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November 26, 2005

Dumpster Hippies

The ToL brings this report on a growing American subgroup of “ethical eaters.”

The anti-capitalist freegans — the name combines “free” and “vegan” — are so appalled by the waste of the consumer society that they try to live on the leftovers, scavenging for food in supermarket dustbins.

“It’s fun. It’s a thrill. It’s more fun and more satisfying than just going to the store and saying, ‘I wanted some bread and I got it’. It’s the surprise — and the prize,” said Janet Kalish, a New York high school teacher who describes herself as “60 per cent freegan”.

The freegan philosophy of “ethical eating” argues that capitalism and mass production exploit workers, animals and the environment.

Adam Weissman, a freegan activist and sometime security guard in New Jersey, says freeganism grew out of the radical 1960s “yippie” movement but also has affinities with the hobos of the Great Depression who travelled around the country by stealing rides on the railways.

“I have pity for people who have not figured out this lifestyle,” he said. “I am able to take long vacations from work, I have all kinds of consumer goods, and I eat a really healthy diet of really wonderful food: white asparagus and cactus fruit, three different kinds of mushrooms and four different kinds of pre-cut salad. And I’m just thinking of what is in my refrigerator right now.


Great. Now in addition to raccoons and the neighborhood dog, I have to worry about garbage hippies.

I recommend setting live traps, baited with an issue of ‘The Nation’ or a long essay on the WTO.

Release them at your local ‘funky’ coffee shop. They’ll usually come right out, blink a bit, then scamper into line and order a soy latte. They usually won’t go for the dumpster there, there’s only stale coffee grounds.


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posted by Dr. Reo Symes at 03:06 PM

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