Fairly often, we remind our readers that one of the most subversive things you can do to the US economy is to grow and prepare your food. Just the act of scratch cooking takes many multi-national conglomerates out of your kitchen, boosts your health and saves money. Freegans take the concept to a whole new level.
What is a Freegan?
If you’ve heard the phrase before you’re probably thinking of dumpster diving for restaurant leftovers and yes, that is part of the Freegan lifestyle. But it’s more than that. It includes all ways to procure food outside the current commercial system. Bartering, food swaps, gardening, animal husbandry, harvesting in the wild, even stealing (for some) is part of the Freegan lifestyle. Some expand the definition to go beyond food and to include ways to create a sustainable lifestyle without a traditional job, living via community, barter, and scavenging.
From the Freeganism.info site:
Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, 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.
5 Elements of Freegan
Waste reclamation. The dumpster diving, what they call “urban foraging” can be anything from food to furniture stores. Reclaiming things tossed by businesses and individuals to help support their lifestyle.
Waste minimization. Throwing away as little as possible by taking only what is needed, using what you have wisely, and passing unwanted items on to others who could use it.
Eco-friendly transportation. Where possible bike or walk to destinations, public transportation is better than cars. If cars are necessary then using bio-fuels or car-sharing programs. The idea being, give as little money as possible to the oil industry and large industrial car manufacturers.
Rent-free housing. By this, they mean squatters, people who live in abandoned buildings without paying for rent or mortgages. They also include those who live in the wilderness on public land. (We’re not so sure we can get behind this one, but we do believe in “right-sized” homes.)
Going green. Employ eco-friendly principles to everything that you do. For beginners, this would mean recycling like a fiend, at the advanced end, it means living off-grid. There are a myriad ways to live a greener lifestyle, and all of the points already mentioned are things to consider.
Work less. If we live outside the capitalist mindset of acquiring things, then we should need less money and, therefore, we can work less to meet our needs. More free time means we can invest in giving back to our communities.
Freeganism is really just Minimalism
The Freegan.info website smacks of militancy. Not quite a call to arms, but a call to avoid our current American lifestyle. However, if you strip away the rhetoric a lot of it coincides with minimalist living.
At True Food, we heartily embrace cooking more, growing our food, eco-friendly living, and living in a home that is just right (and not too much) for you and your family. We agree that acquiring “stuff” has gone a bit nutty in the U.S., and we could all benefit more from experiences and less from things. By doing that, we’ll inherently be sending a message to those “large conglomerates” that we want to live a simple life that requires fewer products.
What do you think? Is Freeganism a little bit too much? Is it worth borrowing some ideas? Do you embrace Freeganism? If so, why do you like it?