Cultivate Festival Returns With More Food, Music and Ideas

The golden child of Mexican fast food is expecting larger crowds, bigger appetites and a heftier serving of sustainable food experiences at this year’s Cultivate Festival, happening August 22 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Loring Park.

Chipotle’s food, music and idea festival drew in over 20,000 people last year—an impressive turnout for their inaugural Minneapolis event, considering the strict competition of the Minnesota State Fair. This year, Cultivate has its own weekend to shine with a star-studded lineup of chefs, musical acts and the core of it all: the food. One of the most tantalizing prospects of all (besides exclusive Chipotle menu items) is the fact that admission is absolutely free.

“It’s really important to us to have it be a free event,” said Chipotle’s National Events Manager Scott Robinson. “You get a broader audience then, and … people come for all different reasons. We really want to make Cultivate inclusive and approachable for everyone.”



Amanda Frietag of Food Network’s Chopped demonstrated at last year’s Cultivate Festival in Minneapolis.

First and foremost, Cultivate is a food festival—and it shows.

• Six high-profile chefs will make an appearance, including Andrew Zimmern of the Bizarre Foods franchise, Richard Blais of Top Chef All Stars and local celebs Gavin Kaysen (Spoon and Stable), Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson (Brut), and Jim Christiansen (Heyday).
Throughout the day, their free demos will focus on the societal impact of responsibly raised, sustainable foods—a direct homage to Chipotle’s own mission.

• Chipotle created a special menu for the festival, complete with Pork Belly or Barbacoa Gorditas, Grilled Chicken or Sofritas Tacos, and Chorizo Tostada. The franchise’s Asian concept that isn’t yet available in the Midwest market, ShopHouse Southeast Asian, will also be available for purchase.

• The Artisans’ Hall will be packed with area vendors like Patisserie 46, Groveland Confections, Dunn Bros Coffee and more.

• The Tasting Hall will house more than 50 beers from a dozen or so breweries. Pick a up a pint for $6 or a 4-ounce pour for only $2. 
Surly Brewing Co. is also turning out for the occasion where they’ll premiere an exclusive “Cultivate Farmhouse Ale,” which was brewed with all-local malt, barley and a whopping 600 pounds of Minnesota rhubarb.



Visit four of the five experience stations, one of which focuses on GMOs, and Chipotle will give you a free burrito.

Sparking conversation about responsibility and sustainability is the crux of Cultivate’s goal.

• Five educational “experiences” will be scattered throughout the festival including Fresh vs. Processed, Factory vs. Farm, The Cinema, GMO Experience and Guac From Scratch. Visit four of the five, and Chipotle will bless you with a free burrito. Plus, you’ll be gaining some serious knowledge.

 • Don’t forget that Cultivate is family friendly and head to the Kids’ Zone where the young ones can paint a T-shirt, learn to garden and roll around in a giant pit of organic cotton fluff.



Portugal. The Man. performed at last year’s Cultivate Festival in Minneapolis.

Last but certainly not least, the musical line-up is nothing to yawn at.

• National acts—some of which have a few Cultivate Festivals under their belts—include Walk the Moon, X Ambassadors, Atlas Genius, Anderson East and local band Hippo Campus.


So eat, learn and be merry this Saturday, August 22 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Loring Park.

For a complete schedule and more information on the 2015 Cultivate Festival, visit