Thursday, February 28, 2008

Freegan Vegans

Thanks to Pam for the assist on this one.

The Freegan movement has been around since the mid-1990s but is recently getting press for its growing numbers given the renewed focus on green living. It grew out of the Vegan movement, which some people apparently found to be too liberal of a lifestyle. As Adam Weissman, the movement's unofficial leader puts it, “If a person chooses to live an ethical lifestyle it’s not enough to be vegan, they need to absent themselves from capitalism." To do this, Freegans try to live without purchasing any product or participating in the capitalist system at all. Anything they need for day-to-day living they find, generally in dumpsters. "They dress in castoff clothes and furnish their homes with items found on the street; at, where users post unwanted items; and at so-called freemeets, flea markets where no money is exchanged." They get their food from dumpsters as well, although most try to work something out with local supermarkets to get recently expired canned goods or badly bruised produce. Predictably, the movement is strongest in California, where local Freegans claim it is not unusual to come across designer clothes and housewares while dumpster-diving, and in New York City.

Thinking of becoming a Freegan? See these links for more info and let us know how it goes! (quotes from here)


Herbal Amanda said...

You didn't mention it but I was wondering if they are big into growing there own food? OR are they a homeless movement as well since property is part of capitalism? I guess I should follow the links and find out... :) Also I have heard of homeless people who get the rights to use unused land to grow vegetables, and harvest from fruit trees that are not being utilized.

Jillian said...

Herbal Amanda--No, it's not a homeless movement and there's nothing I've read about growing your own food. It's not the same as sustanance living--it's too urban for that. Some of the people highlighted in the NY Times article owned their own homes, some even made six-figure incomes (but gave nearly all the money away and lived off found items and foods). I think it's expressly an ethics thing--and a young, liberal, anti-capitalism thing. There are several adults in the movement, but as you'd imagine, many of the adherents are high school and college age. That said, I am sure Freegans would not be adverse to growing their own food if they had the space and expertise. Many if not most are Vegans as well and it's said to be an extra bonus if you can find organic products or foods that have been thrown out.