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Old 2007-06-21, 16:53   #1
ewmayer's Avatar
Sep 2002
República de California

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Default Why Just be a Vegan -- be a Freegan?

Story on the anti-consumerist Freegans (formerly known by the non-PC appellation "dumpster divers") in today's New York Times:

First-page excerpt:
Not Buying It

Published: June 21, 2007

ON a Friday evening last month, the day after New York University’s class of 2007 graduated, about 15 men and women assembled in front of Third Avenue North, an N.Y.U. dormitory on Third Avenue and 12th Street. They had come to take advantage of the university’s end-of-the-year move-out, when students’ discarded items are loaded into big green trash bins by the curb.

New York has several colleges and universities, of course, but according to Janet Kalish, a Queens resident who was there that night, N.Y.U.’s affluent student body makes for unusually profitable Dumpster diving. So perhaps it wasn’t surprising that the gathering at the Third Avenue North trash bin quickly took on a giddy shopping-spree air, as members of the group came up with one first-class find after another.

Ben Ibershoff, a dapper man in his 20s wearing two bowler hats, dug deep and unearthed a Sharp television. Autumn Brewster, 29, found a painting of a Mediterranean harbor, which she studied and handed down to another member of the crowd.

Darcie Elia, a 17-year-old high school student with a half-shaved head, was clearly pleased with a modest haul of what she called “random housing stuff” — a desk lamp, a dish rack, Swiffer dusters — which she spread on the sidewalk, drawing quizzical stares from passers-by.

Ms. Elia was not alone in appreciating the little things. “The small thrills are when you see the contents of someone’s desk and find a book of stamps,” said Ms. Kalish, 44, as she stood knee deep in the trash bin examining a plastic toiletries holder.

A few of those present had stumbled onto the scene by chance (including a janitor from a nearby homeless center, who made off with a working iPod and a tube of body cream), but most were there by design, in response to a posting on the Web site

The site, which provides information and listings for the small but growing subculture of anticonsumerists who call themselves freegans — the term derives from vegans, the vegetarians who forsake all animal products, as many freegans also do — is the closest thing their movement has to an official voice. And for those like Ms. Elia and Ms. Kalish, it serves as a guide to negotiating life, and making a home, in a world they see as hostile to their values.

Freegans are scavengers of the developed world, living off consumer waste in an effort to minimize their support of corporations and their impact on the planet, and to distance themselves from what they see as out-of-control consumerism. They forage through supermarket trash and eat the slightly bruised produce or just-expired canned goods that are routinely thrown out, and negotiate gifts of surplus food from sympathetic stores and restaurants.

They dress in castoff clothes and furnish their homes with items found on the street; at, where users post unwanted items; and at so-called freemeets, flea markets where no money is exchanged. Some claim to hold themselves to rigorous standards. “If a person chooses to live an ethical lifestyle it’s not enough to be vegan, they need to absent themselves from capitalism,” said Adam Weissman, 29, who started four years ago and is the movement’s de facto spokesman.

Freeganism dates to the mid-’90s, and grew out of the antiglobalization and environmental movements, as well as groups like Food Not Bombs, a network of small organizations that serve free vegetarian and vegan food to the hungry, much of it salvaged from food market trash. It also has echoes of groups like the Diggers, an anarchist street theater troupe based in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960’s, which gave away food and social services.

According to Bob Torres, a sociology professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., who is writing a book about the animal rights movement — which shares many ideological positions with freeganism — the freegan movement has become much more visible and increasingly popular over the past year, in part as a result of growing frustrations with mainstream environmentalism.

Environmentalism, Mr. Torres said, “is becoming this issue of, consume the right set of green goods and you’re green,” regardless of how much in the way of natural resources those goods require to manufacture and distribute.

“If you ask the average person what can you do to reduce global warming, they’d say buy a Prius,” he added.

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Old 2007-06-21, 21:03   #2
potonono's Avatar
Jun 2005

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Default age hippies.. get a job.. :)
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Old 2007-06-22, 05:16   #3
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Jan 2004

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Thumbs up 'Freeganism'

Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Story on the anti-consumerist Freegans (formerly known by the non-PC appellation "dumpster divers") in today's New York Times:

First-page excerpt:

I am not exactly a freegan, salvaging food from bins, but I have attended charity organisations in N.Y. which gave me some good bargains. I recall I went to a sale with a bargain hunter, who scanned the local papers, held by the Salvation Army in a parish church. I was really not interested in anything and this was in the early 70's.

I came away with a brand new (as good as) portable Chechoslavakian typewriter, a sports jacket, which fitted to the tee, an exotic flower vase, a radiometer, and some imitation jewelry all for $15.

In Perth Aust. we were together again and we went bargain hunting. This guy picked up 5 pairs of shoes at an A$ a pair. He explained he had five kids and could not afford brand new shoes for them !. I picked up some valuable books, yeah you said it, in maths!

Well considering that a beggar in N.Y outside Radio City Hall would not accept anything less than $1 at the time, the value of the dollar was not that high after all in the U.S.

Hats off to the vegans, the freegans and the affluent Americans!

So, they have them in the U.S. too !

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