Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Freegans find free feasts
by John Ranard

Janet, a high school Spanish teacher, napped after Madeline’s gourmet meal, her body satiated with the comfort of a full stomach.

The lucky ones invited to Madeline’s two-bedroom West Village apartment were served carrot ginger soup, followed by ratatouille (onions, peppers, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes sautéed in olive oil), organic salad with spinach, roasted baby potatoes and whole wheat bread. Homemade lemonade was the drink and the dessert, frozen banana whipped into sherbet.

The ingredients came from New York’s bountiful streets, actually from trash bags on the sidewalks in front of grocery stores where an hour earlier the food would have sold at full price. The fruits and vegetables, and whatever packaged foods that had reached their expiration date, had been discarded at the end of the stores’ working day. The food is free for the picking during the two-hour magical period, usually from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. — between closing time and trash pickup time.

This is when the Freegans show up and the street party begins. The Freegans are a loosely organized group of activists — some of whom are vegans — calling attention to the waste of our marketplaces.


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