Starving college students have been known to come up with creative ways to get free and/or cheap food. But Tufts University student Maximus Thaler is taking frugal to a whole new level. He and a crew of dumpster-diving
hippies friends want to start up a restaurant (read: soup kitchen, because they don't actually want to charge anyone for the food) with goods they "glean" from the dumpsters of Boston's grocery stores.
"We believe food is a fundamental right and should be shared freely with all," he writes on a Kickstarter page created to raise money for a restaurant space out of which he hopes to open a freegan cafe called The Gleaners' Kitchen. Thaler says the 24-hour cafe will offer concerts, poetry readings, coffee, and ever-flowing lentil soup for the hungry.
If you check out the video above, you'll see that not only do they pull a lot of food from the dumpsters but most of does, in fact, look perfectly edible -- providing of course, you can get over the fact that it was previously sitting in the dumpster. Thaler says according to theNational Resources Defense Council
, supermarkets throw away an average of $2,300 worth of expired but edible food every night.
For about a year, he's been taking some of that food and cooking for himself and friends. But now he wants to take things up a notch by opening up cafe that will serve only food he and others find in dumpsters. It's part of a growing "freegan" movement of "people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." These freegans believe in boycotting waste, money, and paying rent, among other things.
"We give away food because it is the meaningful way we've found to exchange value with one another," he says in a Kickstarter video.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He admits in the video that it's pretty ironic for a freegan to be asking for money, but he explains that they haven't yet found a way to "glean" a restaurant space and, therefore, need money (however, evil it may be) to pay rent and utilities. They've already well surpassed their original goal of $1,500 but have now set a stretch goal to get money to fix up their custom-made delivery bike.
In case you're wondering about the legality of this operation, the "Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act" protects them from liability, according to Thaler, a philosophy of science major.
So what do you think about the freegan movement? Weigh in through the comment section below.