The Food Not Bombs Story

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There are over 175 autonomous chapters sharing vegetarian food with hungry people and protesting war and poverty throughout the Americas, Europe and Australia. The first group was formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1980 by anti-nuclear activists. Food Not Bombs is an all volunteer organization dedicated to nonviolence. Food Not Bombs has no formal leaders and strives to include everyone in its decision making process. Each group recovers food that would otherwise be thrown out and makes fresh hot vegetarian meals that are served in city parks to anyone without restriction. The groups also serve free vegetarian meals at protests and other events. The San Francisco Chapter has been arrested over 1,000 times in an effort to silence its protest against the Mayor’s anti- homeless policies. Amnesty International states it may adopt those Food Not Bombs volunteers that are imprisoned as “Prisoners of Conscience” and will work for their unconditional release. Food Not Bombs works in coalition with groups like Earth First!, The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Anarchist Black Cross, the IWW, Homes Not Jails, Anti Racist Action, In Defense of Animals, the Free Radio Movement and other organizations on the cutting edge of positive social change and resistance to the new global austerity program. One collective publishes a movement wide newsletter called A Food Not Bombs Menu. There is also a German language Menu. Food Not Bombs Publishing in Takoma Park, Maryland publishes books like On Conflict and Consensus which has been an important guide for group democracy. We hope you will join us in taking direct action towards creating a world free from domination, coercion and violence.

Why Freegan?

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Treading lightly on the Earth – Our high impact, produce & consume society puts a very intense strain on the Earth and her resources. Rainforsets are clear-cut to provide more land for food production. Food production also consumes vast quantities of fresh water, one of our fastest-depleting resources. And then there is the packaging! Go look in your trash right now and most likely it will be filled with plastic, paper, and styrofoam packaging from food products (if not you get mad props!). Go look in any trash or landfill and you will see literally tons & tons of packaging. The act of consumption is the transformation of natural land and resources into money for corporations and acres of trash in landfills. (This is not a good thing.) Anti-Capitalism – If you are an “anti-capitalist”, what better way to protest the economy than withdrawing from it and never using money? Working Sucks – Where does the money you spend come from? You or your folks working long hours at a dehumanizing job, most likely. You don’t have to compromise yourself and your humanity to the evil demon of wage-slavery! Working sucks and if a little scavenging can keep you from needing a job than go jump in a dumpster! Even if you do need to work to pay your bills, think about how much less you would have to work if you didn’t have to buy food. Privilege – We, in America, have so much and so many people all over the world have so little. Why do we have more? Because we’re number one! Other folks are literally starving so that we can have fully-stocked shelves at our supermarkets and health food stores. If this concerns you (as it should) you can protest the unbalanced distribution in America and the world by sacrificing some of your privilege and feeding yourself off of the ridiculous excess of food instead of consuming products from that supermarket shelves we are so injustly privileged to have access to. The Ultimate Boycott – By not consuming, you are boycotting EVERYTHING! All the corporations, all the stores, all the pesticides, all the land and resources wasted, the capitalist system, the all-oppressive dollar, the wage slavery, the whole burrito! That should help you get to sleep at night. Your Life – Think about how your life is wrapped up in the game of consumptions: think about the job you hate, the ugly billboards in your community, the horrible waste, the stink, the fast pace and lack of compassion that surround you and understand that as you consume it, it consumes you. How much of your day is spent dealing with money? How does money affect your ideas about other people? Think abut howmuch more to life there is and find it, do it, go!   Criticism of Veganism: The vegan theory is essentially a boycott of any products that injure animals in their production. The vegan consumers are flexing their monetary muscle and “voting with their dollars” for the products that don’t injure animals. These dollars are voting for coca-cola, big corporate grocery stores, greasy-fast food (we all know taco bell vegans), and worse. Shouldn’t truly conscientious folks seek something more? I don’t vote because no matter who I vote for, the government always wins and when you “vote with yur dollars”, consumerism always wins, capitalism always wins. So…. make a list of allt he unethical practices that really piss you off and make a list of all the corporations and products you want to boycott. Veganism is a good first step, but is your only concern animals? I made this list and when I was done, I couldn’t really justify buying anthing, I couldn’t get behind any aspect of the corporate death consumer machine so I decided to boycott everything. I still spend money sometimes (I love gonig out for Thai food) but I try to be very conscientious about my consumption. Besides the concern that veganism as an ethic for eating stops short, it is also still a very high impact lifestyle. The packaging from vegan food doesn’t take up less space in the landfill or consume less resources just cause the food is vegan. The whole produce and consume dynamic is still played out, but the setting is a fancy health food store instead of a supermarket. veganism is not a threat, or a challenge to the wasteful practices of our capitalist society.   How Freegan? Freeganism, also known as ethical eating, voluntary simplicity, monetary minimalism, the ultimate boycott, etc is fun and easy. Here are some basic tips: Quality of Food – Freegans wiely vary in their concern for health – some freegans gorge themselves on dumpstered donuts and some are still totally vegan, but get all their food for free. Most fall in te happy medium who would rather eat a load of bread with whey in it than make a $2 donation to the corporate death machine. Some freegans eat “edgy” food (on the edge of edibility_ and some don’t take chances. Some folks are even “meagan” – they eat meat if they get it for free. Quantity of Food – A lot, everywhere. You have all seen that Food Not Bombs flyer about how many million pounds of food is wasted, well it is true. The food is plentiful. The food is good. Strategy: Dumpster Driving! – The best, easiest way to to get the most food. Just head to your local grocery store, produce store, bagel and donut shop, bakery, K-mart (expired shelf goodies), and open up the dumpster and take a look. Don’t be afraid to climb in and dig around! have fun, go with your friends! If you just find a big, scary compactor behind the store (a bunch of big supermarkets haev these) you can’t get in, but you can fight back. Start a local DLF(Dumpster Liberation Front!) and stick it to those compactors: superglue them so they don’t work or hit them a bat Continue Reading →

The Value Of Self Service

**daniel** FNB-Carolina But as the anarchist Eduardo Galeano said, “I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. I goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people.” It is in this spirit that we can say that Food Not Bombs is not charity. Food Not Bombs sharings are organized along the idea of solidarity. We do not share food because we are ordered to by gods. We simply recognize a need and understand that we have the capability to assist. In addition, we see that there is much to gain ourselves in this work. In sharing food, we meet new kinds of people, gain insight into the lives of others. It helps us to understand the world around us, and gain a fuller understanding of a part of life that we rarely see. Food Not Bombs is a sharing, not a feeding or a food give-away. We share food, stories, ideas and companionship. Our patrons share stories, insights, experience, ideas and company. There are no servants, no masters. No wealthy, no needy. We are all hungry. And so we share. We come together for an hour and a half of food and fellowship. Coming out of that fellowship is the concept that Food Not Bombs table is self-service. The only rule of Food Not Bombs is “Take as much as you need, keeping in mind everyone else.” Everyone understands that there are many people with whom to share the food. And for two weeks now, we have had no trouble whatsoever of people taking an excessive amount of food, nor have we run out of food for everyone. People can and do take other into account with their actions. In doing so, it produces the best result for all. For two hours, there are no bosses hassling patrons about how much to take, or to hurry up. The food belongs to everyone. No maids to clean up, either. The responsibilities are recognized by all. This Do-it-Yourself ethic helps build self-esteem, because we recognize that we do not need any authority figure to tell us how to run our lives. And this is why Food Not Bombs is such a vital anarchist project. It empowers our patrons to start thinking out of the box. It subtly introduces everyone to anarchist principles, emphasizing both brotherhood and solidarity. **daniel** FNB-Carolina