Food Chain Staff

Dan Cahill-MathewsLead Facilitating Coordinator.

Dan Cahill-Mathews

My memory of loving food began when I was 2 years old and my Dad taught me how to scramble eggs while standing on a kitchen chair so I could reach the stove. My professional life with food systems began in an abrupt career change from a high school Spanish teacher to the rigors of line cooking in restaurants. It was a pursuit of passion. Fortunately, I found my way into the kitchens of restaurant leaders in the farm-to-table movement. During the summer months, a group of employees from the restaurant would form a “Crop Mob” and volunteer a day of work on a local farm. I volunteered every chance I got. From that moment forward, I recognized the importance of close relationships between local producers and consumers in a sustainable food system. I am excited to combine my experience as an educator with my passion for all things delicious while serving as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Finland Food Chain.

My wife and I moved to the Finland area drawn by the natural beauty of forests and rivers, abundance of outdoor recreation, and a required change of pace from our work schedules. We stay busy working careers in the mental health field, planning our mobile BBQ business (Baptism River Barbecue Co.), selling chips and salsas at the Finland Farmer’s 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, I am excited to immerse myself deeper into this vibrant, resilient, and welcoming community.

Cindy Hale Producer and Infrastructure Coordinator

Cindy Hale

I’m Cindy Hale of Clover Valley Farms (the vinegar lady) and am thrilled to have been hired to serve as the Producer and Infrastructure Coordinator for the Finland Food Chain project.

Our farm is just south of Two Harbors on the Homestead Rd, 4 miles in from Lake Superior. We have a highly diversified farm growing a variety of small fruits, tree fruits, herbs and a few veggies. We breed and use both sheep and rabbits in a rotational grazing system so they do most of the mowing and we get a diversity of high value products from them…sheep (wool, meat & hides) and rabbits (meat…I have hides in the freezer if anyone wants them!). We have been farming for 12 years and experimented with lots of things before finding the right balance for our farm and us. I look forward to sharing our experiences with you and hearing more about the innovative ways you all grow food & fiber too!

Laurie Kallinen – General Coordinator

Laurie Kallinen

I’m Laurie Kallinen, and I’m the General Coordinator for the Finland Food Chain project. I was born and raised in farm country in southern MN, and grew up on garden produce and visiting the family farm.

I have worked in administrative positions, managed cottage businesses, and worked in food service, most recently as Northern Lights Assistant Food & Beverage Manager. I’ll be using these skills to coordinate newsletter, assist with social media, and assist other coordinators with projects.

My interest in supporting local businesses and producers has steadily grown over the years, leading me to begin keeping my own small backyard flock of chickens 8 years ago.  I love connecting the dots; connecting people with the benefits of wild harvesting, locally grown produce, fresh eggs, eating seasonally, preserving the harvest…  I look forward to learning more and helping build relationships between local producers and local markets, and finding new ways to help our community grow in food security and sustainability. I’m honored to be a part of such a wonderful group as the FFC and look forward to working with them and our community to build a better future for our region!

Abby Rohweder – Wild Rice Project Coordinator

Abby Rohweder

My name is Abby Rohweder and I am very excited to be the new Wild Rice Project Coordinator with Finland Food Chain!

I am a 2021 Graduate of the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities with a B.S. in Food Systems, taking my love for food and where it comes from to a whole new level. Growing up in Proctor, MN, I spent a majority of my time outdoors on the Superior Hiking Trail, fishing one of the many lakes and rivers, cross-country skiing and adventuring in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. I am a proud member of the Minnesota Air National Guard as well as a climate activist working with the Eating City International Platform to bring about change starting at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.  I am also grateful to be a part of the Land Access Alliance with the NE Regional Sustainable Development Partnership working to support wild food gathering and create access to land for emerging farmers. 

In my spare time, you can find me out on the hiking trails or biking along the North Shore!

Katee Ristuccia – Finland Farmers Market Coordinator

Katee Ristuccia

Hey y’all my name is Katee Ristuccia, and I’m so excited to be a helping hand in coordinating the Finland Farmers Market season this year! I moved to the area a few years back and have spent the last 3 summers working on building a little cabin to call home. 

I am continually blown away with gratitude for home to be here in this community and in this beautiful wilderness.  I spent about 13 years traveling around the world engaging in hundreds of communities and I’ve never found a place quite like this here. This area is truly something special that I hold very dearly in my heart.  Now that my major building projects have been mostly completed, I am very enthusiastic to be spending more of my time engaging with the people and land that surrounds me!

I am hoping to be able to spice things up this year and would love to help coordinate more educational demonstrations/live music the farmers market! Sooooo that being said: please feel free to contact me regarding any questions/concerns/ideas that you may have for this years season! Look forward to meeting folks and sharing good food!!!