The diversity of methods and equipment used by wild rice harvesters and processors along with personal and cultural perspectives, is reflected in our learning modules. Modules include:
a) benefits of wild ricing on individual and community health and economics
b) the natural history and ecology of wild rice
c) technical skills for harvesting and processing wild rice
d) historic and modern ways of cooking and building meals around wild rice.
Based on traditional transfer of wild rice skills & knowledge, a group of expert mentors will provide firsthand experience as personal guides for young producers to learn wild rice harvesting & homestead-scale processing skills. For those who wish to develop their skill-set further, the apprenticeship program will give aspiring processors a deeper hands-on experience around the technical skills of processing wild rice as a business. Such work is of vital importance in the face of the challenges posed by climate change, environmental degradation and the current global pandemic. At a time of increased awareness around sustaining local food systems for food security and resilient local economic systems, the loss of wild ricing knowledge and processing capability must be avoided.
To help our project team educate communities on the standing issues, we have partnered and consulted with members of Grand Portage Anishinaabe, Fond Du Lac Anishinaabe, 1854 Treaty Authority, University of Minnesota – Duluth and more.