The way I've heard this term used is pretty much the opposite. 'Freegan' food is non-vegan food which a vegan eats anyway because its being given to them, or because its going to be thrown away otherwise. For instance, if I couldn't finish a hamburger, and was going to throw it away, a 'freegan' would eat it, because it is going to waste anyway, and they had not purchased it themselves and therefore aren't supporting carnivory. Also related is the concept of Eat it, don't read it.

A friend of mine (who practices freeganism) explained it to me this way:

She is a vegan because, although she has no problem with eating animal products that do not require harming the animal (for instance milk or honey), she does not want to financially support factory farming. She will, however, buy and eat animal products from farmers who guarantee that animals were not harmed or abused in the process of making the product.

When something is free, her eating of the product does not lend any support to industries that abuse animals, so if she can have some cheesecake that will otherwise just go to waste, why not eat the free cheesecake?

Of course, she still doesn't eat meat, free or not. One has to draw the line somewhere.

Okay, maybe I’m not as green as Al Gore wants me to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for protecting the environment against global warming and for the reduction of greenhouse gases and I probably have a bit more than I need to get by on a daily basis. But lets face it, my car won’t run on biodiesel, I don’t recycle all that much and I think that whole carbon credit energy tax thing is way beyond my understanding. I admire people who take the time and energy to go out of their way and to make improvements in their consumption patterns but then again there always seems to be a group of people willing to take it to the next degree.

In this case, they call themselves “Freegans”.

Bunch of freegan nut jobs if you ask me…
Freegan Philosophy

According to their website ( the folks are “are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.”

Sure sounds idyllic doesn’t it? This is just the kinda thing that makes we want to go out and engage in an extended group hug or dance stark naked around the Maypole with a look of rapture plastered on my face.

Some of you that are like minded must be asking the same question that I am right and that is, how do I achieve such nirvana?

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

I’m of the opinion that that might be true of certain things such as old clothes, used furniture and maybe a used car every now and then. After all, organizations such as Volunteers of America and various other charitable organizations make their living by taking people’s old worn out shit that’s been buried in the basement for years and putting it to good use. They do this by asking for donations and the selling it at a deep discount to those folks that have found themselves in unfortunate circumstances.

Not so with the Freegans. They prefer to go out and do what I’d term dumpster diving but what they call “urban foraging”. That means they prowl through the garbage looking for clothes and other non-perishables that they can squirrel away for later use.

And it’s just not non-perishables. These folks also make nightly forays into the garbage bins of grocery stores and restaurants looking for food and drink that they claim are still edible.

I’m guessing there’s a line of lawyers a mile long just waiting for the first lawsuit by a Freegan claiming food poisoning or for getting themselves injured while extricating themselves from a particularly nasty dumpster.

From point A to point B

Naturally, Freegans have an aversion to the automobile and I cant’ say that I disagree with them. They claim that the pollution they emit and the environment they consume in the form of roads, car dealerships, gas stations and repair shops would like much nicer if there were trees and forests in their place. Instead, they get around by skating, biking and walking.

Apparently they have no qualms over hitchhiking. The logic behind this is they are taking up empty space in a car that wasn’t being used anyway and therefore aren’t burning up any additional gasoline.

Not fer nuthin, but I make it practice never to pick up hitchhikers. Better safe than sorry but in the off chance that I did, I certainly wouldn’t want to be lectured on the evils of my consumerism from somebody who just had their thumb out looking for a ride.

We all gotta live somewhere…

In one of the tenets of Freeganism, they claim that housing is a right and not a privilege. They consider private property an “abstract notion” and that any building that has been abandoned or fallen into disrepair belongs to the “people”. They believe they have what is known as squatters' rights and that the people who do own they buildings, be it individuals, businesses or the state and don’t deserve to own them in the first place.

I maybe going out on a limb and I don’t know about you but I kinda like electricity and toilets that flush….

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on the drum all day

Standing in line marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes
Just for fun he says "Get a job"

Ah, Good ol’ Bruce Horsnby

If you haven’t gathered by now, Freegans don’t have what you might call a traditionally strong work ethic. To them, work is monotonous, boring and stressful and they’d rather not do it if they didn’t have to.

To that I say “No shit, Sherlock.”

They question the reasons why they have to leave the confines of their shanty in the first place and pay bills like most of the rest of us. To me, taken as a group, they sound too self important and too righteous for their own good.

They’d rather moan about the existence of others than get a life of their own.

It does leave me with one thought though, which one of them had the ambition to put up a website and how many Freegans actually go there?


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