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Freegan Free Food

mcp56.gifFreeganism has been around for a few years but apparently is just starting to take off in the U.K.. In the States it's sometimes disparagingly known as dumpster diving. There are websites devoted to it. Like this one - freegan.info

"The idea behind freeganism is that you get as much of your food as you can from stuff that has been thrown out by supermarkets, restaurants and street markets. It’s only partly about living cheaply. It’s more a political philosophy, a statement of defiance against what freegans regard as the wasteful consumerist culture of the developed world, which is why it has also been called ethical eating and the ultimate boycott.
The name is usually said to be a blend of free and vegan, since early practitioners were either vegetarian or vegan (not least because it is much more dangerous to eat discarded meat or fish than vegetables and grains).
The culture lives on the edge of illegality, since many businesses regard taking food from skips or dumpsters as theft. Some extreme freegan practices would be considered unacceptable by most people, such as table diving, in which freegans hover in a restaurant and grab discarded food from diners’ plates after they leave.
Freegans come from a larger community of young, do-it-yourself punks. Many are anarchists, opposing all forms of government and embracing ideals such as individual freedom and cooperation. Some, though, don’t identify as anarchists—or as punks—or they resent being labeled. But all of them despise the American-style consumerism they call destructive."
[The Sacramento Bee, 27 May 2003]

Here in Paris, my quartier has a street market twice a week and I often look at the discarded fruit & vegetables left in the street in the afternoon and think what a waste it is. Even the fish heads and discarded meat cuts could be recycled into stock or stew (especially in these freezing cold days). There's always slightly bruised fruit like avocados, tomatoes, cherries and strawberries lying in the gutter. Occasionally you'll see old people or nutters sifting through it. But even the bums - the clochards are too well-fed to demean themselves dumpster-diving. I think that's when you know you're in a wealthy society.

It's market day tomorrow. I'll try and get some shots of edible food lying in the street. And I'll try and photograph the horsemeat stall again - the guy's getting narky.

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