Dumpster Divers Against Bush: 'World News' Showcases Freeganism
Prepare to be thoroughly disgusted: people are actually digging through businesses' garbage to dine on discarded food â all to make an anti-business statement.
Madeline Nelson, an executive-turned-freegan, was featured on the December 16 âWorld News Sundayâ in a bizarre human interest segment. The segment showed Nelson serving a four-course meal, which included a mixed green salad, stuffed peppers, and a tofu cheesecake with strawberries.
âThe grocery bill for such an elaborate feast? Zero,â said ABC correspondent Ryan Owens. âThatâs because this food doesn't come from inside a store, but outside of it.â
âOutside of itâ as in the storeâs garbage. No, it isnât a homeless person down on his luck. Itâs anti-capitalist people practicing what is known as freeganism and doing so to make an ideological statement. Owens accompanied a group of freegans, led by Nelson, who went through various businessesâ dumpsters in the borough of Brooklyn.
âThe word freegan is compounded from âfreeâ and âveganâ. Vegans are people who avoid products from animal sources or products tested on animals in an effort to avoid harming animals. Freegans take this a step further by recognizing that in a complex, industrial, mass-production economy driven by profit, abuses of humans, animals, and the earth abound at all levels of production (from acquisition to raw materials to production to transportation) and in just about every product we buy.â
The conclusion? âThus, 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,â the Web site said.
While making a cheesecake with tofu salvaged from the garbage might seem disgusting to most people, Nelson disagreed.
âI'd say what's gross and disgusting is the fact that this food is being thrown out in the first place,â said Nelson. âWhat's really disgusting is the system that allows this waste to happen.â
The âsystemâ Nelson referred to is a capitalist economy. But she didnât stop there.
âI just started looking at the state of the U.S. and the state of the world, and thinking, âwhat the hell am I doing here? What am I doing? Global warming is happening, thereâs war in Iraq, Bush is out of control, and here I am, working at a corporation to help a company sell more stuff,ââ Nelson said to ABC News in a supplemental online story.
After the segment, ABC âWorld News Sundayâ anchor Dan Harris said, âWe present all sides here.â
Not quite. No businesspeople were included in the segment. The story didnât explore the fact that the food wouldnât be available in the dumpsters if not for the businesses involved.
And some business owners donât want to liable for what they throw out, in the event the product is not fit for human consumption. There are also the physical dangers of going through the dumpster itself.
âWe throw out our excess product, which is doughnuts,â said Nels Lebansky, the manager of Greenbush Baker in Madison, Wis., to the July 23 (Madison, Wis.) Capital Times. âWeâve always had problems with dumpsters. My concern is a lawsuit. You donât want a box of our stuff thatâs a week old to be out in public.â