Friday, March 18, 2011

I Could Have Been a Freegan This Week

There are vegetarians. There are vegans. And then there are freegans -- a community of people who advocate against materialism, commercialism, and waste. But what they're more notoriously known for is dumpster diving.

Freegans strive to subsist on what they find for free. My aunt could be a Freegan. (Yes, Linda, I mean you.) There have been many times in my own own life when I've lived as a freegan -- namely in my early 20's when I didn't have money for food and only ate when I found food for free. I never resorted to dumpster diving, but found plenty of happy hour buffets, snacks in office break rooms, and refreshments at events that kept me going. If you think about it (which Freegans DO), our society wastes tons of food. I'm glad that freegans are eating it. I hate to think of all that waste.

But I think it would be even better if those who are hungry, freegan or otherwise, didn't have to resort to getting all that surplus food from the garbage. As a society we need to be better about limiting our consumption to the right amount so that we don't have more food left over than what was actually eaten. And when we do have extra, we need to find a way to share it with those in need.

I've been fortunate to work at shelters and know where to find places that can take food. (Call your local YMCA, Salvation Army, or United Way and ask!) I have volunteered to pick up and deliver leftover food from banquets, weddings, parties, and corporate events to residential shelters. Seriously, there's often been more leftover food than I could fit in my car. Food that was on its way to the dumpster until I delivered it to a shelter.

On a smaller scale, I always take leftovers home.  Such was the case this week, when I had several company events with WAY too much food. I took it home. It fed my family all week.

I could have been a non-dumpster diving freegan this week. I wonder, if you look around your own lives, whether you could have been, too?

1 comment:

  1. I saw a Freegan special with Lisa Ling and it was really good. She actually went on an organized dumpster dive and was amazed at not only what was thrown away, but what people salvaged. I am definitely on the "no waste" bandwagon, but don't think I'll ever dumpster dive. Too many repressed memories (my dad grew up on a farm, very, very poor and found the 'no waste' lifestyle a necessity--much of my childhood embarassments are of my dad pulling over on the road to pick up some old piece of junk someone was throwing away). Thank you for what you do as a volunteer. You are single-handedly making the world better.