Slow Food Volunteers Needed: American Cheese Society Conference July 27 – 30 in Des Moines

American_Cheese_Society_2016-Conf-LogoThe cheesemongers are coming! The cheesemongers are coming!

Local foodies are in for a real treat this summer: the American Cheese Society (ACS) is having its annual conference and competition here in Des Moines, July 27 – 30, 2016.

1,200 cheese and specialty food professionals are heading to the Iowa Events Center for four days of, well, cheese: cheesemaking, cheese-selling, a cheese crawl of regional producers, cheese trivia night (we kid you not!), and cheese tasting. Lectures and workshops and vendors filling exhibit halls, and, yes, a mighty Festival of Cheese on the last night of the event.

So, what does this have to do with you? Well, Slow Food Des Moines and local cheesemonger (and Slow Food members) The Cheese Shop are helping to recruit local volunteers to help with the event.

Can you volunteer?

If you are interested, here are two particular ways you can help Slow Food Des Moines, The Cheese Shop, and the American Cheese Society:

One: Help with the ACS Conference. Conference organizers need help, pretty much around the clock, from July 22 (five days before the event begins – there is a lot of set-up involved!) through July 30. Shifts vary in length. Volunteers must be 18 or older.*

The ACS conference site says: “All volunteers receive an official volunteer t-shirt and a complimentary ticket to the Festival of Cheese on Saturday, July 30 (where more than 1,600 cheeses will be available for sampling, alongside craft beer, wine, and specialty foods from around the country). Additional tickets for family or friends to attend the Festival of Cheese can be purchased online.”

Sign up for a volunteer shift at the ACS Conference website.

Just so we’re on the same page: that these ACS conference volunteer shifts are “real” work that may consist of lifting and carrying and cutting and whatnot (not just tasting and talking).

Two: Help with The Cheese Shop / Slow Food Des Moines Block Party! We’re helping to host a “street party” Wednesday, July 27, during the American Cheese Society Conference.  It will be quite the shindig: barbecue, beer from the vaunted Jester King brewery, tasty morsels from The Cheese Shop, and nearly a dozen other vendor booths / tents on the site from Noon – 4 pm.

We need volunteer help with setting up the tables and tents beforehand, assisting vendors and guests during the party, and wrapping things up as the party winds down.

July 27 Block Party volunteer shifts are:

  • 9:30 am – Noon setup crew (need 2 folks)
  • 11 am – 2:30 pm (need 2 more folks)
  • Noon – after 4 pm (need 4 people)

We’re calling it volunteer work, but it’s also going to involve a fun group of people and some really amazing food.

Sign-up for the Slow Food Des Moines / TCS Block Party is first come, first served.  Let us know when and how you’d like to pitch in by emailing us at


*[Hint: CJ Bienert of The Cheese Shop says that what he considers the most desirable volunteer slots are on July 22, when help is needed with the producers’ shipments of cheese as they arrive in Des Moines. The 9:30 am – 3:30 pm volunteer shift that day includes lunch; the 3 – 9 pm shift includes dinner. Volunteers get to handle, sort, and categorize the cheeses. Does this sound like heaven-on-earth to you, too?]

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