So I've been hearing the word "freegan" lately without really understanding what it means. As a vegan I felt certain it would be something in which I was interested, after all.
Thanks to a post at HippyShopper I now know more about it.
HippyShopper tells us that the dictionary definition is "a person who consumes food that has been thrown away, especially someone who wants to protect the environment by reducing waste.", which, let's face it, does not sound appetizing at all.
But HippyShopper goes on to explain that there is way, way more to it than that!! First of all, the freegan ethos isn't just about food, but about consumption in general. Freeganism encourages treading lightly by opting out of the world of consumerism most of us are an inherent part of.
A quick look at Freegan.info reveals a lifestyle choice that most of us would not follow, but some of the elements of freeganism are certainly achievable and worthy ways to green your life. Some of the more palatable first freegan steps would include:
- Free Markets – where people bring all manner of items that they might otherwise throw away and give them away to others.
- Freecycle – an internet swapping community where you can exchange, get free items or announce unwanted items for free that others can utilise.
- Guerilla and Community Gardens – “growing community gardens in abandoned lots of land, turning them into food bases that help to renew communities.”
The least palatable:
-Urban Foraging / Dumpster Diving – Recovering useable discarded items from dumpsters whether food or otherwise.
I have known folks, particularly when I lived in NYC, who would troll the sidewalks early on weekend mornings for those pieces of furniture and other paraphernalia being discarded, usually by folks who were moving or taking delivery on new items that weekend. That I could handle.
But dumpster diving for food? Um, no.
Why not just go beg at the backdoor of your favorite restaurant near closing time? I'm totally serious. Wouldn't that be just as freegan but not nearly as disgusting as diving in their dumpster post-closing?
So, 'fess up...do you have any freegan habits you're willing to share?