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Scratching the surface of freeganism

Posted: March 22nd, 2007, 10:28 am
by firsty
AlterNet: One Person's Dumpster Is Another's Diner

Becca Tucker over at AlterNet went gonzo for 3 days of full-blown dumpster-diving in New York City, following a group of loosely connected or barely connected freegans — people intentionally averting the trap and crime of capitalism by living off of trashed food — which, according to the article, makes up one half of the existing food whirling through American commerce.

Ho ho gonzo indeed, I think, I say, staring at my lunch not sitting at my desk not working at this nightmare as I intentionally over-involve my own damn self in this consumerist crime of heavy living. I have to. I have kids to support via a court order, actually, and while I'd quickly go off the radar in terms of anything viable that I could muster to survive and raise the boyz, because I'm divorced from the mother of the boyz, I'm locked into a certain situation. Of course, I could dissent, but I'd be simply and quickly locked into another situation that would be of no benefit to anyone, and would contribute to some kind of statistically rich but otherwise very poor reality for my sons, which I cannot abide.

So, really, it's not with any larger tall order of future riches that I find myself looking at these folks with the hopes of some future involvement. Our efforts at Steal This Wiki will never pay off in the monetary sense, after all, and thats kind of the point. As I read Tucker's article, I couldnt help but think, isnt this something that might provide a partnership between two politically-aligned and loosely connected organizations, us and them?

Certainly our male-dominated group over at STW would be thrilled to get involved with these kinds of hippie chicks, or at least the kinds of hippie chicks photographed on their website.

This author of the article, this Becca Tucker, seems, though, more interested in the visceral experience of dumpster-diving itself — the brief spotlights of emotion — shame, thrill, mystery, etc. As soon as she encounters the whole point of the thing, she backs away, frightened, unable to come to terms with the real reality that makes Freegans exist in the first place.
This happens every night all over the city, and to varying degrees, in every city across the country. All the energy that went into growing, producing, packaging, shipping, refrigerating, and dumping all this food is worth less than what it would cost a store to run out of something and fail to make a sale. So they deliberately overstock. And while the food and packaging gets dumped in landfills, people are going hungry just blocks away.

It's depressing. It's shameful.

It's delicious.
How so very 21st century of her. This is nothing but a glimpse, something for us to look at as long as we then quickly look away. How so very noble, except for the soul part. How so very chic.

I'm then left to admire our writers even more — they're involved because they deeply believe in the effort and the philosophy of the effort, not merely in the act of "Free This" or "Fuck That", and, just the same, I admire the Freegans even more, because after Tucker spent her 3 days in the shadows, there are many who live this way and enjoy it, not because of the simple emotion attached to it, but because it means something and because what they are doing has an effect on things.

So lets all thank Ms. Tucker for her exposing this reality, even if she cant really handle it, beyond the 3 days of living it, or beyond its superficial sidewalk conversations.