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Freeganism is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies 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." Freeganism involves choosing to salvage discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters, known as 'dumpster diving'.Many freegans get free food by pulling it out of the trash, a practice commonly nicknamed 'dumpster diving' in North America and 'skipping' or 'bin diving' in the UK, as well as 'bin raiding.' Retail suppliers of food such as supermarkets, grocery stores, and restaurants routinely throw away food in perfectly good condition, often because it is approaching its sell-by date (without thereby becoming dangerous), or has damaged packaging. Freegans find food in the garbage of such establishments, which they say allows them to avoid spending money on products that exploit the world's resources, contribute to urban sprawl, treat workers unfairly, or disregard animal rights. By foraging, they believe they are keeping perfectly edible food from adding to landfill clutter and that can feed people and animals who might otherwise go hungry.
Dumpster diving is not, however, limited to rummaging for food. Many 'dumpster divers' search for anything that can be recycled or reused, from accessories to power tools in need of small repairs. Some divers collect aluminum cans, which they can then sell for a small profit. Often, these people have all sorts of equipment such as a long pole that they use to move items in the dumpster around. When searching for food, a forager may come across food waste that is not entirely sealed from the unwanted waste in the same rubbish sack. This lower quality food is commonly referred to as "Scree." As bugs, rodents and other disease carriers also forage in such places, there are some risks associated with sourcing and eating such food.
Much food is discarded by producers for reasons to do with fussiness of retailers and consumers. Examples include huge amounts of fruit and vegetables which is smaller or larger than sizes required by supermarkets, much perfectly wholesome offal, and a species of Dover sole with all the qualities of sole but small size].
Wild foraging and urban gardens
Instead of buying industrially grown foods, wild foragers find and harvest food and medicinal plants growing in their own communities. Some freegans participate in "guerrilla" or "community" gardens, with the stated aim of rebuilding community and reclaiming the capacity to grow one's own food. In order to fertilize those guerrilla gardens, food obtained from dumpster diving is sometimes also reused. In many urban guerrilla gardens, vermiculture is used instead of ordinary composting techniques in order to keep the required infrastructure/room small. Guerrilla gardeners claim to seek an alternative to dependence and participation in what they perceive as an exploitative and ecologically destructive system of global, industrialized corp
Sharing is also a common freegan practice. Food Not Bombs recovers food that would otherwise go to waste to serve warm meals on the street to anyone who wants them. The group promotes an ethic of sharing and community, while working to show what they consider to be the injustice of a society in which they claim fighting wars is considered a higher priority than feeding the hungry.
Really, Really Free Markets are free social events in which freegans can share goods instead of discarding them, share skills, give presents and eat food. A free store is a temporary market where people exchange goods and services outside of a money-based economy.
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