On May 21, 2008 I was hit by a car in Orlando. It changed the trajectory of my life so much that I actually commemorate the date as my "rebirthday".
I found freedom on that windshield, like Jesus on toast. And it just so happens that this year May 21 is also DOOMSDAY!
I am the bicyclist (and/or freegan) of the apocalypse!
As such, I come to bring freedom to the rest of NYC. Join us for tomorrow's freegan party which will include food, live music, and a film screening! Not to be missed! Check the event page for details and rsvp...http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113349502082714
Hope to see you there!
People say I'm crazy, doing what I'm doing.
they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin.
When I say that I'm okay, well, they look at me kinda strange.
"Surely, your not happy now, you no longer play the game."
People say I'm lazy, dreaming my life away.
Well, they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me.
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall.
"Don't you miss the big time, boy. You're no longer on the ball."
I'm just sitting here watching the [rubber bands]
go round and round.
I really love to watch them roll.
No longer riding on the merry-go-round.
I just had to let it go.
People ask me questions, lost in confusion.
Well, I tell them there's no problem, only solutions.
Well, they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind.
I tell them there's no hurry, I'm just sitting here doing time.
I'm just sitting here watching the [bands] go round and round.
I really love to watch them roll.
No longer riding on the marry-go-round.
I just had to let it go.
From Good Morning Joe blog...
My head was probably half-submerged in a clear plastic bag on the corner of 115th Street and Broadway when I first made Al's acquaintance. He looked on with apparent curiosity as three freegans procured their weekly groceries, free of charge.
In our usual friendly manner, we offered him the food that we'd already acquired. He seemed amazed about the sheer amount of waste and interested in taking some food home. We handed him a plastic grocery bag and he helped himself to a few items: an apple or two, cucumber, perhaps a microwave meal.
He could not take much more, he said, "because the library doesn't allow food. I've been camping out there for the past couple weeks."
I wouldn't have guessed upon first glance that he was homeless. With his unkempt long white beard, otherwise clean cut, beady eyes set behind square spectacles, and walking cane he looked like any old cooky university professor. Indeed that's precisely the kind of man we had on our hands: a former cooky professor who had fallen on hard times.
"They let me hang out in the library for free, it's a great perk of working for the school..."
Yes, and he knows when and where to catch museums, shows, film screenings, art galleries - all kinds of entertainment around the city - for FREE. My kind of guy.
"…but they don't allow food. Either way, I won't be staying there long."
Al(bert) explained that he worked for Columbia some years ago, the reason they allow him in the library. Students are in the throes of finals, so the library doors are open at all hours. But not for long. He must soon find another place to stay and does not have much money for rent when that time comes.
He accompanied us to our next stop, a bakery some blocks away. This location is well known amongst freegans for its lavish gourmet pizza, though their occurrence is somewhat seldom. This week we were in luck! Plenty of cheese and pepperoni slices for all. I had no interest in taking it home so we partook then and there. I helped myself to a cheese slice and passed another along to Al. He was very thankful and in a bit of disbelief. He had learned how to get almost everything for free - even "lodging" for a few weeks now - but had never considered this method for finding food.
He asked whether we knew anyone with a room. I offered to spread word of his need, but I couldn't promise a successful effort. Either way, I was glad to have helped him learn how to subsist in NYC. With the amount of food wasted and the facility of acquiring it, there is absolutely no need for anyone in this city to go hungry. We hope to prevent hunger and food waste before our valuable resources hit the waste bag.
Someday, perhaps. Someday.
In the mean time we can help ourselves to the city's discards, keep some good food out of landfills while keeping our own bellies full, and seek out viable living situations for brothers and sisters in need, like my new friend Al.
FREE HOUSE SHOW MAY 6
Featuring solo acoustic acts:
Owen Pye (IL) --- http://owenpye.com/
GioSafari --- http://facebook.com/giosafari
FREE vegan food at the show.
All ages, all the time.
281 Edgecombe Ave #6B
PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY (at or near 7) IF POSSIBLE. Please also consider a donation for traveling musicians and/or a freegan dish to share! (use the stuff in the back of your pantry that you forgot you even had).
Folks who RSVP "Attending" on this here event page will receive a notification prior to the event with the apt number.
Edgecombe house is one block from ACBD subway station @ 145 st, Manhattan. Contact the host at giosafari[@]gmail[.]com with any further questions about the show/venue.
A student journalist made this documentary about how the internet is facilitating freegan living. I feature pretty prominently =)
Last week I went to Boston to talk with student chefs at Newbury College about freeganism. Great times and great food were had by all. As seven student chefs prepared the meals pictured below, I snapped pictures and marveled at the great dishes they could serve up using only freegan food and their imaginations! Inspiring!
To read more about that experience, click here!
On Tuesday evening I went on a trash tour with a couple folks from freegan.info
. We made our first stop at Morton Williams and began rumaging. It wasn't long before passers-by began asking questions: who were we? what were we doing? why?
Before we knew it there was a group of 10-15 people standing around the enormous pile of trash bags (all filled with delicious, edible, usable food), talking about how terrible it was for so much food to go to waste. We hung out there for 45 minutes, rescuing food and talking with other concerned citizens.
I rescued a whole lot of fruits and veggies that night, as well as bagels. Lots and lots of bagels. I also nearly snagged a package of veggie lo mein, but somehow another person got to it before me :/
After I returned home and put all my food away, I had an e-mail from the nyc freegan discussion group indicating that a fellow freegan was planning a backpacking trip throughout Asia and wanted to bestow all his possessions on other freegans in the community (he said that all the same possessions had been gifted or passed down to him as well. Love it!). On the list was a iMac computer, 20-inch 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo purchased December 2007.
Picking it up on Sunday. God is good =)
I started a twitter account
yesterday on behalf of nyc-based freegan.info, quite possibly the largest and best organized freegan group in the world. If you're on twitter, please follow! I'll be posting frequent updates (hopefully with help from one or two others) regarding freeganism, freegan activities in NYC, media coverage, and related topics.
I don't know about you, but rubber bands are just one of those items that I can never find when I need them; and I find that I need them rather often!
In the past few months there were several instances when I actually considered going out to buy a bunch of rubber bands.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Then one day my eyes were opened. As I walked to the nearest subway station I saw not one but two rubber bands on the floor. Laid to waste.
"Freegan rubber bands?" I thought to myself. I can do this.
Over the next few days I found several more and figured I should collect them til I had enough to make a freegan rubber band ball. The photo above is a collection of twenty-three rubber bands I accumulated over TWO DAYS walking around Boston. That's a dozen bands per day.
Good to know I'll never have to buy rubber bands. Especially if I move to Boston. I'll be making that rubber band ball soon enough =D
On a related note, I've also found my fair share of paper clips. Any ideas what I can do with them?
When I returned to NYC on Jan 4 I found that my computer was busted. There was something wrong with my power supply and my hard drive was apparently on the brink of collapse.
This reality has been so debilitating for my work. I do SO MUCH work on my computer: blogging, writing, recording, video and image editing, networking, promoting, booking... a lot. And for the past two weeks my activities have been restricted to 45 minute sessions at the public library or whenever my room mates were not on their own computers. Needless to say, it has been terribly difficult to get anything done!
Still, I've made much progress in one facet of my life and activities: freeganism.
I've begun performing in the subways as my primary source of income. So far I've gone to a different station each day and either played for three hours or until I earned $25. That is to say, if I haven't earned $25 in three hours, then I just keep on truckin! I've met my goal four times already and plan to continue to busk daily (minus Mondays which I observe as Sabbath and today, as I was feeling really under the weather).
In October and November last year I began teaching Really Really Free Guitar Lessons
at popular parks and destinations around Manhattan. I would spend most of my time busking as so few people would take me up on my offer. As it is too cold to give outdoor lessons now, I've offered to teach free music lessons at Operation Exodus in Washington Heights. I'm meeting with a few other individuals for free lessons as well.
3) Trash Tours
I've gone on three trash tours. Two in Morningside Heights and one in the East Village. I've rescued bagels, donuts, tomatos, fresh spinach, beet salad, onions, cucumbers, carrots/cake/juice, avocados, lemons & limes, mozzarella cheese, yogurts, prepared sandwiches and wraps, and amazing future gifts for at least four family members. I also co-facilitated the freegan.info
meeting on Monday.
Lacking a computer has been very rough on me. Indeed I use it a lot for work, but I've also come to recognize my dependence on technology (for better or worse). Many of my friends have responded to my need and have offered to fix my machine or to give/lend me their own. It was not until last night that I was finally able to set up a borrowed computer. And I have at least one other computer on the way that I can have indefinitely!
I am so indebted to my friends (cohorts) who have come to my aide. You guys are so awesome and I want you to know that I love you guys, no strings attached. That is to say, my love is FREE.
Wishing you shalom in the New Year.
Lately my grocery bills have been escalating while my income has been dissipating. So I decided that it would behoove me to go on some more freegan trash tours, even if not planned by the freegan.info group. I texted a fellow freegan who lives in my neighborhood, asking whether she would be interested in taking a tour round our "hood". She said yes and that I should also post it on the dumpster-dive-rise-up group.
So last night I hosted a freegan trailblaze with four other swashbucklers in West Harlem. We began by making our way to Pathmark, just two blocks from my apartment. We stopped at a large pile of trash outside of Duane Reade where we salvaged a baby bathtub, a small aluminum garbage can, and an igloo cooler (I brought the baby bathtub home and posted it on the craigslist "free" page). Next was Pathmark, where we found two or three dozen VHS tapes. Another trash tourist took them home, also with the intent to sell or give away on CL.
We had only stopped at two stores and already our hands were full, so we went back to my apartment to leave our findings on the stoop.
Having lightened our load, we made our way toward Broadway, stopping at nearly every large pile of trash along the way. We rescued doughnuts and bagels at Dunkin Donuts, sweet plantains at C-Town, and took pictures of perfectly good discarded furniture to post as CURB ALERTS on craigslist. Finally we made our way to Food Town on St. Nicholas and 148th St.
Here we hit the jackpot.
I opened a bag that felt as though it might have food in it. All I could see inside was another black plastic gargage bag. I opened that bag and discovered yet another bag inside of it - how many of these bags would I have to open before I reached my treasure? And why did this trash need to be triple-bagged?! Finally I reached the bags' contents, dozens of good peaches. I rescued about ten of them. Then another trash tourist discovered a bag, a cornucopia of other fruits and veggies: apples, strawberries, lemons, green peppers, mushrooms, soup greens, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, zuchini, and squash! What a find!
We tied up our leavings and walked back toward my apartment. After a solid treasure hunt I think it's safe to say we were all headed home quite happy!
This morning I woke up to a smoothie - featuring rescued peaches, apple, and strawberries! - and a viewing of "The Story of Stuff".
-Yesterday I scored a ton of food while taking a trash tour with the NYC freegan crew. The list includes raspberries, bananas, nectarine, more fruit, cookies, bread, bagels, hummus, and 11 eggs! I can't wait to eat it all!
-Today I busked at the Delancey/Essex subway station in downtown Manhattan.
I made approximately $25; sold one CD package (incl sticker and buttons) and two other buttons; was complimented on my harmonica playing.
I was also filmed by some students from St Michael's College (Burlington, VT) who are shooting a documentary on freeganism. After interviewing me at my apartment, they wanted to get some footage of me performing in the subway. So all in all, it was a very good day in the subway!
-Then tonight was the monthly freegan feast! There was a ton of great rescued food and of course wonderful people to share it with. I could definitely get used to this freegan business!