Wild Rice Nation

Spanning the watersheds surrounding the Great Lakes in the midwestern United States and southern Canada, Wild Rice Nation has strong extant traditions of ricing, fishing, and hunting. Although farming occurs at many sites within the region, orchard produc­tion, wild foraging, and meat procurement are its most distinctive traditions. The rituals associated with wild rice persist among most of the Anishnabe, Chippewa or Ojibwa, Cree, and Menominee peoples of the region, although cheap California-grown rice still threatens the economic well-being of authentic ricers.

Immigrant cultures, including the French, Scots, English, Germans, Belgians, Norwegians, and Swedes, have also had a profound impact on the region’s land use and culinary history. In the seventeenth century, the Métis culture unique to the region evolved among the descendants of marriages between indigenous peoples—woodland Cree, Ojibwa, Saulteaux, and Menominee—and Europeans—French Canadians, Scots, and English.

Their foodways have remained rela­tively stable, although a number of fish stocks have declined due to introduced invasive species. At least 32 traditional foods are now at risk in Wild Rice Nation.

– excerpted from Renewing America’s Food Traditions, edited by Gary Nabhan, with the permission of Chelsea Green Publishing (

Disappearing Foods

* Governor Wood Sweet Cherry
* Hane's Blackberry
* Huron Spring Bread Wheat
* Lyman's Large Summer Apples
* McFarlin Cranberry
* Oldmixon Free Peach
* Spanish White Sweet Potato
* Wisconsin Cheese Squash
* See Full List

Tips to preserve heritage and heirloom foods:
• Become a seed saver through the Seed Saver Exchange (
• Purchase heirloom produce and heritage livestock breeds (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy,
• If you think a food is endangered, nominate it to the Slow Ark of Taste,
• Support community agriculture, farmers markets and local food groups.
• Attend events that celebrate local foods.
Read more about Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT).

Disappearing Foods (Full List)
American Eels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River
Amish Musk Melon
Amsden Peach
Baby Rice Popcorn
Bear Island Chippewa Dent Corn
Beltsville Small White Turkeys
Boone County White Dent Corn
Chicago Black Fig
Ernest Strubbe's Dents Corn
Governor Wood Sweet Cherry
Hand-harvested Wild Rice (Manoomin)
Hane's Blackberry
Hardy Chicago Fig
Howling Mob Sweet Corn
Huron Spring Bread Wheat
Jap Squash
Java Chickens
Jefferson Plum
Kishwaukee Grape
Lyman's Large Summer Apples
McFarlin Cranberry
Mesabi Sour Cherry
Mesquakie Dent Corn
Northwestern Minnesota Moose
Nothstine Yellow Dent Corn
Ohio Blue Claredge Corn
Oldmixon Clearstone Peach
Oldmixon Free Peach
Posey County Blackberry
Shiawasee Beauty Apples
Silver King Corn
Spanish White Sweet Potato
Succulent Hawthorn
Suelter Grape
Tall Golden Self-blanching Celery & Celeriac
Wild Rice (Naturally Grown)
Wisconsin Black Popcorn
Wisconsin Cheese Squash
Wismer's Dessert Apples

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