Student launches free café serving food gathered from dumpsters

© The Gleaners Kitchen

As the cost of tuition, books and housing continue to rise, the college experience is often as much about learning to scrimp and save as it is about earning a degree. With that in mind, one Tufts University student has launched The Gleanor's Kitchen, offering hungry patrons a variety of healthy meal options -- for free.

The catch? All of the food was salvaged from dumpsters.

Every evening, founder Maximus Thaler and his friends go dumpster-diving behind grocery stores around Boston, 'gleaning' fruit, vegetables, and packaged food which, while still edible, has been discarded for being past their expiration date. Thaler says that on some nights, they collect thousands of dollars worth of fresh food to supply their 'freegan' cafe.

Although diving into dumpsters isn't always legal (especially on private property), Thaler says the act of gathering people's unwanted food is steeped in biblical tradition:

In the Old Testament Book of Ruth, Ruth made her living wandering through harvested fields and gathering for her family the bits of grain that had been left behind. In today's modern, industrialized capitalist society, gleaning takes on a new meaning. Some of us call it dumpster diving.

"The things we find, are jaw dropping," says Thaler, citing National Resources Defense Council figures that estimate $2,300 dollars worth of food is thrown out by grocery stores nightly.

The Gleaner's Kitchen is currently operating out of Thaler's apartment, but he's hoping to gather enough donations through Kickstarter to open up a dedicated café where everyone can eat for free.

"This is an experiment. The goal here is not to start a business. It is absolutely not about making money. The point isn’t to profit, it’s to prove that this is possible," says Thaler. "We aim to show that it is possible to feed hundreds of people high quality food without ever having to exchange a dime."

Via Food Beast

Tags: Fruits & Vegetables | Waste

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