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Rat Routes and Reasons to Gather: Culturally Diverse Culinary Journeys in Edmonton’s Wild and Natural Spaces

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Simple and humble as a handful of dirt, complex and unexpected as perfectly whipped eggs mixed with
    flowers and front-yard shrubbery, this is, above all, a storybook. It is an anthology of our everyday
    journeys in green and wild spaces in Edmonton. The recipes provided here are the culmination of a year
    (in some ways generations) of urban gardening and foraging in the City; of experiencing and reflecting
    upon the land that we inhabit and all of the places to which we trace our individual and collective
    belonging.
    In this book, we highlight some of the beautiful, healthful, and versatile foods that can be cultivated, as
    well as those that grow wild, right here in the City. We invite you to engage with our recipes-as-stories,
    offering a window into who and where we are, and to diverse perspectives on green city spaces where
    planning, projects, policies and histories do not always include the voices of women, mothers,
    newcomers, people of colour, and Indigenous people. In the making of this book, we viscerally
    connected to and reflected on local food systems, land and one another, in ways that are both deeply
    joyful and at times difficult. We wish to encourage, beyond these pages, the sharing of other stories and
    recipes that open our minds to the possibilities of belonging, as people who are both similar and
    different, to the land on which we live; our common ground.
    The metaphor of a handful of dirt is not fortuitous. We are inspired by the tale of the Muskrat,
    namesake of the Rat Creek/Kinnaird Ravine that offered us its abundance of berries in the heart of the
    City. The Muskrat (as is told in some versions of a Nehiyo and Anishinabe creation story), though not the
    strongest of swimmers, dove deep down in the water after a great flood to clutch in his tiny paw a
    whisper of soil. In so doing, Muskrat made it possible for the whole world to be created anew atop the
    shell of a great turtle. Just as this world is said to have begun with a humble gift in unlikely hands, we
    think that the stories and recipes of our year of urban farming and foraging will help for(a)ge a
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    preliminary path toward a re-imagined and more inclusive city that celebrates its unique culinary and
    natural identity, as well as its rich diversity of ingredients, experiences, knowledge systems and
    communities. Keep this book close to hand and heart as you traverse alleyways and river valley trails,
    streetcars, funiculars, and footbridges, ribbons, promenades and flats in the City. Scribble your own lists
    of meaningful plants, places, people and histories, and learn as much as you can about others who grew
    and harvested plants and produce, and continue to do so, here in Edmonton. Try out these recipes as a
    way to honour the existence and importance of the experiences and perspectives of others. These are
    stories meant to occupy space not only on a kitchen shelf, but in our shared and vibrant City.

  • Date created
    2021-01-01
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Research Material
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-77s7-6d03
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International