February 8, 2023

This article takes something I have been preaching for years and sort of institutionalizes it. I like it. The truth is that every day enough food and value is thrown into dumpsters to feed, clothe, house, and educate every person on the planet.
If you want to explore this lifestyle further, you should read the Urban Survival Manual
LONDON (Reuters) – Ross and Ash are about to dig in to a meal of chicken rogan josh, king prawn makhani and rice, chicken balti and naan bread followed by pineapple, strawberries and grapes for dessert.
All of which came out of a bin.
“Everything I eat comes from dumpsters,” Ash says. “For me it’s a logical lifestyle choice. It’s such a natural thing to use up that waste.”
Some call them “dumpster divers,” others brand them “skip lickers,” but Ross Parry and Ash Falkingham like to count themselves among the Freegans — a growing band of foragers who seek to live entirely from the waste of others.
In this brief trip to a small supermarket skip in southeast London, they have recovered enough food to provide themselves — and several others — with an impressive evening meal, as well as bread, muffins and teabags for the next morning’s breakfast.
Freeganism, derived from the words “free” and “vegan,” is spreading to Britain from the United States, where one of its founding fathers, Adam Weissman, has set up a Freegan information Web site to persuade others to join him.
Weissman describes Freeganism as “a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations.”
“Instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able,” he explains on the site.
Falkingham, a 21-year-old Australian, sees Freeganism as a way of forcing the world to wake up to what it is wasting.
“Nine million people die every year of starvation … and while that’s happening, we are literally destroying food,” he says.
There are no exact figures for how many people are choosing to live a Freegan lifestyle in Britain. Despite the name, not all those who opt to live this way are strictly vegan.
Falkingham and Parry, who is 46, have been roaming Britain since last October, pursuing their Freegan lifestyle in cities from Manchester and Leeds in the north, to Plymouth in the south.
They eat, sleep and live in a beaten-up old van which is equipped with mattresses, a stove, a sink, carpets and even a heater all taken from skips or wreckers’ yards.
Falkingham wears a watch recovered from a bin behind a charity shop, his boots were taken from a retailer’s skip and the pair say they have found computer parts, furniture and even an MP3 player in dumpsters.
They have no jobs and no money but see very little need for either.
“When you first start off, you think ‘how am I going to live without a wage?’,” says Parry, who has been living a Freegan lifestyle for more than 20 years.
“But our priority is to work for love to make the world a better place, and we want to have more time to do that. The less time we spend chasing a salary, the more time we have to do what we really believe in.”
“There’s so much excess in this society that you don’t have to worry about where the next meal is coming from.”
According to research, more than 30 percent of the 17 million tonnes of waste that goes to landfill in Britain is food waste.
Fareshare, a charity which delivers surplus food to the homeless and other vulnerable people in need, says around a quarter of that is perfectly good, edible food.
“Last year we redistributed 2,000 tonnes of food — that helped provide 3.3 million meals and helped around 12,000 people — but that is still just the tip of the iceberg,” Fareshare spokeswoman Maria Kortbech Olesen told Reuters.
Fareshare, which distributes food given by some of Britain’s biggest food retailers such as Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s which would otherwise go to waste, sympathizes with Freegans, but is concerned at their sometimes risky methods.
“What they are trying to address is basically the same thing as we are,” says Kortbech Olesen. “There is a lot of waste and we have to do something about it.”
“But you have to be careful. Freegans take food from bins, and they can never know whether that food is safe.”
Falkingham shrugs off any concern about getting sick.
“I think I have only once been ill from eating food from bins — I got diarrhea,” he says. “But I like to push the limits with what I eat.”

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