As defined on Wikipedia.com, Freeganism is an anti-consumerism 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.
Doesn't sound too bad. I knew the movement was around but I was totally unaware of the methods many freegans practice until I saw yesterdays Oprah Show. Oprah and Lisa Ling interviewed three seemingly normal rational freegans who get almost 100% of their groceries from the garbage bins outside of grocery stores such as Whole Foods. On Oprah's website you can watch two clips from the show Could You Live with Less? and Trash Tour. Both segments show how freegans get their food right out of the garbage.
Now, I am all for re-using and I won't even deny that the entertainment center in my living room came from right beside the dumpster of my apartment building, but I don't think I'm ready to be taking eggs, milk, cheese, and even ice cream out of the dumpsters of my local Safeway. In their defense, while I was watching the Oprah show I was impressed by the quality of the food they were digging out of the trash bins, but I'm just ready not to take that leap. Yes. I want to consume less. Yes, I'm happy that I only purchase one new $100. piece of furniture for my current apartment (everything else came from craigslist and GoodWill); however, I don't know if I'm prepared to do my grocery shopping late at night with a flashlight wearing rubber chaps.
These people are deeply committed to not being consumers and I admire them for their convictions. This blog is all about re-purposing items you would normally throw away or making a gift instead of buying another gift card but I've drawn the line and it is food. I want my very own new groceries purchase before they expire from the clean store shelves.
Love to hear what you think. Please let me know if you know any Freegans or if after watching the Oprah clips you've given up buying groceries ever again.