Do you know any one that 'dumpster dives' and would you eat food reclaimed from a dumpster?

  • Posted by: Sam1148
  • January 12, 2014


Pegeen January 17, 2014
Bevi - yes! Thank you so much for tying it in. Here's another blurb I saw in The New York Times:
Bevi January 17, 2014
It's a great idea, and if taken on as a national effort, will enable more people to eat healthy food at McDonald's prices.
Bevi January 15, 2014
This is slightly related to this thread. Food that is over sell by or best buy dates will be resold as prepared meals as part of a new venture. Please take a look at this NPR feature>>>

healthierkitchen January 15, 2014
Sam, I'm sorry your friend is "over" dealing with the VA. Sadly, it is a severely disfunctional, overburdened and/or understaffed agency and as a trained attorney (and former Govt employee) myself, I nearly reached my wit's end trying to deal with them for my mother regarding some benefits from my Dad's service. The worst was trying to get through to a live person on the phone or get a response to a letter. Months went by between communications. It pains me to think of our current vets receiving the same or worse treatment and lack of service for their service. Worst is, as the NYT reported recently, there are attorneys who prey on vets, offering to help them get their owed benefits at ridiculously large fees. Sad all around. You might be able to get him some help via the community outreach person at the office of his member of Congress. I had some contact with mine and she could have been very helpful if I had approached them earlier. They needed copies of all prior communication and by the time I learned about this approach, the file was several inches thick and it overwhelmed me to copy and further organize it. Ultimately, my mother passed away before getting resolution. We were lucky that my brother and I were in a position to step in and support her financially, but the treatment for those without such support is the same.
Sam1148 January 15, 2014
Thanks for that, I was also thinking there might be some resources available at the VFW or at least advice.
Pegeen January 14, 2014
Meant to add: to SKK's comment, what is happening when people cannot afford to buy food. A very common problem is that those who need help are the least able - for various reasons - to persist and navigate the social systems to get help. That is where human beings helping each other 1 on 1 works. Very often, helping people can be gritty, not exactly fun and not rewarded. But to see someone start to feel better, or solve a problem, or develop some confidence, because you provided some support - that is worth a million dollars.
Pegeen January 14, 2014
As I understand it, there is dumpster diving as a "hip" thing - I think it's what's called Freeganism - and dumpster diving by those who must do it for survival.
SKK, in addition to Ruth Reichl's autobiography, there is Jeannette Walls's "The Glass Castle" a phenomenal story of childhood poverty and the power of the human spirit to survive and thrive.
bigpan January 14, 2014
My local grocery store, Safeway, only puts the very rotten stuff in their dumpster. Twice a day produce, bread, deli meats are selected and given to the seniors ctr for lunches, and to shelters for dinners and food bank packages. However, I have seen folks dumpster diving behind some nice restaurants and probably are doing okay - as long as they get their fast. Often a couple guys will loiter by the kitchen back door and "assist" the kitchen staff by grabbing the garbage bags offering to put them in the dumpster after they search through for half a $40 ribeye. They "own" their dumpster area and keep it quite clean.

All in all, a commentary on our society - one way or the other.
luvcookbooks January 14, 2014
I agree with SKK. This is a huge philosophical question, really a moral question. Sam, have you ever read Ruth Reichl's first volume of her autobiography "Tender at the Bone". She foraged for food in dumpsters before it was called freegan, when she lived in Berkeley. Love that book, tho not the second and third volumes. Her mom also took food waste to a new plane because of ?untreated bipolar. Very sad.

Voted the Best Reply!

SKK January 14, 2014
Miss the term Food Pickle - this is a pickle. The question may be something like "In this country of food abundance and admonishments in writing about how much food we waste, what is happening that people we love and care about have dumpster diving as an only option?" And thank you for introducing this topic in this format.
Pegeen January 13, 2014
You're a good friend. I volunteer with Vets. We cannot do too much for those who have served in the military, whether we agree with the wars or not. So in my small opinion, if you can help make sure he is getting all the benefits he deserves, that's such a good thing!
Pegeen January 13, 2014
p.s. Sam1148, if your friend served in the military, s/he should be receiving enough in military reimbursement to pay for food. If not, the big issue is to help him make his case to the local Veterans administration.
Sam1148 January 13, 2014
He only got partial disability. But does need to explore other options like SNAP and other things; he's a bit 'over' dealing with the VA at this time tho. I'll bring it up again tho--he needs a good social worker.
Pegeen January 13, 2014
Sam11148, in answer your question: I don't know any Freegans personally. They have a major point. I think most of us wouldn't notice if we ate food that was a little past its "sell by" date. However, I would not want to eat food that was in a waste bin along with other stuff that may have been in there for quite a while before the dumpster company emptied the dumpster. Hello, food-borne illnesses.

I try to put this in practice: when I throw something out, I ask myself, why aren't you using this? Why did you buy too much?
Sam1148 January 13, 2014
He only gets packaged or bagged food. So things like the apple or lemons are in plastic bags. Often with only one or two with soft spots. From speaking with him, he know the day and hour when stores throw things out and shows right after that time; and there will be things like energy bars with dented boxes, or peanuts in plastic jars just a day or so near their 'sell by' date. Things like that.
Now, fish or meat---Sorry. don't bring that to me. I'll take the eggs tho; they throw out a dozen because one got cracked.
Erica January 13, 2014
Back in college I lived in a co-op (which i loved). Some of the folks living there were dumpster divers. I thought it sounded pretty gross. That said, I would of course 'dumpster dive' if my circumstances were different. I'm glad I don't have to. I just try to be respectful of food and economize in other ways. I just wonder why all that food goes in the trash and not to shelters and such.
Diana B. January 13, 2014
This made "The Splendid Table" recently: http://www.splendidtable.org/story/dumpster-diving-freegans-are-a-response-to-food-waste
boulangere January 13, 2014
That was a great episode of a great program!
cookbookchick January 13, 2014
It's disturbing to realize how much good food gets thrown out.
Maureen W. January 12, 2014
I have three daughters who are currently going to university, one of them got into food dumpster diving at an organic supermarket last winter. She has found so much incredible stuff, including frozen solid meat, great produce, tons of things like hummusl
Sam1148 January 12, 2014
Well, I missed up the title bit.

We have a friend that returned from Afghanistan on partial disability. He comes over occasionally and supplements his food by reclaiming food from supermarkets.
Well, 'dumpster diving' for when they throw out stuff.
He'll bring stuff over as 'gifts' and frankly I'm surprised that most of it is pretty good stuff...good apples, produce, limes, etc. Sometimes just one in the bag that's off.
We did have a talk with him about bring us bacon or meats---however the eggs where perfectly fine for boiled eggs.

And one of the best things he brought over was a bag of a dozen pomegranates--which were all fine just some cosmetic spots. I turned those into syrup and made a couple of salads.
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