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The Gleaners Kitchen
April 1, 2013 6:27 AM   Subscribe

Tufts University senior Maximus Thaler is raising funds to start a Freegan, pay what you can restaurant out of a Somerville, MA apartment. Food for the restaurant comes from local dumpsters.
posted by backseatpilot (56 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well that's just the dumbest thing.
posted by Ghost Mode at 6:30 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Food for the restaurant comes from local dumpsters.

If I want Taco Bell, I'll go to Taco Bell.
posted by Fizz at 6:33 AM on April 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


Seriously. They need to word 'artisan' in there to even have a shot in Davis Square.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:33 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


If all you are doing is taking recently expired food, offering it as a once a day meal, and accepting donations, then aren't you just a food shelf/kitchen? We have 2nd Harvest that does that exact thing, but on a massive scale.
posted by Think_Long at 6:36 AM on April 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


“We believe food is a fundamental right, and should be shared freely with all,” the Tufts University student wrote on his Kickstarter page.

If you want to share food freely with all buy some food that you can be pretty sure isn't going to poison people and then give it away. Oh wait, people do that all the time and it doesn't get you in the Huffington Post.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:38 AM on April 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


I get that a lot of perfectly good food is thrown out every day, but... couldn't this guy set up an arrangement with local stores/restaurants so he takes the food they're going to throw out before they actually put it in the dumpster? Stale bread is one thing, stale bread that's touched the bottom of a dumpster and been danced on by roaches is quite another.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:38 AM on April 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think the point isn't that the concept is supposed to be super hip or anything; it's that he's trying to bring focus to how much food we waste and I, for one, am totally on board with that message. I don't know how bad it is in America (I'm sure it's much worse), but many supermarkets in France will even pour bleach into their dumpsters at closing time to make sure no "bad elements" (i.e. impoverished and starving people) will show up to eat perfectly good food that they have thrown away en masse.
posted by Mooseli at 6:40 AM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sure at lot of food is thrown away, but drawing attention to that fact by serving food from dumpsters is putting actually people at risk of illness to draw attention to a cause.

There's also no way this is kosher with the health department, so I'm not sure how any actual restaurant will ever open.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:42 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I know lots of people who dumpster dive; I've done it myself and eaten food dumpstered by others. You must not imagine it as "gas station sandwiches past their sell-by date"; think of it more as "slightly dinged-up lemons, the onions that didn't fit in the display and some bagged bread that was on the shelf yesterday". Although I have met people bringing around some Odwallas that had sat in the dumpster on a hot day and started to swell up and were obviously going bad, and I thought those people were utter fools.

However - the moral of dumpstering is don't blow up the fucking spot, jackass. Look, you're a rich kid from Tufts, you think food should be a human right, and your response is to draw the attention of the authorities to one of the truly free sources of local food? All that is going to happen is either that dumpsters will - at best! - be "rationalized", with extra food being dished out as a charity on charitable, controlling, patronizing terms and the stores getting a fat tax credit or - more likely!- more places locking their dumpsters and pulping their food. All so that some rich kid at Tufts can do a senior project.
posted by Frowner at 6:43 AM on April 1, 2013 [28 favorites]


I don't know how bad it is in America (I'm sure it's much worse), but many supermarkets in France will even pour bleach into their dumpsters at closing time to make sure no "bad elements" (i.e. impoverished and starving people) will show up to eat perfectly good food that they have thrown away en masse.

Ok, this sounds really made up and kind of illegal? Isn't this a sure-fire way to kill homeless people?
posted by Fizz at 6:43 AM on April 1, 2013


I don't know how bad it is in America (I'm sure it's much worse), but many supermarkets in France will even pour bleach into their dumpsters at closing time to make sure no "bad elements" (i.e. impoverished and starving people) will show up to eat perfectly good food that they have thrown away en masse.

This kind of thing does happen. Although around here it's more likely to be, as I say, locking the dumpsters and pulping the food, or mixing it in with other kinds of waste.
posted by Frowner at 6:45 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't wait for the first episode of Tuftslandia on IFC!
posted by bondcliff at 6:47 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I add that one reason I stopped dumpstering is that I can afford my own food, and I didn't want to be drawing attention to dumpstering locations and taking food for myself when there were others out there who really needed it. (Although if finances get tight again I will go right back if needed.)
posted by Frowner at 6:49 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wait. My bullshit meter is uncalibrated today. That article is from last week -- is this for real?

Are we certain that this isn't an elaborate prank that the MIT guys are pulling on Tufts? Because, if I wanted to mock some wannabe social scientists, this is pretty close to how I would do it....
posted by schmod at 6:50 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Although I suppose he means well. I was a bit of a fool about a lot of stuff when I was twenty-two. I mean, I feel kind of bad for him because he's doing a project which is actually going to make it harder for broke people to get food in the long run, a project which is not led by the people he wants to help. What middle class white person among us hasn't done, participated in or advocated for some similar kind of foolery? It's such a shame that people of this general type - among whom I count myself and who really, truly do generally mean well and go to real trouble to help people - have grown up with such limited understanding and end up having to do so much work just to learn the least bare first principles of social change-y stuff.
posted by Frowner at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Reminds me of this news story from last month... I saw it reported on BBC World but I'm only finding the Al Jazeera story in search results.
posted by XMLicious at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2013


I did this, too. It was called "Food Not Bombs."
posted by entropone at 7:04 AM on April 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


However - the moral of dumpstering is don't blow up the fucking spot, jackass. Look, you're a rich kid from Tufts, you think food should be a human right, and your response is to draw the attention of the authorities to one of the truly free sources of local food? All that is going to happen is either that dumpsters will - at best! - be "rationalized", with extra food being dished out as a charity on charitable, controlling, patronizing terms and the stores getting a fat tax credit or - more likely!- more places locking their dumpsters and pulping their food. All so that some rich kid at Tufts can do a senior project.

Not sure I really see this. I don't think a HuffPo article is going to have a significant effect on the way the authorities treat dumpster-diving. And surely there has to be some point at which "blowing up the spot" transitions into "bringing enough attention to the issue of food waste that meaningful change gets accomplished". If this guy really is serving up free meals, I suspect he's doing more good than is necessary to offset the theoretical problem of people cracking down on dumpster-diving based solely on his story.

I don't think it's fair or civil to call this person a jackass. Dude is giving out free meals. It's just Food Not Bombs inside some walls. I get that there are some uncomfortable cobwebs of poverty chic hanging about the story, but that doesn't mean the whole thing's rotten to the core.
posted by threeants at 7:07 AM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I knew a guy in college who actually did this. He is extremely charismatic and managed to get an entire restaurant kitchen donated, and installed in the basement of his rental house. Over 100 people were involved in dumpster diving, cooking, and maintaining the kitchen. There were huge commercial refrigerators full of awesome produce. When I went there I had gnocci in a pumpkin cream sauce and homemade apple juice (they had a giant commercial juicer).

Look, you're a rich kid from Tufts
Formerly rich kid.
posted by miyabo at 7:10 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surely there are better ways to draw attention to the massive amount of food we waste daily.

I have no idea if they do this back home in the States, but here in Quebec I was surprised to see that most major grocery chains have a shelf towards the back of the produce/bread aisle with heavily discounted fruit and bread. It's usually stuff that's about to go stale or just on the edge of being too ripe and not pretty enough for customers. (An excellent source for super ripe bananas to bring home and portion for bread and smoothies!)
posted by Kitteh at 7:11 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


threeants: "but that doesn't mean the whole thing's rotten to the core."

In this case, that might actually be literally true...
posted by schmod at 7:12 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


FoodRunners here in San Francisco goes around to stores and restaurants to collect food that would otherwise be thrown out and delivers it to shelters and food pantries. Prepared foods, too. Does Boston not have such a thing?
posted by rtha at 7:13 AM on April 1, 2013


Boston has Food For Free, at the least. I can't imagine these programs can even take, proportionally speaking, a tiny chip out of the amount of food stores and restaurants toss, though. (Not that they're not doing awesome things.)
posted by threeants at 7:17 AM on April 1, 2013


FFS
posted by OmieWise at 7:23 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was surprised to see that most major grocery chains have a shelf towards the back of the produce/bread aisle with heavily discounted fruit and bread

Growing up, I recall shopping with my mother and my job was to immediately bee-line it to that section of the grocery store and grab any and all vegetables. My mom was a pro at trimming a tiny black part of whatever veggie was deemed unsuitable for full-price. While sometimes the product itself has truly gone bad, I find that the majority of these items simply have blotches or blemishes. These are easily fixed in the kitchen.
posted by Fizz at 7:24 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I knew a guy in college who actually did this. He is extremely charismatic and managed to get an entire restaurant kitchen donated, and installed in the basement of his rental house. Over 100 people were involved in dumpster diving, cooking, and maintaining the kitchen. There were huge commercial refrigerators full of awesome produce. When I went there I had gnocci in a pumpkin cream sauce and homemade apple juice (they had a giant commercial juicer).

See, another concern I have about these very high-profile projects is that - at least around here - they tend to serve mostly white people who are from middle class backgrounds. I know people who are not white and/or middle class who eat meals or get food from them, but overwhelmingly, it's, like, punks feeding punks. There are all kinds of reasons for this - it's not just "because the people putting the project together are terrible over-privileged humans ruining it for The People", but it's a real thing. An awful lot of the white middle-class-led social justice projects I've seen and participated in have been nominally about accessibility for working class people and/or people of color, but because of what you might call the "deep structures" of the organizations, they remained overwhelmingly white and middle class. Thus, there's a large body of post-college middle class white people (many of whom do other more meaningful political work, it is true) who basically sustain themselves because there's this grass-roots community of educated white middle class people who know how to work things and who run projects like this. We periodically lament and wring our hands over the lack of class and race diversity in our projects, not least because most of us don't actually feel like "making delicious free organic food for a bunch of people from posh families who are electing to live on $6,000 a year from odd jobs" is our real calling. But that doesn't fix things.

As a result, I'm really skeptical.

There are actually some great food distribution projects locally run through the radical-but-not-white-anarchist-radical local community center and the Native center, but again, I don't generally get food there because I think it should go to people who need it.
posted by Frowner at 7:24 AM on April 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Ok, yeah, I definitely agree that there's an extreme and pernicious naivete around the idea of "we'll make a free restaurant, and it'll be open to anyone, if they're an educated white leftist and are already tangentially in our social circle!" I just found a bit ridiculous the idea that informal freegan restaurants and "actual" dumpster divers are engaged in any meaningful, material sort of competition over food waste.
posted by threeants at 7:30 AM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I appreciate his wanting to call attention to how much we waste.

However, better still if he devoted his energy to instituting a program like City Harvest which salvages the food before it is thrown away.

Use it in a restaurant if he likes, but rather than taking something perfectly good out of the trash...maybe we could focus on intercepting something perfectly good before it goes into the trash.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on April 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't even need to read this, this is the perfect rundown of timeless New England prep school/private college trustafarian cliches that gave us generations of idiotic LL Bean deadheads
posted by C.A.S. at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


...maybe we could focus on intercepting something perfectly good before it goes into the trash.

I think it would be helpful to start with something simple: expiry dates. I know too many people who over-react when it comes to expiry dates. So much wasted food just thrown in the trash because they're too lazy or too worried to smell something or give it a tiny taste.
posted by Fizz at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2013


Frowner: "An awful lot of the white middle-class-led social justice projects I've seen and participated in have been nominally about accessibility for working class people and/or people of color, but because of what you might call the "deep structures" of the organizations, they remained overwhelmingly white and middle class. "

I was turned off by all of the "community service" stuff that the peers at my college participated in for many of the reasons you described. The service organizations often seemed more interested in managing themselves than they were with actually helping people. I finally walked out when they started discussing how they could apply Lean Six Sigma to the operation of their tiny food pantry (before they'd served a single client). Similarly, a bunch of the other social justice projects boiled down to "punks serving punks," who were overwhelmingly poor and unemployed by choice -- I suppose there's a niche for that, but I have a tough time labeling it as charity, especially when it draws resources away from people who genuinely need them.

However, earlier on (in High School), I worked at a food pantry in my hometown. The demographics of my hometown were overwhelmingly white, suburban, and upper-middle-class. Accordingly, so were the majority of our clients. None of our clients were stereotypical pictures of poverty, and our service probably didn't save any lives. However, all of these families were having trouble making ends meet in one way or another, and for whatever reason didn't feel welcome at the county food pantry (where it was not unreasonable to assume that a middle-class white family would be ridiculed).

Sure, our project boiled down to "white people helping white people," but we helped make sure that lots of kids got full meals before they went off to school. We weren't battling the greatest ills of our society, but we did lend a hand to a few people who genuinely needed it.

"White people helping white people" can be icky, but let's please not conflate that with the dangerously-wrong "white people don't need social services" meme.

Good on this guy for trying to help people out, but I sure do hope that he uses some of the feedback that he's getting to restructure the project into something that will actually help people. City Harvest is a vastly better model for what he's trying to do.
posted by schmod at 7:59 AM on April 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Warning to people with food allergies: Our food may contain, well, anything. We honestly have no idea, since we just found it. Happy eating!"
posted by Aversion Therapy at 8:17 AM on April 1, 2013


In Minnesota, the Twelve Baskets truck used to stop by our restaurant and pick up food. I was always damn glad to know that someone would eat this stuff, since the alternative was the other truck -- which came from a pig farm to get our barrels of food waste -- and that sounded waaaay too much like the end of the Prodigal Son parable (Luke 15:16) for me.

Looks like they are still at it: http://www.2harvest.org/site/PageServer?pagename=progserv_food_rescue
posted by wenestvedt at 8:29 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think our hero is about to learn a major lesson in how the free market works, and how government regulation strangles it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:41 AM on April 1, 2013


That's clever, Chocolate Pickle, our hero's plan does not involve a market or commerce of any kind.

His "restaurant" will be his apartment and folks are invited to share (found) food. He believes he's protected from lawsuits by an 80's act of Congress that protects food distributors who unintentionally sicken people and a Supreme Court ruling that makes trash freely available.

There's nothing to regulate.

His neighbors and his landlord might be unhappy about all this, however.
posted by notyou at 9:17 AM on April 1, 2013


"Warning to people with food allergies: Our food may contain, well, anything. We honestly have no idea, since we just found it. Happy eating!"

Never actually been Dumpster diving, I take it? Because the packaged food that is thrown out is still in all its packaging, with ingredient labels and all. If it's not packaged to begin with it doesn't usually have ingredient labels even in the store (though if you're buying, say, croissants from the grocery store's bakery and those croissants are sold individually, you can usually ask a worker for the ingredients list).
posted by rtha at 9:41 AM on April 1, 2013


That's clever, Chocolate Pickle, our hero's plan does not involve a market or commerce of any kind.

Well, if actually "pay as you go" then he's taking money for it, which would be commerce. I have no idea what gets you regulated in Massachusetts, but it's pretty easy to imagine a set of food safety laws that encompass people who are effectively running free restaurants inside their houses.

The fact that people are poor and might not have any source of food outside of charity is really no reason to ignore the safety of their food.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:43 AM on April 1, 2013


His "restaurant" will be his apartment

Even if that's so, "I want to serve the general public prepared food made from garbage in a room that is radically unsafe for the purpose of serving food to the general public" is not actually better than "I want to serve the general public prepared food made from garbage in a room properly zoned and equipped for serving food to the general public."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:48 AM on April 1, 2013


"Freegan?" Good lord.

"I want to open a freegan restaurant."

"I don't freegan care."
posted by ShutterBun at 12:19 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh, odd. I thought this had been covered in Steal This Book but the closest it comes it getting stuff from crates out back, or right before the dump truck arrives. It doesn't actually go into dumpstering. I'm quite surprised.
posted by Canageek at 1:20 PM on April 1, 2013


If only there were some reason I could ascertain regarding why a person would not prefer to eat food of which he or she is unsure of its source or provenance. If only I could come up with a sensible reason not to, say, take a knife and fork to that deer lying in the median. I wish, I wish, I wish.
posted by NedKoppel at 1:46 PM on April 1, 2013


"His "restaurant" will be his apartment and folks are invited to share (found) food. He believes he's protected from lawsuits by an 80's act of Congress that protects food distributors who unintentionally sicken people".

And it sounds like his claim to legality is because he interprets the law as saying so long as neither The Gleaners Kitchen nor the grocery stores we frequent knowingly put poison in the food, it is legal for the store to give it to us, and for us to give it to you.
Really? I do not think that is the definition of 'gross negligence', which is (according to his own Kickstarter) the exception to this protection. Gross negligence kicks in a lot earlier than 'intentionally poisoning someone'.

However, this is where I really find him obnoxious:

The Gleaners’ Kitchen is based on trust.
For too long we have outsourced our own sense of food quality to the FDA, and our trust in each other to the protection of the law. Every piece of food we serve is hand inspected and washed by the cooks. Who would you prefer to oversee your food, a friendly face with a steaming bowl of soup, or a government agency with an expired label?

Fuck regulation, man. I can sense salmonella!
posted by jacalata at 4:23 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Who would you prefer to oversee your food, a friendly face with a steaming bowl of soup, or a government agency with an expired label?

B! I pick B! Is that the right one? What do I win?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:26 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who would you prefer to oversee your food, a friendly face with a steaming bowl of soup, or a government agency with an expired label?

I also pick the government agency.
posted by grouse at 4:56 PM on April 1, 2013


I'm an ex Food Not Bombs participant who was involved in both the cooking and logistical/food collection ends of things. As people have mentioned before, Food Not Bombs' aims are very similar to what this guy is aiming to do. Food Not Bombs chapters also appear, fold, and reappear notoriously quickly. Some of that turnover is punk infighting, but a lot of it boils down to the fact that running a weekly large-scale cooking operation that relies heavily on dumpstering and volunteer labor is really freaking hard. For reference, the FNB chapter I was part of dissolved after a little over a year due to lack of volunteers and burnout on the part of the small core.

Here are some of the logistical pitfalls I think this guy's gonna run up against eventually, based on my experience. I'm not gonna touch his patronizing attitude, the high probability that his operation will boil down to "punks feeding punks," or the fact that he seems to have done no research on real food insecurity and food access issues in low-income communities.

1) Transportation. On weeks when a dumpster haul is good, it's really really good--he's not exaggerating about the hundreds of pounds of food. Unfortunately, you can't drag hundreds of pounds of food with you on the bus or train. Given that he appears to be getting food home somehow, I assume he has a car. But do any of his friends, or anyone else who would participate in this venture, have cars? (Given that this is greater Boston and that he/presumably most of his friends are students, the answer might well be no.) There will inevitably come a week where this guy has another event that conflicts with a time when he really needs to pick up food. If nobody else can cover the food pick-up that week, everyone's screwed.

2) Reliability. At least in my experience dumpster diving, you won't hit the jackpot every week. Some weeks there will be no food. Some weeks everything will be legitimately rotten. Some weeks you will find yourself with a hundred pounds of bread and no produce. And the great unspoken rule of dumpstering is that it won't get you all the ingredients you need to make food taste good. It's very rare to find cooking oil or spices in a dumpster, for instance. In the inevitable event that you need to use those ingredients, you need to buy your own, and given that you're cooking on a large scale those costs add up. Or you hit a week with no dumpster food, but people are still expecting a meal, so you make it up out of whatever food is there in your house and it may be on the, um, creative side. (Ask me about ramen noodle lentil canned salmon soup!)

Honestly, building personal relationships with restaurants or groceries is tons more effective for gathering "dumpstered" food than actual dumpstering is. My housemates and I were never very good at it, but this guy may have the social capital to pull it off.

3) Volunteer labor: I seriously rolled my eyes when I read that this guy wants a meal a day and 24/7 access. Unless he plans to actually incorporate as a restaurant and deal with real taxes and payroll and things, he is doing this all on the backs of volunteer labor. Volunteers are unpredictable. They move away, they get paying jobs and have to quit doing unpaid work, they just quit showing up to things sometimes because hey, it's a volunteer thing and no one's paying me, so why do I need to. His friends may be dedicated and have dumpstering down to a system now, but wait until they all move away after college and he has to train his first batch of non-students. For that matter, is this guy even tied to Somerville/Cambridge/Boston that strongly?

My group had a hard time even getting a small group of volunteers to show up for one meal and one night of dumpstering per week. I frankly can't imagine doing it every day. And he wants to have speakers and open mics out of the space too, in addition to managing the cooking logistics? I really hope he has a good not-exclusively-student volunteer base built up. If he doesn't, he is looking at major burnout sooner rather than later.

Good intentions, but this kid's gonna flame out big time at the rate he's going. Either that or he's gonna start reading more nuanced and in-depth stuff about food justice, realize what he's up against, and hopefully change his strategy. I sincerely hope the latter thing happens before the former, but I doubt it.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:04 PM on April 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


You know, I don't seem to have as viscerally bad a reaction to this as other people. Probably as I've heard some CBC radio specials about a group of people that hadn't eaten any non-found food for over a year, or this Reddit AMA . I know it can be done safely, but on a RESTAURANT scale? The AMA person only managed to get 1/3 of their food from it.
posted by Canageek at 6:01 PM on April 1, 2013


ActionPopulated, re 1) Transportation - it doesn't sound like he has a car at all, he has added a Kickstarter goal to cover this: Our new goal is to raise $1000 to fix up Dr. Deesnuts, a custom made bike truck. He needs new brakes, wheels, handle bars, and most importantly a motor, so that The Gleaners Kitchen has a dedicated vehicle to dumpster and deliver food around Boston.
posted by jacalata at 6:04 PM on April 1, 2013


. . . Our new goal is to raise $1000 to fix up Dr. Deesnuts, a custom made bike truck.

I can add nothing to this.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:24 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


"White people helping white people" can be icky, but let's please not conflate that with the dangerously-wrong "white people don't need social services" meme.

Yeah, this whole idea seems willfully ignorant of the structural issues behind the class struggle. They're seeing hungry people and saying "Ok we'll source free, wasted food and make it available to them". Great. They should be dedicating their time to fighting for a system where those hungry people have enough resources to feed themselves. Jobs. Land. A social safety net. Power.
posted by Jimbob at 6:39 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


So about that bike truck; right now this guy is 22, he's at the peak of health, he's got no problem biking around with a hundred plus pound load of food. But let's assume that he wants to keep this up for a number of years. As he gets older and his body starts its inevitable decline, biking around with that heavy load is gonna get increasingly burdensome, even with a motor in place. Maybe he'll be able to recruit enough younger volunteers that there's always someone to ride the bike, but volunteer coordination is complicated, as I said above. For that matter, scrambling around in dumpsters and lifting out the food bags takes a level of agility that he's not always gonna have. I'm not even assuming a catastrophic disabling accident or illness here; I'm just thinking about normal aging, normal bodily wear and tear.

The whole model of this restaurant seems predicated on the faulty assumption that one guy can retain a twenty-two year-old's strength and energy forever. Either that or that he'll be able to retain a constant stream of young volunteers. Neither of those assumptions is really safe.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:46 PM on April 1, 2013


I left my idealism in the dumpster out back if anyone wants it.
posted by desjardins at 7:08 PM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


They should be dedicating their time to fighting for a system where those hungry people have enough resources to feed themselves.

Susan: Look... how would you make sure everyone in the world was well fed?
Bilious: Me? Oh, well, I... I suppose you'd have to think about the prevalent political systems, and the proper cultivation of arable land, and —
Susan: Yes, yes. But he'd just give everyone a good meal.
Bilious: Oh, I see. Very impractical. Hah, it's as silly as saying you could clothe the naked by, well, giving them some clothes.

Maybe the fellow is doing what he can, with what he has? And is putting aside the sorting out of society's systematic failings for when he's got a free weekend to work on it.

I think he may be better off working with Food not Bombs or a food bank or something, myself. But I can't blame him for actually feeding hungry people and not just theory-side teach-ins and consciousness-raising about how important it is to feed the hungry.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:14 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I can't blame him for actually feeding hungry people

Is he actually feeding hungry people? Or, as others have suggested, is he feeding privileged middle-class folk who are roughing it for a couple of years for fun before they give up and take that job at their dad's financial services firm?
posted by Jimbob at 7:26 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I know lots of people who dumpster dive; I've done it myself and eaten food dumpstered by others. You must not imagine it as "gas station sandwiches past their sell-by date"; think of it more as "slightly dinged-up lemons, the onions that didn't fit in the display and some bagged bread that was on the shelf yesterday".

I'm pretty sure that we call this activity "Haymarket" in Boston.
posted by maryr at 9:13 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also of note on that bike truck: We got an awful lot of snow in Boston this winter.
posted by maryr at 9:14 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rebecca: Are you the ones leaveing the muffin pieces behind our shelter?

Elaine: You been enjoying them?

Rebecca: They're just stumps.

Elaine: Well they're perfectly edible.

Rebecca: Oh, so you just assume that the homeless will eat them, they'll eat anything?

Mr. Lippman: No no, we just thought...

Rebecca: I know what you thought. They don't have homes, they don't have jobs, what do they need the top of a muffin for? They're lucky to get the stumps.

Elaine: If the homeless don't like them the homeless don't have to eat them.

Rebecca: The homeless don't like them.

Elaine: Fine.

Rebecca: We've never gotten so many complaints. Every two minutes, "Where is the top of this muffin? Who ate the rest of this?"

Elaine: We were just trying to help.

Rebecca: Why don't you just drop off some chicken skins and lobster shells.
posted by banshee at 3:22 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


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