Freegans Are Not Only Resistant To Advertising, But Commercialism Itself

The Times: The Thanksgiving holiday is over and the frenzied Christmas shopping season has begun. This is bonanza time for the tribe of rummaging Americans known as “freegans”.
The anti-capitalist freegans — the name combines “free” and “vegan” — are so appalled by the waste of the consumer society that they try to live on the leftovers, scavenging for food in supermarket dustbins.
“It’s fun. It’s a thrill. It’s more fun and more satisfying than just going to the store and saying, ‘I wanted some bread and I got it’. It’s the surprise — and the prize,” said Janet Kalish, a New York high school teacher who describes herself as “60 per cent freegan”.
A 1997 study by the US Department of Agriculture estimated that the US wastes about 43 billion kilograms of food a year. That is about 27 per cent of US production, but the true figure is as much as 50 per cent, according to ten years of research by Timothy Jones at the University of Arizona.
Adam Weissman, a freegan activist and sometime security guard in New Jersey, says freeganism grew out of the radical 1960s “yippie” movement but also has affinities with the hobos of the Great Depression who travelled around the country by stealing rides on the railways.
“I have pity for people who have not figured out this lifestyle,” he said. “I am able to take long vacations from work, I have all kinds of consumer goods, and I eat a really healthy diet of really wonderful food: white asparagus and cactus fruit, three different kinds of mushrooms and four different kinds of pre-cut salad. And I’m just thinking of what is in my refrigerator right now.
“Essentially, the sky’s the limit. We found flat-screen TVs, working boom-boxes and stereos. I have put together most of my wardrobe. Last year’s designer clothing in perfect shape is discarded because it’s no longer fashionable, so I wear a lot of designer labels.”

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan seeking the perfect pale ale in the Pacific Northwest. Copywriter and brand strategist at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://www.adpulp.com/archives/2005/11/freegans_are_no.php gandolf

    boy, these ppl insist on missing points that have been well understood for ages; joseph started the program in egypt and fdr established in america the practice of planning to produce – and producing much more food than could be sold. this is necessary because insufficient food is not like insufficient anything else and is catastroph itself!!
    somehow, you quote a professor somewhere in AZ tring to establish a ‘more effecient’ system that would create ocassional famine. is he that ignorant? i wish i felt sure a professor would not be, but experience….well, u know well :)