As Brian reported over at Planet Green, one out of eight Americans experiences food insecurity. At the same time there are insane levels of food waste. Enter Secret Freegan. Freegans love to scavenge for free stuff. Secret Freegan? Inspired by Oprah, she's on a secret mission to get the benefits of dumpster diving for her own family AND share her bounty with those in need! Definitely the Robin Hood of the dumpster diving set.
Photo via Secret Freegan.
100 Loaves of Bread in the Dumpster
As Secret Freegan has discovered, some grocery stores each day throw away hundreds of dollars of food that's seen its best-by date come and go. These same stores don't give the food to food banks because of possible "liability" issues; that means full dumpsters day in and day out. Though she takes what she can get, Secret Freegan has discovered perfectly edible organic bananas, and lots of other organic produce in the bins. (She hypothesizes that with fewer pesticides, they may more quickly develop unsightly blemishes making them less attractive for buyers). She recommends thoroughly washing all gleaned fruits and veggies.
Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
In 1996, then President Bill Clinton signed into law this Act, which was created to minimize liability for organizations that donate food. It specifies that the donor will be liable only in cases of gross negligence. Obviously, if Secret Freegan can continue to find thousands of dollars of edible food, the message of the Act hasn't quite gotten across to grocery entities. That's a real pity, because getting control of food waste also reduces our carbon footprint.
Secret Freegan's special grabber tool
Secret Freegan likes to glean for herself as well as for others, which makes finding great stashes all the more exciting. She has a special grabbing tool to help her reach inside dumpster and pick up the food. She encourages others in other cities to find the good sites in their neighborhoods, and to be "discreet, neat, and safe" when dumpster diving. She estimates she's gleaned around $42,000 worth of edible food in a year.
Read more about food waste and food swapping at TreeHugger
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