With a theme, “Feeding the Planet,” the 2015 World’s Fair in Milan has attracted millions to Italy this year by showcasing design innovation and asking the question, “How will we meet the growing food demands of the planet?”

The Expo Milano is a small city unto itself, where 145 nations have erected stunning pavilions and plazas. Some nations are wowing the crowds with architecture, while others are promoting traditional agricultural products touted as ideal for feeding the population.

France pavilion by Jean-Pierre Dalbera, CC (and Iranian pavilion on front page)

Like small-town produce markets, vendors display nutritious, easy to grow quinoa from Bolivia or rice from Cambodia. Visitors to the Italian Copagri pavilion can follow tomatoes and pasta on their journey from soil to tabletop.quinoa-farmer-Bolivia-Food_and_Agriculture_Organization

Quinoa Boom Benefits Bolivian Farmers

Down a walkway of reclaimed boardwalk planks from Coney Island, visitors to the United States pavilion will marvel at a football-field sized vertical garden. Combining industrial ingenuity with agricultural heft, the theme here demonstrates ways to grow more food on less acreage.

USA Pavilion by Michael Wahl, CC
USA Pavilion by Michael Wahl, CC

The US pavilion also features an array of food trucks – the hottest trend in American cuisine – serving everything from traditional barbecue to Korean tacos.

Anyone who has tasted meals from a modern food truck has walked away assured that quality can survive even in tight spaces, and creativity is the best answer to the challenge of feeding an increasing number of mouths in crowded urban environments.

And, of course, what would an Italian food expo be if it didn’t feature Margherita pizza? This one broke the Guinness World Record for being almost 500 meters longer than the previous record holder for World’s Longest Pizza.

In mid-June, 80 volunteers worked for 12 hours in a long line at the Expo to construct the 1.5 kilometer (nearly 5000-foot long) masterpiece using 150 liters of Italian olive oil.


Thousands of lucky visitors to the global expo got a free taste of the pie, which produced 35,000 slices.

The award-winning pizza’s producers generously set aside 300 meters of the pie to bring to the welcome centers that had been established for refugees in Milan.

The expo runs through October 31.

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