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    Posted July 18, 2009 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Surviving a tough economy

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    That's Not Garbage...That's My Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner And Possible Snack...Freegans


    On a soupy wet night in New York City a group of about 15 or 20 people schlepped across the streets of lower Manhattan with a mission in mind. No they weren’t looking for a club, or a fancy restaurant to dine. Instead, this small group of acquaintances where doing something most of us wouldn’t dream of doing. They were sorting for food in the most unlikely of places _ garbage dumpsters of supermarkets. What? Yup you read it right garbage dumpsters.

    You see these individuals are “freegans”.

    By no means should freegans be considered homeless or down on their luck because of an unstable economy. Actually, some are professionals working in corporate America or with regular blue collar jobs. They do, however, choose not to patronize grocery stores for food or retail stores for clothes. Freegans define themselves as people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.

    It just so happened that on this rainy night in the City, I stumbled across this group going through the garbage of a supermarket in lower Manhattan, on my way home from the gym. I stopped and talked with a few freegans and was surprised at their finds.

    One young lady, who has been a freegan for two- years, said she never buys from grocery stories. “Everything I get is from the streets. I once stumbled across a whole case of maple syrup. I am from the New England area. I know a lot goes into making maple syrup.”

    Another practicing freegan of two-years said in addition to food she has found really nice clothes and items for her apartment. “I’ve never gotten sick from my finds. The only time I’ve gotten sick was from cooked food at a restaurant.”

    Freegans aren’t only in New York, but are across the nation. Each freegan says they take precaution before eating the food they find. Any produce thrown out by grocery stores are washed and expiration dates looked at on perishables such as meats and can goods.

    “You would be surprised at what stores throw out. I think some of the stuff out here is better than what’s on the shelves in the store.”

    The freegans told me they usually get together twice a month and go on these massive food searches and once a month share a Sunday meal together. Some freegans say when they are short on food they usually go out by themselves to replenish.

    And while this wet Friday night, wasn’t the most ideal for food searching it didn’t stop them from doing what some of us do at grocery stores.

    To find out more about freegans visit their website at: http://freegan.info/?page_id=8

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