building!) connections between rural and urban Iowans about farming and food at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18, with a unique “Get Connected to Farming” exhibit located in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building.

The centerpiece of this year’s exhibit will feature the work of Sean Kenney, a LEGO® Certified Professional who uses LEGO pieces to create amazing sculptures.  Kenney’s build for the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) will be made completely of LEGO pieces showcasing the positive contributions farming makes to Iowa, the nation and the world.  It will feature a colorful representation of Iowa’s landscape, including rolling farm fields interspersed with farms and towns surrounded by a variety of food grown, made and sold in Iowa.

The daily LEGO brick building contest held at 2 p.m. promises to be fun and engaging.  It will feature a celebrity vs. youth as they compete to successfully build a farm-related sculpture using LEGO bricks.  Confirmed participants include Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich, WHO-TV’s Erin Kiernan, radio personalities Mark Dorenkamp, Kim Chase, Duane Murley and Greg Chance and the 2013 Iowa State Fair Queen.

Fairgoers can also participate in a variety of other activities. They can build their own creations using LEGO bricks, visit with farmers and test their knowledge about food and farming. They’ll also be invited to contribute to the Iowa Food Bank Association.

Another Iowa Food and Family Project is helping make the connection to the need for a wholesome food supply for everyone is through its partnership with Meals from the Heartland.  On Opening Day, August 8, it will partner with the Iowa Soybean Association and GROWMARK to package 250,000 servings of the soy-based meals.  To reach this goal, it will take 1,500 volunteers packaging in one-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stop by the exhibit opening day and lend a helping hand!

Food is certainly an important part of the Iowa State Fair.  And it just wouldn’t be state fair season without a tribute to food on a stick!  Pay tribute to Iowa’s dairy farmers and soybean producers with this simply recipe, provided by The Soyfoods Council, for Cheesecake on a Stick.

Cheesecake Pops



  • 6- 8 oz. packages cream cheese or 3 lbs. cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 ½ cups sugar (24 oz.)
  • 3 tablespoons (1 ½ oz.)  cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons  (1 ½ oz.) soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz.)  sour cream
  • 6 eggs



  1. Preheat oven to 275°.
  2. In a mix beat cream cheese and sugar until soft.  Add cornstarch and soymilk, vanilla extract, and sour creams.  Add eggs one at a time.
  3. Pour into a half sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed.
  4. Bake for 1 hour turning the pan half way through.
  5. Cool to room temperature.  Freeze overnight.
  6. Next day remove the cheese cake from the pan and portion 4x6.
  7. Ball up each cheesecake square and freeze again until needed.
  8. To serve, remove frozen cheesecake balls, skewer, and roll into seasoning if desired.  (i.e. cinnamon sugar, cocoa powder, graham cracker crumbs).