Joe Fornabaio for The New York Times
I was thrilled when my friend Courtney sent me this NY times article about freegans http://tinyurl.com/3annxf.
One of my sisters, who lives in Madison, WI, spends lots of time diving in dormitory dumpsters getting books and other usable items to sell on eBay. She is also a member of Food Not Bombs. I love the idea of being a freegan, although living in a small decaying industrial city limits the wealth found in my neighborhood dumpsters. I pretty much stick to getting produce out of the Aldi dumpster.
I think freeganism, while worthwhile, can only represent a temporary response to an awful reality. In America, we suffer from an overwhelming glut of consumer goods. We have TOO MUCH STUFF, and we are constantly being encouraged and pressured to buy more and more. It's wonderful that freegans are "dropping out" of the consumption racket and preventing usable items from ending up in landfills.
But for a long-term solution, I think that ALL of us must adopt a simpler lifestyle consuming less overall and supporting sources of ecologically-sustainable and healthy consumer goods. I don't need more furniture or clothing or "gourmet meals" made from dumpster-dived meat and cheese.
Gardening and foraging for food may actually be more ecologically-responsible in the long-term than dumpster diving.