Why Minnesota is doing wild rice right
White Earth, Minn.
Native Harvest is an initiative of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, an organization (founded by Native American activist Winona LaDuke) that’s working to reclaim Anishinaabeg lands in Minnesota. This program gives residents of the White Earth Reservation an opportunity to sell harvested and foraged native crops, such as wild rice and chokecherries.
Why we chose these native grains:
Preserve indigenous crops and bring income into the community? Sounds like a win-win to us. Native Harvest’s harvesters and foragers are careful that wild crops don’t get overpicked, so that indigenous species of plants remain alive and well. Additionally, the White Earth Land Recovery Project hosts multiple seed libraries, so that old, native crops can live anew.
On the terroir of rice:
Shimek, WELRP’s executive director, points out that each native rice species has its own charm. For example: “Rice from Mole Lake, Wis., has its own texture and its own flavor and its own presence in the palate,” says Shimek. “Rice from other reservations here in Minnesota, same thing. We think ours is unique — and the best.”