2023 Season in Photos

2023 Season in Photos

It was a very exciting year for the Wild Rice Project, for the Finland Wild Rice House (processor,) and not to mention..Wild Rice harvesters! Here is a summary and some of our favorite photos from the season!

In the Wild Rice Project’s mentorship program this year, 5 new mentors and 15 new mentees participated and at least 14 mentees from previous years got out to rice on their own!

Dan Cahill-Matthews (coordinator with the Finland Food Chain) and "Woofer" Clare get out to rice for the first time with Charlotte and Phil (from Northshore Agroecology Center)
The Wild Rice Project was able to make a connection even as far away as the St. Cloud area, where long time ricer Linda, was able to take June out for her first time.
Sunny and Sparrow were happy to take home rice that they were able to help process themselves at the Wild Rice House.
Herb has been a mentor with the program for the last three years.
Rachel (Wolf Ridge) was mentored by Slim.
Jana out on her first harvest with her teacher, Mark
Dan travelled back to MN this fall to learn from friends how to harvest wild rice.
Colby and Anna get into some shallows, a common problem in a drought year
Bee celebrates a good haul in her third year of ricing since participating in the 2021 mentorship program
Slim and Meghan have both worked on the coordinating end of the Wild Rice Project for the last two years. Last year they also participated as harvesting mentees in the program, and this year they have been learning how to run the machines at the processor.
Meghan working from her computer at a public canoe landing before the legal ricing hour begins.
Slim practices on the cleaning machine called the "gravity table"
Blake and Slim examine grains from the parcher to test for doneness

Harvesters across most of the area finally enjoyed a plentiful crop for the first time in several years. As a result, the Finland Wild Rice House saw a record amount of rice come through its doors this season, with the final tally coming in at around 15,000 pounds of green rice processed, and 8,700 lbs finished!  Also at the processor: 4 new apprentices were trained, and several new connections were made with aspiring DIY and home processors, who we hope to collaborate and brainstorm with more in the future. 

The Finland Wild Rice House
Wild Rice turning over a fire in the small parcher
Sweeping the roasted rice out of the parcher
There were many opportunities for learning at the processor this year. These new ricers were able to take part in processing their own batches.
Kaare processes a crop of wheat and rye with the Wild Rice House's fanning mill while the kids play outside the shop
Slim teaches the Jacobs' kids from Silver Bay how to carve knocking sticks. Both of their parents participated in the mentorship and apprenticeship programs.

The Wild Rice Project focused a lot of energy this year on educational and community events as well. 

One of the highlights was the Pushpole and “knocker” making class week at the Northshore Agroecology Center Barn.  The Wild Rice Project was honored to be the first to make use of this space for a community class since its remodel.

Instructor, Ryan Bajan, came down from Ely/Bois Forte and taught a full-day official class to 13 students.  Slim continued to instruct and guide students and community members through the steps to finishing their pieces over the next week.

In addition to these workshops, the Wild Rice Project hosted a Season Opener Community Feast followed by an insightful roundtable skillshare; and earlier in the spring, two important webinars.  Recordings of these and other past topics can be found on the “Learn” tab, or by clicking below;

At the end of the season, the Finland Wild Rice House gave a hands-on tour to a group of Naturalists from the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in exchange for their much appreciated help in stacking wood for next year and cleaning/closing-up shop for the season. 

Lastly, the Wild Rice Project had a table at the Booya Harvest Festival in October, both to showcase the achievements of the program over the years AND to raise funds for future dreams and endevours (and maintenance!) at the processor.  Below are photos of the display from that day, and the sentiments that it revealed.

"For the past three years, the Wild Rice Project has been operating under a MDA Sustainable Agriculture grant, with the goal of providing educational training, facilitating mentorship, and growing a sense of responsibility to and respect for Manoomin/Psin/Wild Rice. The project has been an incredible sucess thanks to countless community elders, teachers, leaders, organizers, laborers, and open minds eager to learn."
"The goal of this display is to honor the past, and start planning for the future. For the next month, we will be fundraising for the Finland Wild Rice House, our community's non-profit processor. This moey will be raised through a prize raffle, merch sales, and donations. We would like to give something back in return by extending our end-of-season rice to ricers in the commmunity who can no longer harvest due to age or disability."
"The next version of this project is yet unwritten, but there are plenty of new concepts and ideas already being built on. Most of these involve the website Finlandwildrice.com and the Processing Facility, both of which will remain after the wild rice "project" (as we have known it) is over. We hope for the website to grow as an informational resource, and for the processor to expand its impact in our community, and serve as a model for others."

This fundraising effort will continue through the fall and winter as we reflect and plan for the next season at the processor and how it will blend into the next chapter for the Finland Wild Rice Project.

Click Below to donate on Givemn.org

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