Not all the crops harvested this fall were grown by me. Today I finished wild rice that I had collected several weeks ago: knocking the rice kernels into the bottom of a canoe while my partner poled the canoe through the tall grass. This was the first time I've been able to parch and winnow my own rice, completing the whole process. It boggles my mind that I can spend a day in a canoe on a lake, and another day hanging out with friends by a wood fire and end up with my year's supply of rice. I would have to spend a great deal more work than that to grow other types of my own grain! Today, wild rice is under threat from a variety of sources: genetic contamination from cultivated wild rice, and water pollution. Even slight increases in sulfur in the water (from industrial processes like mining) will negatively impact the rice beds. Yet another reason -- cultural, economic, and ecological -- to protect the Lake Superior watershed I call home.
Dr. Clare Hintz has a B.S. Degree in Biology and Writing, a M.S. in Sustainable Systems with an emphasis in Agroecology, and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education with a focus on Regenerative Agriculture. She currently teaches permaculture design and regenerative agriculture from her production permaculture farm in northern Wisconsin. She is the editor in chief of the Journal of Sustainability Education. In her spare time she knits, reads feminist science fiction and cooks really good food for friends.