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September 24, 2007



The fact of saving money by just dumpster diving is a great idea; I think the Freegan’s are on to something. But when it comes to it, the Freegan’s movement is so small compared to the rest of the USA it won’t produce a big enough change to see results. In New York there is about 50 million pounds of food thrown out each year and only 20 million pounds of that is given to charities. If New York is throwing that much out imagine the USA as a whole. The thought of eating something that has been thrown away was quite disgusting to think about but if done some money can be saved. Freeganism is basically the boycott of an economic system that doesn’t follow ethical consideration. In the article “Out of the Kitchen, onto the couch” the author quoted Julia child “The only way you learn to flip things is just to flip them”. This quote expresses that if you don’t know how to do something you should find a way and try to do it. When following the ways of Freeganism there will be lots of money saved but on a large scale it wouldn’t have such a big effect.

Jade McGee

Even though it seems unethical for some people in society, I believe that by dumpster diving for food Freegans are doing the right thing. Although the idea might be very drastic it is doing no harm and it’s a respectful way to for the Freegans to decline the economic system. As Pollan said in his article Food Police, “When food is abundant and cheap, people will eat more…” Freegans dumpster dive in dumpsters local to them and come out with enough food to prepare a meal for dinner and to even stock their freezers all absolutely free. However, by “avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another,” isn’t going to solve the issues that are happening. By simply dumpster diving nothing is getting accomplished and millions of pounds of food are still being thrown out each year. Freegans are doing the right thing by sticking up for what they think is right, however more drastic measures need to be taken so that the problem actually gets solved instead of still being thrown under the rug.


I believe that Michael Pollan and everyone else would believe that they are going in the correct way about stopping people from wasting food from fast food markets. I feel that if people are going to throw away their perfectly good food it is free food. I do not believe this is necessarily the best thing for our economy but if the super markets and restaurants are willing to ditch their extra food the freegans should be able to take it. In my opinion they should start buying that restaurants food because if enough people start taking just the free food they restaurant would be more likely to lose its business and close. In Pollan’s article “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the couch” he says “food networks express cooking as easier than it is” so people try it at home and it doesn’t go as smoothly as they planned so they throw it away and there is nothing wrong with it. In her article “The Food Police,” Julie Guthman disagrees with the account in Pollan’s book “An Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” saying he “makes no suggestion that we ought to alter the structure of the food system.” When the freegans take the free food they get rid of they are not altering the structure of the “food system” they are just not allowing it to make its business. The main problem is that the food these days are not prepared the way they used to be. Food comes processed and it is not made fresh like it used to be. The way we affect this cause is by voicing our thoughts and trying to change the food that we get right from the start. In the article “The Food Police” Julie Guthman talks about “people are drawn to junk food” so I believe that if we limit the junk food and start making tasteful healthy foods we can have a big push into not wasting as much food as we do.

Quang CHu

I believe that freeganism is a resourceful way of obtaining food. The food market is throwing million pounds of food every year, “New York City throws away 50 million pounds a year and 20 million goes to charity,” and it is ridiculous because there are countries that are in deep poverty with millions of children dying from malnutrition each year. If the food that are being thrown away and are packed in a sanitary way before being dump in the garbage can, I do not see any reason not to eat it. Freeganism is a, “Total boycott of an economic system […].” For what it is worth it may be a very beneficial way of eating while reducing spending and cost of eating and it is still being locally consume. Michael Pollan is all about local farming and eating locally. It is an adventurous idea, but it works.


By targeting a food industry that they see as wasteful and problematic, freegans, like Michael Pollan, are expressing their frustration in the right direction. However, “avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another” is not our only option as consumers. Freegans may be putting food waste to use, but they are doing nothing to change the current industry. Their time would be better spent supporting companies that embody their ideas of what the food industry should look like. Author Julie Guthman, in her article “The Food Police,” criticizes Michael Pollan’s book “An Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” saying that Pollan “makes no suggestion that we ought to alter the structure of the food system.” The freegan movement makes this same mistake, ignoring the effort to make a practical change to industry policy by keeping themselves completely off the grid. Using food waste is good, but it is not as good as eliminating the root cause of the wastefulness. This change can only be brought about by supporting the appropriate companies, and by failing to do this, freegans are perpetuating the problem.


And if you fee this strongly about shopping at large grocery stores then go to small privetly owned stores, your local butcher, and other such places i no that they would love to have your business


I dont really see how this is effective at all. If the grocery store really feel that your going to impact there sales then theyll just destroy the food then throw it away. I feel like your spending to much time playing in garbage when you could be working for money to buy this food.


The fact that individuals are dumpster diving is, at first glance, a bit odd, as I can’t help but think of the numerous sanitary issues that must come with the territory. Yet, at the same time, I find it intriguing that these citizens have deduced such a creative method to cut spending and reduce waste. In a society that disposes of so much, it’s actually a little inspiring to see individuals taking matters into their own hands, while making a big statement of anti-materialism that draws some attention. I truly don’t believe there should be any shame in doing something that’s a little out there if it bears no ill will or adverse effects, especially if it’s helping the environment in the process. Even though it can’t be denied that, as Madeline Nelson stated, it’s socially unacceptable and is bound to foster a fair amount of criticism, more power to them if they’re foraging from whole stores’ waste. They’re making healthier choices, just as many food critics such as Michael Pollan would be proud to see, as indicated by his article “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch.” The store won’t be missing what it tossed in the trash; these people are simply using their environment to their advantage. Whatever floats your boat, I always say—I’m not one to judge if no harm is being done.

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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.

Judy Lee

Hey guys!

My name is Judy Lee and I am a Casting Associate for a new docu-series called “Untitled Eating for Free Project”. I found your article while researching Freegansim and it looks fantastic! Would you be interested in speaking with me? We'd love to reach those in your audience who love finding free food in creative ways. Groups such as yours have been extremely helpful in the past. It's a great chance to show the community that the big players do care. We are casting nationwide and would LOVE to get in contact with people and see their different techniques on eating for free. Below is our written verbiage about our casting call. Please let us know what you think!


Judy Lee
Casting Associate
Untitled Eating for Free Project

All-new Docu-Reality Series Seeking
People who eat for FREE!

Do you get a thrill out of spending little to no money on food?
Do you dedicate your life to scoring meals in clever ways?

Have you perfected the art of dumpster diving, coupon clipping to an obsessive degree, or bartering your way to a full stomach?

Do you crash events, meetings and open houses
just for the free feast?

This all-new series for a major cable network will explore the lives of people who have mastered the art of eating for free. We will follow individuals who dedicate their lives to acquiring food in crafty ways and revel in the thrill of their success.

If you are a resourceful renegade who has forged a way of living that enables you to eat practically for free, whatever your reason/strategy may be,
We want to meet you!

To be considered, please send us your name and contact info, along with a brief bio explaining your specific situation and approach to eating for free. Make sure to include a recent photo of yourself and send email to: castingcookie@gmail.com

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You are just brilliant, do you know this?


looking for where freegans meet in baltimore, maryland.---tx


looking for where freegans meet in baltimore area----tx

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A friend has just made a movie called 'Dive' about dumpster-diving in Pasadena. Check it out at www.divethefilm.com


I want to join a Pasadena freeganism group who meet at Whole Foods on Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena, CA or Trader Joes on Rosemead Blvd. in north San Gabriel or Pasadena by Pet Co. I live in Rosemead. My e-mail address is deby@dslextreme.com. I heard about freeganism on AM640 Coast to Coast after 11pm. Thanks for your help.


So Nicolette, where are you actually doing this?


To all of you who are a little skeptical, but interested, I suggest simply trying it out. The first diving trip someone takes or the first entirely freegan meal someone eats tends to be the turning point for a lot of people.

I would certainly say that people who choose to get all of their food from dumpsters are "choosing poverty." Classically, trash rooting is associated with such, but I feed myself entirely from the trash, and I eat better, healthier than anyone else I know.


Ezra--I also am mixed on this topic--but fascinated by it.
Here's Business Week's take on expiration/sell by dates from a year ago,at the time of the spinach scare-- http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/oct2006/db20061002_959305.htm?campaign_id=rss_topStories


Definitely of two minds on this one.

Part of me thinks "right on": this is a visceral and memorable way to make a hugely valid point.

Part of me is very turned off by this kind of thing. There are people who are really genuinely barely scraping by, people with kids who are really actually hungry, people who haven't had the lucky breaks to *choose* poverty and turn it into a clever lifestyle label. Growing up in Western Pennsylvania in the 70's when all the steel mills were closing down, and seeing (and experiencing) firsthand some of the straights that massive involuntary joblessness can put people in, "voluntary joblessness" seems a little perverse to me.

OK, rant over.

Honest question: are expiration dates required by law? I have the vague sense that came out of the whole round of reforms that started in the 1880s which brought us things like health inspectors and the FDA, things that were originally supposed to protect people from the excesses of "caveat emptor" capitalism. Or are they just a marketing gimmick, like Budweiser's "born on" dates?

Kelly Mahoney

I'm all about saving a buck, but I think that's a little too far for me. I know they wait until things are thrown out and that food is usually good past the expiration date, but I don't want to tempt fate.

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