British Journal of Canadian Studies

Sustainable urban foragings in the Canadian metropolis: rummaging through Rita Wong's Forage and Nicholas Dickner's Nikolski

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2013), 26, (2), 191–212.

Abstract

Sustainable urban foragings Foraging and ‘dumpster diving’ are activities associated with a kind of environmentally conscious social activism engaged in by those wanting to live sustainably by maintaining a close connection with the local. The former is generally associated with nature, the latter with the urban environment. Wong's poetry collection, Forage, and Dickner's novel, Nikolski, both feature those who scavenge within their urban environment and suggest a connection between the two activities: to label dumpster diving ‘urban foraging’ is to reveal the dumpster diver's potential to disrupt the urban with ‘wild’ activity. This article uses Michel de Certeau's ‘Walking in the City’ to think through Wong and Dickner's figurations of the two Canadian metropolises, Vancouver and Montreal. These cities become places of subversive urban foraging, where rubbish, or garbage, becomes transformed through renewed visibility, just as the urban space is re-made - potentially - as a place of sustainable possibility.

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Toronto Vegetarian Society, 2008, ‘Foraging for Wild Berries in the City’ http://veg.ca/2008/06/26/foraging-for-wild-berries-in-the-city/ Google Scholar

Van Herk, Aritha, 1992, A Frozen Tongue (Sydney: Dangaroo Press). A Frozen Tongue Google Scholar

Wild Food School, 2011, ‘Wild Food Foraging Courses’ www.wildfoodschool.co.uk Google Scholar

Wong, Rita, 2007, Forage (Gibsons, BC: Nightwood Editions). Forage Google Scholar

Wong, Rita, 2009, ‘seeds, streams, see/pages’, Open Letter, 13.9 (Summer), 21-7. ‘seeds, streams, see/pages’ Open Letter 13 21 7 Google Scholar

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Author details

Bates, Catherine