Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gourmet Garbage with a Cause

Grocers like Whole foods, and Dean and Deluca throw away edible produce on a routine basis. And people like you and me are grocery shopping from their trash bins to make a stand.

Imagine this… You’re at a great dinner party; I mean the works - smoky tomato & orange pepper soup, crisp fried zucchini slices, and potato pancakes topped with sautéed mushrooms and fresh herbs. You are so impressed with the succulent spread, eclectic music, and rousing conversation about social issues, that you have to find out how this came together. It is the perfect soiree, and the host tells you it’s compliments of our local grocery store. To show you more, she invites you to Whole Foods to get free groceries and of course you take the invite. Recycled bags in-hand you meet at the store, ready to stock up. However, she proceeds past the main entrance and heads toward back where the dumpsters are full of food, and
begins to dig in… Ah ha! Now, the dinner party starts to make sense. The conversation about social issues, the vegan dishes, the garbage shopping - she’s a “freegan”!

“Freeganism” (combining words free and vegan) is a movement that started in the mid 1990’s. It was preceded by veganism, a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Freegans take it one-step further to also avoid conventional economic practices to stand up against materialism, conformity, profligacy and moral apathy. Freegans do not shop at grocery stores, or any large retailers. The belief is that corporations practice animal testing, destroy land, and conduct trade with countries that are responsible for human rights violations to produce their products. In freeganism, to purchase from these corporations is to support these injustices. So instead, they “dumpster dive” to show that we can live and eat well without wasting our resources or supporting capitalism. Freegans are not homeless or poor; they choose this lifestyle to make a political statement, and to reduce useable waste, as the food is unspoiled, and edible. And it’s not just groceries... Freegans avoid driving, and purchasing clothes, furniture, and other basic necessities.

You may wonder how freegans survive without spending money? They share in carpools, negotiate trades, dumpster dive, and utilize websites like Craigslist which has a “free goods” section. Through these methods they are able to live comfortably and capitalist-free. As the world becomes more ethically aware, making a stand becomes part of life. Conscious citizens recycle, donate to charities, and attend a rally or two, but eating garbage? Now, you begin to think of how you ate a few extra of those delectable zucchini slices at the dinner party, compliments of the Whole Food’s trash bins. As your friend continues to dumpster dive, finding bright lemons, organic cleaners, and packaged goods along the way, you give it some thought, take a deep breath and…what would you do?

See Video -
Written By Brandon Johnson


Anonymous said...

As your friend continues to dumpster dive and find bright lemons, organic cleaners, and packaged goods, you give it some thought, take a deep breath and......

Slap the heck out of them!!! No seriously, I understand that that may be THEIR way of living however, it is not my lifestyle. I love going to the grocery store and picking out my own food by walking the aisles, selecting my items of choice and paying for it, not selecting the finest alley and choosing from a perfect dumpster to have my evening meal. I am not in any way looking down on freegans for the way they choose to live their life, however I will not eat anyone else's leftovers, especially leftovers taken from garbage cans. This sista respectfully takes a breath, hugs her friend and respectfully heads to the nearest restaurant to order a medium- steak with mash potatoes and a glass of White Zinfandel.


Mad Mom said...

Hey all....early 2008 alumni here. Just heard about this site from the FCI emails I get. Look forward to reading it often. Anyway, about the dumpster diving thing.....part of the whole cooking process I enjoy is shopping for and carefully selecting the items I need for my dishes. Not to mention the idea of eating from the trash is not very appealing. But thats just my opinion. Oh and as for the steak medium with mashed potato?? make it a cabernet and im with ya! haha.

G Pape said...

sounds like me trying to scrape together family meal for the hotel i work at tommarrow morning...... intresting article.