Catching up on dumpster-diving news this weekend, I read this piece about "freegans" in the LATimes, Sept. 11. It's about New Yorkers who hit the best supermarket dumpster areas right after the garbage is put out--out back of D'Agostino's or Whole Foods they apparently find some real gems, enough to create lovely meals, stock the freezer and so on.
It seems to me the prime drawback other than possible intestinal distress and the odd rat turd, is that you cannot plan a meal. It's like shopping for clothes at Goodwill--you may go there hoping for a short black blazer but end up instead with a t-shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe in Prague.
But I digress---the freegan mission is explained this way at freegan.info:
"Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able. "
Or, as former Barnes & Noble bigwig Madeline Nelson puts it in the LA Times piece,
""We're doing something that is really socially unacceptable," Nelson said. "Not everyone is going to do it, but we hope it leads people to push their own limits and quit spending."
So now we have "eating locally," the Joan Gussow, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan, etc etc etc concept, we have No Impact Man, a New Yorker seeking ways to live off the grid, without plastic, t.paper, et al, and the family that stopped buying anything from China for an entire year--A Year Without "Made in China,": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy, AND the freegans, who are truly pushing the envelope of how to get one's food.
New York City throws away 50 million pounds of food a year--of that about 20 million pounds go to charitable groups. Much more about massive edibles tossed away is chronicled at Jonathan Bloom's blog, Wasted Food.
To delve further into the freegan world you can follow up on these tips from the LATimes article.
"In recent years, Internet sites like Meetup.com have posted announcements for trash tours in Seattle, Houston and Los Angeles and throughout England. Some teach people how to dumpster-dive for food, increasing the movement's popularity. At least 14,000 have taken the trash tour for groceries over the last two years in New York. Another site, Freegankitchen.com, offers lessons for cooking meals from food found in dumpsters, such as spaghetti squash salad."
The late John Niederhauser, PhD, our friend and founding board member of The Potato Museum, said in his acceptance speech for the World Food Prize that feeding the world's people was the most critical challenge facing those who want peace in the world.
Younger persons around the world seem to be staking out eco-appropriate positions, pursuing "off the grid" projects--(I hope they are not all just out to write catchy, trendy books...) but where are the peaceniks? OR-- Is this the 21st century path to peace?