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"You Dive in This Dumpster Often?"

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 8, 2007 4:22PM

2007_10_freegan.jpgIn yesterday's Tribune, John Kass discovered the existence of "freegans." Like Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens trying to describe the Internet, Kass ridicules the movement as "equal parts youth, privilege, guilt and Al Gore's wackier environmental pronouncements mixed with bits of what your socialist professors told you in college but you can't remember, exactly" while theorizing (via his assistant) that most freegans embrace the philosophy because "(i)t's all about getting dates."

We have a hard time believing that Kass just found out about freegans. While we don't embrace the concept ourselves, we know enough about the subject to not simplify it the way Kass did in his column, as though he was just trying to fill column space. It's about more than just rooting around trash for dinner while trying to impress naive co-eds and hipsters. To those who fully embrace the concept, freeganism is a legitimate economic philosophy rooted in showcasing the wastefulness of our society. Groups that bring a whimsical smile to our face, like the Rat Patrol, have philosophies rooted in freeganism. It isn't completely about dumpster diving for food. Some freegans would argue that it's an immediate, walk-the-walk practice of recycling useful materials with better efficiency than the blue bag program. Like any counterculture philosophy, it's also easy to pick out the true adherents of the practice from the poseurs without making blanket assumptions.

"The wastes of capitalism are delicious" via Shira Golding on flickr.