Friday, July 17, 2009

Freegans Vs. Gleaners

There's a new term out there coined "Freegan, Freeganism, or Freegans" - what ever one wants to coin it, it looks like a self-righteous, polished spin on a Gleaner to me. If you are not familiar with the term Gleaner, it has been around forever. I recommend watching the movie, "The Gleaners and I" by Agnes Varda. It is a documentary that is fantasticly entertaining.

Jean-Fran├žois Millet's famous painting "Les Glaneuses ( The Gleaners)", painted in 1857 also depicts Gleaners scavenging the fields. picture courtesy of

Gleaners would go out in the fields and pick bits and pieces of crops that were left over after the Lords harvested. This is how they fed their families. It is amazing how much is left out in the fields after the crops were harvested. Modern day Gleaners are found throughout the world. City Gleaners glean from dumpsters, farmers market (including French Markets in France), and backs of restaurants. Country Gleaners still comb the fields for what crops are grown in their area.

Freegans, as described on their own website, and wikipedia
salvage the food and other things for political reasons rather than out of necessity.Whether is it called dumpster diving, skipping, gleaning, wild foraging, or freeganing, it is all the same to me.

Supermarket Dumpster
containing unopened beverage, chips, sugar and more.

Freegans also repair bicycles and share with others who have no transportation. Freegans share housing and rides across country. All things worth looking at for those of us who are looking at how tent cities operate :-)

Humm, Gleaner or Freegan? Maybe It is better to title oneself a Freegan instead of a Gleaner. Then it would appear that one was doing it out of a choice rather than necessity. I could make T-shirts exclaiming my position ( look for them soon on my link ).
For now I am going to have to get my handy booklet out- that we made in our last post- and start charting the dumpsters to see who is throwing out what and when. The thought of picking food out of the dumpster, I admit, sounds quite unappetizing. But, My interest is peaked after what I have seen and read. So, I may venture out to see what I can find.

COMING SOON- How to pick your neighbor's vegetables with their permission.

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