Wild Rice House Lead Processor
Team Member/ Ricer
Blake Hawbaker is the Wild Rice Project’s Lead Processor. He grew up in the East Suburbs of the Twin Cities before he moved to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Blake spent a lot of time harvesting and hand-processing wild rice with friends and through those experiences, began shadowing large-scale processors in the Arrowhead Region. He enjoys all aspects of foraging, farming and gathering, and sees his processing role as a way to teach others how Minnesota staple foods like Wild Rice are brought from Lake to Table. In the off-season, Blake builds Ice Castles professionally around North America.
Kaare Melby (Finnskogen Farm), co-lead on small grain processing with wild rice equipment is a 2nd generation wild rice harvester and farmer. He lives near Finland, MN, where he has been working to expand access to local foods. He helped organize the Finland Farmers Market, access to local sources of livestock feed through the Finland Cooperative and coordinated consumers and local producers to facilitate increased direct sales.
Program Lead with Friends of the Finland Community
Finland Food Chain Lead Facilitating Coordinator
Team Member/ Ricing Mentor
Honor is the Program Lead with Friends of the Finland Community, helping the Food Chain team have what they need in order to function well as one of Friends of Finland’s programs. Her overall work with Friends of Finland attempts to bridge divides and expand access to essential community needs from access to local foods to youth mentorship and local business incubation. She has lived in Northeastern Minnesota for most of her life. She has a BA in Anthropology from Macalester College and was a 2012 Bush Fellow. Her past careers include bartender, housekeeper, gardener, campground manager, and cook. She is also currently a community organizer, wildharvester, and homesteader.
Dan and his wife moved to the Finland area drawn by the natural beauty of the forests and rivers, abundance of outdoor recreations, and a required change of pace from their work schedules. They stay busy working careers in the mental health field, planning their mobile BBQ business (Baptism River Barbecue Co.), selling chips and salsas at the Finland Farmers’ Market, and learning new skills to grow and harvest food, thanks to resources from the Finland Food Chain. As a relatively new transplant to the Finland community, he is excited to immerse himself deeper into the vibrant, resilient and welcoming community.
Sherry Rovig has been an avid ricer for over 25 years. She lives on a homestead in Clover Valley where she focuses on environmental stewardship and community involvement. She is a volunteer firefighter and medical responder, volunteer master naturalist, and has been mentoring new ricers for many seasons. She is happy to share her passion for organically-grown and wild foods with the growers and gatherers in the Arrowhead Region.