Posted in Video Review

From Walnut Grove to Growing Walnuts: two complementary psychogeographies.

Walnut Grove lies in the Township of Langley, British Columbia, between the United States border and the Fraser River.

Like many communities in Southern Canada, the roads follow a grid pattern: streets run North/South and the avenues run East/West. On arrival, our first task  was to re-learn how to navigate this dense man-made, built landscape.

In Nova Scotia, we are looking to grow walnuts on our property in Paradise, Annapolis County. There, the challenge is to fully understand the fine mosaic of plant habitats, related to slope, aspect, soil and climate conditions. The book by Hart surfaced the concept of forest gardening.

Within the context of visiting grandchildren, we had been given the opportunity to explore a man-made, urban landscape and to compare it to our knowledge of a rural landscape.

9780394521046-usWhile in BC, and being in the Fraser Valley, I took the opportunity to check out the current work of Hugh Brody. Brody is the Canada Research Chair in Anthropology at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford. He is likely best known to Geographers for his book Maps and Dreams, published in 1981. From his web site, I noticed that he had recently given a talk at the Audain Gallery, Simon Fraser University. Fortunately, his talk is available as a video online. The subject was the indigenous knowledge of the land by the Dunne-Za in North East British Columbia, The one hour video talks, in terms, of invisibility, dreams, art, making the invisible visible, cultural mapping, and the importance of knowledge of the land in a traditional hunter/gatherer society. His original field work was completed in the late ’70’s.

The end result was, on returning home, to pull from the bookcase, my copy of The Other Side of Eden, written in 2000.

I highly recommend watching the video. Hopefully, your Internet service is not too slow. In Canada, not only can we enjoy the many different landscapes, we have the opportunity to appreciate a wide range of traditional knowledge of the land, described, in this case by anthropologist/writer/film maker, Hugh Brody.

Thanks again, to Edward Wedler for his help with the graphics and feedback on the earlier draft


Hugh Brody.  1981. Maps and Dreams.; Indians and the British Columbia Frontier. Douglas and McIntyre.

Hugh Brody. 2000. The Other Side of Eden. Hunters, Farmers and the Shaping of the World. Douglas and McIntyre.

Robert A. de J. Hart. 1996. Forest Gardening. Chelsea Green Publishers.

Malachy Tallack. 2016. Sixty Degrees North. Around the World in Search of Home. Pegasus Books, New York. Book Review describes it as one of new genre of travel writers on psychogeography.

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