Calling it stealing is crazy: Liked your "freegans" story. It demonstrated just how much food is wasted. And why shouldn't those in need be allowed to have this stuff? Even those not in need. It's destined for the garbage dump!
To call it stealing just doesn't make any kind of sense.
That some of those profiled choose to live without jobs, using only discarded material — including food — is fascinating. Reminds me, in a way, of the movie The Big Lebowski, only more so.
Interesting and a departure from your usual shtick of laughing at the green movement.
Mel Diamond, Phoenix
Dig the Gleaners: The Gleaners is an international society that's been in existence for thousands of years. In fact, the Bible has laws that allow gleaning (the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or in fields not economically profitable to harvest).
In the modern world, gleaning is practiced by humanitarian groups that distribute gleaned food to the poor and hungry. In a modern context, this can include the collection of food that would otherwise be thrown away by supermarkets at the end of the day. There are a number of organizations that practice gleaning to resolve issues of societal hunger — the Society of St. Andrew, for example.
I did this type of work for our production of the Rock Against Racism tour back in the 1980s with a member of the Chicago branch of the Gleaners society. We fed the whole crew at the concert we gave at the Encanto Park band shell that night.
Please look up gleaning in Wikipedia and learn what self-sufficient people have been doing to recycle, reduce, and reuse for some time before you at New Times decided it was newsworthy.
You should do more stories like this. Your anti-green campaign has gotten old.
James Bailey, Phoenix
Let 'em have the garbage: Eating garbage is disgusting, but not if the food is still pristine, which is the way some of it sounds in your story.
In any case, if those dumpster-diving zealots don't care about disease from the stuff, I say let 'em have it. It's ridiculous to outlaw taking garbage — food that nobody wants — from behind restaurants.
John Fallows, Phoenix
So-called anarchists: Thank you for this extraordinarily well-written article. I'm glad that New Times is bringing attention to the majority of society's wasteful habits. It's good to let people know that even grocery chains could be doing something other than throwing away "bad" and unsellable food.
However, I really want to applaud you for highlighting some of the more hypocritical and ridiculous aspects of the movement against consumerism. I can only hope that these so-called anarchists don't brush off this article or the journalist for "not getting it."
Freegans = trust-funders?: What the so-called freegans are doing is pretty much considered theft, even if all they're doing is stealing from a garbage can.
I guarantee that most of these kids [mentioned] are either trust-fund babies or will be working for "tha man" within five years.
These folks are laughably shortsighted: It's true that waste is epidemic in our society, and it's a good thing that some companies are doing their best to mitigate it. Organizations designed to feed the hungry are also great for America, and I'm glad that governments put laws and programs into place that make it easier for them to function.
However, I'm disappointed that, in this day in age, so many of these self-proclaimed freegans can be this laughably shortsighted, disparaging of the society that allows for the medicine, security, and plenitude they enjoy.
That [society] allows for the cell phones they reconnoiter with, the bicycles and cars that let them sustain their freeganistic ways? I may be wasteful, but I'm no angst-ridden hypocrite.
If it's locked, let it be: I work for one of the local trash companies in the Valley. Sometimes I ride with the drivers, and I have to say it's just amazing what's being thrown away. Both the quality and quantity of the items is mind-boggling.
I personally am not against dumpster diving. It keeps items out of the landfill and, in this case, it is feeding hungry people.
What I am against — and most of it is attributed to illegal dumping — is trash strewn all over the ground with lids and locks [of containers] ripped off.
Keep it clean, and leave locked dumpsters alone. They are [locked] for a reason.
Sad story: Let's get this straight: We have an elected politician/law enforcement officer who pays outrageous salaries to his double-dipping top lieutenants, who then have money directly withdrawn from their paychecks into a fund intended for his re-election, in amounts that clearly exceed campaign finance laws.
The sheriff, then, returns the favor by paying exorbitant amounts of overtime to the lieutenants' family members. Also, one of these top lieutenants runs the shadowy political-action committee, accepting five-figure campaign donations from unknown out-of-state sources, which directly affect the outcome of an election.
Anyone who dares question this obvious corruption is arrested, thrown in jail, forced to defend himself in court (the charges never stick), and is otherwise intimidated by the sheriff and his henchmen — who obviously have so much to lose if they are exposed.
Then, to top it all off, the county anti-corruption task force is headed by none other than [Chief Deputy David] Hendershott.
Where is the FBI?? Where is state Attorney General Terry Goddard? Where is the rest of the mainstream media? Is there a rule of law in Arizona?
Chad Snow, Peoria
Crooks, cranks, thieves, and liars: The Arizona Republican Party is the party of crooks, cranks, thieves, and liars. The party of Joe Arpaio and state Senator Russell Pearce and former Governor Fife Symington and the lipless wonder, Congressman Trent Franks. It is no longer the party of Barry Goldwater and Burton Barr.
Dave Symansky, Golden Valley
Joe's world is crumbling: To Joel Fox and David Hendershott: Liar, liar, pants on fire! And to all you Sheriff Joe supporters: What part of illegal don't you get? Sheriff Joe's world is crumbling around him, and I'm loving every minute of it.
You folks at New Times keep up the good work and dig ever deeper into corrupt mean ol' Joe Arpaio.
Robert Rodriguez, Mesa