Any Freegan dopers? Is the Freeganism lifestyle sustainable?

That’s not an ethos - it’s what used be be called ‘being a bum.’

For what it’s worth, I have read this about Ghandi in many unrelated primary sources and am prepared to believe it. It is an ayurvedic practice and Wikipedia confirms that the it was not unknown in India:

A few years ago I did one night of dumpster diving with a freegan who showed me how to do it. She had a method of knowing when most grocery stores, cafes, and bakeries closed, so you had to be there soon after their trash was thrown out to get there before the rats. There were trash bags on the sidewalk, and she was very good at figuring out which bags had food just by feeling the outside of the bag. There were bags of produce, cheese, etc that expired on that same day that were edible. Outside Au Bon Pain, there was a bag of individually wrapped sandwiches (and other baked goods) that sold for $6 just a few minutes before we got there.

It was very educational and not as disgusting as you may think because the food we took was all individually wrapped and expired that same day. I did take a sandwich from Au Bon Pain and ate it, and I took home a package of cheese that was completely sealed. The food products were in separate garbage bags from the regular garbage. I never had to touch or see anything disgusting.

The woman who did this was sane as far as I could tell, and she said she had not purchased food for 2 years. She didn’t dressed fashionably but otherwise seemed normal.

The only reason I never did it again was the social stigma, but I respected that she did that. It dispelled a lot of misconceptions I had.

I wanted to add that I respected that she could get over the social stigma that I could not. I wish I could, but I’m not cool enough for that.

SO I spoke with a buddy of mine from Chicago who knowsa bunch of Freegans. Apparently, Portland, OR is their Mecca, as the city mandates that all food items be thrown away in green plastic bags…I don’t know the official reason, but practically, it just makes things even easier for a Freegan lookin’ for some chow.

I never lived on a commune but I visited a few; I was invited to join one due to my being a VW mechanic but I declined. Anyway, the behavior you describe fit the average street person as well as commune dwellers. I escaped all that behavior since I always worked; in those days, a VW mechanic could count on finding either a job or a bunch of free lance work wherever he went. But even today, I’m nostalgic for what the hippies were when the movement began, before it became corrupted. I had some wonderfully enlightening experiences back then and I never took any hallucinogenic drugs at all.

Freegans, Don’t come here. We’ve got enough homeless hippies.

I’ve not heard the green plastic bag thing.

Me neither. My husband and I once accidentally happened into a freegan-like bonanza. It was about 11:50 pm and we stopped into a bakery that closed at midnight to order about 6 pastries. We gave our order, then proceeded to choose our six. Each time we made a selection, the guy would say “here, take 'em all” and then when we were done, he threw in a huge additional number of pastries we hadn’t even asked for. Of course, it wasn’t strictly a freegan acquisition, because it was initiated by the fact we were paying for something. However, it was quite clear that if we timed it right, we would be able to get “two dozen for the price of one” deals on delicious pastry simply by frequenting that bakery just before midnight.

And yet, we never did it again. Once was serendipitous. Knowingly doing it again would have felt like begging/cadging.

VW mechanics were pretty valuable, especially to people trying to figure it out from the Idiot’s Guide. I was a programmer and could always pick up contract work too when I wanted to so money was easy to come by. I came in at the very tail end of that era and there weren’t many real hippies left that weren’t living on communes. The people that looked like hippies were basically just street people with tie-dyes. The closest thing that was left for people my age was Dead tour and it didn’t really compare well since we didn’t stay in one place. I visited a few places that were blissninny-sweet and where everyone worked hard to make a home together and there was something tempting about a living life that simply, but I had other ideas.

I can’t say the same about hallucinogenics. Most of the enlightening experiences I had that way made no sense at all in the morning, if I remembered them at all. I had loads of fun though.

I’ve known people who have dumpster dove for food. They’ve been people on the RenFest circuit - which isn’t usually one of those ‘living the high life’ career options.

I’m no freegan, but I do enjoy a good dumpster dive. I wouldn’t have bothered to post this except…I had a major “holy shit I can’t believe it!” find today!

A gen-yoo-ine IBM buckling spring keyboard!

It’s totally filthy and I have no idea if it works–but if it does, me and that baby are gonna have a date with some q-tips and rubbing alcohol, and then it’s clicky clicky clicky all the way home!

It probably also helps keep the actual garbage (the disgusting stuff) from getting scattered on the street.

Wow… that’s… um… certainly a different and unique lifestyle choice.

Sounds more like an attempt to justify being a Derro to me, though. I’ll stay with my Capitalist buying food from the supermarket (or shooting it myself), having a job, and not having to scrounge through bins like a homeless person, thanks.

Interesting. Thanks for the link!

My brother dumpster-dives. I must say it’s an absolute scandal how much perfectly good food gets thrown away. Trader Joe’s will throw out a dozen eggs if one is cracked, and a bag of oranges if one is imperfect.

I can’t bring myself to do it, but I don’t think it’s horrible that he lessens the wastage in the world.

Maybe we could form a Straight Dope dumpster diving club.

We can call it the SDDDC. Catchy, eh?

Apropos of nothng, one of my cousins and I were once accused of being evil, soulless bastards for eating venison from a deer he had killed during hunting season. The complainer was eating steak and that time and did not grasp any contradiction in her position.

Maybe it is a personal quirk of mine, but I simply can’t imagine myself eating stuff out of the garbage, unless I was forced to it by starvation. :eek:

*Garbage dump, oh garbage dump
Why are you called a garbage dump?
Garbage dump, oh garbage dump
Why are you called a garbage dump?

You could feed the world with my garbage dump
You could feed the world with my garbage dump
You could feed the world with my garbage dump
That sums it up in one big lump.*
-Charles Manson

Very forward-thinking, Charlie.