Long Distance: Cultivate Festival lands in Loring Park

andrew zimmern.jpg
Andrew Zimmern, host of "Bizarre Foods America", will be one of several guest chefs at Cultivate Minneapolis held Saturday in Loring Park.

Chipotle Mexican Grillis aiming to cultivate more than just your appetite.

To do so, the popular fast food Mexican restaurant chain is sponsoring Minneapolis's first-ever Cultivate Festivalon Saturday in Loring Park.

It's called "Cultivate" for a reason.

"It really comes from the notion that we can cultivate a better world through the operation of our restaurants," said Chipolte's Communications Director Chris Arnold.

The festival started in Chicago in 2011, but Arnold said they quickly realized they could do three nationwide. Each one draws in anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 visitors.


Minneapolis was chosen this year, along with San Francisco and Dallas, because the Chipolte chain is popular here, he said. It also has an up-and-coming food and music scene, which is important because the festival relies on drawing in local artists to be successful.

"It's also right there in the heart of the Midwestern Ag belt," Arnold said.

That underscores the festival's emphasis on fresh, local, and responsibly-grown foods.

But, the table will be set for more than just eating.

For starters, a series of live bands are booked to keep the large crowd entertained, and it's no small-time lineup: Grouplove, Portugal. The Man, Vintage Trouble, and The Mowgli's, among others, are all set to play.

But, wait, there's more.

A huge tent filled with regional artisanal foods will be on offer, as well as short films and exhibits meant to both educate and entertain on topics such as genetically modified organisms in the food supply, the difference between fresh versus processed foods, responsible food production from the farm versus the factory, and some handy schooling in how to add homemade guacamole to your arsenal of culinary tricks.

There's even a tasting hall, with craft brews and classy wine to cleanse your palate.


Children are by no means left out, with kid-and-family-friendly activities slated throughout the day in the festival's Kids' Zone.

And, what would a Cultivate Festival be without locally and nationally-famous chefs on hand to offer sizzling demonstrations? Not much. So, Cultivate has booked the likes of Andrew Zimmern, Amanda Freitag, and Jack Reibel.

It's a lot to take in, so come with an empty belly and an open mind.

"What we've seen, really in every case, is people will say they came for one of the bands, or one or two of the chefs, but they end up doing everything the festival has to offer," Arnold said.

Bon appétit.

The music lineup at Cultivate Minneapolis includes Mowglie's, a California based rock/indie band.

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