Although most of us associate freeganism with dumpster diving, freegans actually do advocate much more than sifting through garbage for food.
Madeline Nelson from freegan.info shared with me the ideology behind their lifestyle. She says, "Not all freegans are dumpster divers and not all dumpster divers are freegans. Freegans' focus is much broader and much more political — how to throw a cog in the corporate profit machine, help alleviate social injustice and ecological destruction, and create ways to live more independently of the giant corporations that now rule the word with the sole aim of profit for their owners and top managers."
Rummaging through trash receptacles is only for the bold, so for those of you who still want to do some good and save money at the same time, Madeline shares some easy tips you can implement in your everyday lifestyle.
- Pick Your Produce With Care: Don't buy factory farmed animal products! There are so many reasons, from not ingesting the antibiotics and hormones still in the products, to the cruelty of factory farm conditions to animals and workers alike, to the 70 pounds of high quality vegetable protein wasted to produce a single pound of beef.
- Support Local Farmers: Eat as local as you can afford to do; use farmers markets and CSAs if you can. By reducing the distance your food travels (these days, often 1000s of miles) you reduce your carbon footprint and opt out of the exploitation of tenant farmers whose kids are picking baby vegetables for the USA when they should be able to go to school.
- Grow Your Own: The most local you can go is to grow your own fruits and veggies. Got a yard? Turn it into a pea patch. Don't? Join a community garden, make new friends, and learn relaxing new skills.
- Dumpster Dive: Feeling brave? Try seeing what your local supermarkets are throwing out every day. Dumpster diving is often fun and always a wake-up call to waste being perpetrated in our names — we, who supposedly wouldn't buy an odd shaped potato or a nearly ripe banana. And it is economically much more viable than working a low wage job to earn enough to buy the same stuff.
For more freegan tips, read on.
- Work Less: Consider reducing your work hours, especially if you don't like the work you're doing. Life is too short to work a job you hate to buy stuff you don't need.
- Be a Careful Consumer: Just about anything you do to limit participation in the corporate-driven consumer economy is good for the planet, good for social justice, and good for your pocketbook.
- Think Before Trashing: Don't needlessly throw good stuff out. Swap clothes and other stuff with friends, regift them, put them on freecycle, donate them to a locally run thrift store.
- Repair to Reuse: Stuff not good anymore? Think again. Clothes get thrown out nowadays because a button is missing or a hem is hanging; bikes because they need a tune-up or new brakes. Learn repair skills and share them with others.
- Public Transport: Leave the car in the driveway, and when you're ready, sell it. Walking and bicycling will make your body feel great while greatly reducing your carbon footprint.
Source: Flickr User mecredis