Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Freeganism

I kind of like this idea in principle, but I don't want to start skip-diving for food. I like the idea of getting real food from the countryside instead. This is a great idea on a sunny day in August when there's plenty of natural food around and when walking for miles to create a tiny, but highly nutritious green salad is a pleasurable experience and less appealing during a February freezing rainstorm with a starving family and Nature is giving us her 'Hungry Gap'.

I'm also toying with the idea of veganism, due to the inability to get my head around the morals of removing a feeding calf from its mother so that I can take the milk. If someone removed our baby from me so they could have my milk I wouldn't be overly chuffed about the idea and nor would our baby, it has to be said. But perhaps I'm falling for a government line in this respect. Got to try everything once.

But freebie living coupled with veganism for ethical reasons.... no. I do want to unhook myself from The System. I do want to live from the land (when I've paid the mortgage of course ;-) and I am getting ready to live out my days in glorious independence from supermarkets and money - effectively sacking the government and all its corporate cronies from having input in my life due to gross mismanagement, BUT... somehow, I dunno...
"Freegans take this a step further by recognizing that in a complex, industrial, mass-production economy driven by profit, abuses of humans, animals, and the earth abound at all levels of production (from acquisition to raw materials to production to transportation) and in just about every product we buy. Sweatshop labor, rainforest destruction, global warming, displacement of indigenous communities, air and water pollution, eradication of wildlife on farmland as "pests", the violent overthrow of popularly elected governments to maintain puppet dictators compliant to big business interests, open-pit strip mining, oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, union busting, child slavery, and payoffs to repressive regimes are just some of the many impacts of the seemingly innocuous consumer products we consume every day."

Hmm. Yes, I suppose I do agree with all of that.

But I'm not going skip-diving for food, I'm just not. I might see a rat, anyway.

I need to invent a new ism. NaturalFoodForFreeWithoutRats-ism. Or something.

18 Comments:

Blogger dottyspots said...

I used to be vegan, but it wasn't for me (for a number of reasons). I don't think it's necessarily the most sustainable diet to have and my love of some yarn is certainly not vegan (although there are some excellent alternatives out there, including bamboo and soy silk).

I do, however, try to be dairy-free (with the odd chocolate failing - yes there is dairy-free choc out there, but it's not readily available here when I get a mad chocolate craving, so occasionally I fall of the wagon).

We do a good line in foraging though - there are cherry trees on the school field, these lead on to free apples and pears (some on the premises of a closed down school, some along the roadside and in the hedgerow, including some crab apples), blackberries, elderberries and sloes. Autumn is quite a busy time and I still have some blackberry jam left :)

Oh, I forgot the raspberries in the woods (how could I forget them) and of course hazelnuts.

I'd love to learn more about fungi and whilst I recognise the odd edible leafy green, it's another area I'd like to learn more about.

Having grown all sorts last year, I've done nothing in the garden this year (and that really is nothing, not even mowed the lawn - could do with a blushing smiley)

I have just signed up for http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/ to give that a go for a few months and see how I get on.

8:03 pm, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Don't suppose this is quite what you had in mind:-

Bat or badger? It's the roadkill recipe book

:-)

8:24 pm, May 30, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

giggle

9:19 pm, May 30, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

wasn't Darwin a member of a society that tried eating all sorts of different things?

9:20 pm, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Elaine said...

The question in my mind is how do we revert , because basically that is what we would need to do.
Do we want to see cows and sheep in zoos? or , are we willing to give livestock the 'right to roam' and let nature decide which animals survive and which become extinct?

On the third world sweatshops, that also leaves more questions than answers. Are the workers going to suffer if they don't have these jobs?
If they were paid more money they would be worked harder and fewer of them would be employed, this would lead to an extreme social structure comprising of the haves and the have not's , would that work?
Maybe we could clone Titus Salt to sort out labour issues.
But the dumb animals I dunno I try to buy only free range but that's a case of believing what we are told and I have not yet seen a field of hens , have you?

10:44 pm, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

I don't think we can revert - there is no way back.

I think we have to think of a different way of going forward. Somehow.

12:09 am, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Raquel said...

I used to go skip diving in my squatting days in north london...it's amazing what supermarkets threw away. If the 6 pack of Evian was broken up and one bottle was missing..they threw the other 5 bottles...if a tin can had a slightly ripped lable..it was in the skip. Bread that was out of date that day was in the skip..so you could buy it at 8pm or get it from the skip at 8.15pm..even things like vhs tapes which had ripped packaging would be dumped. But it all got a bit sordid when the supermarket started throwing bleach on their skips...
Nowadays I just buy the stuff..mainly because they have fenced off the rubbish so it can go rot in the ground before the likes of me get my hands on it...

12:36 am, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Nikki, I can manage without the yarn and the choc, but I should probably stop drinking so much tea with milk. I also (and this is my excuse for a lot of things:) don't feel I can impose such a change on my children, so we buy the things they want to consume. And they want to consume a lot of dairy stuff and some of them eat meat too. I would like to grow more stuff and could, with a bit more effort.

Tim, ROFL! I'll pass that onto my carniverous sons ;-)

Hmm good question Elaine. I guess market forces would be the driver and if people stopped buying factory-farmed meat, for e.g., the existing stocks wouldn't be bred from?

Sweatshops: got to admit to total ignorance on that question.

Field of hens: yes! My ex-sister in law has one :-)

Tim, I agree.

Raquel, I wonder why they do that. On R4's Today programme yesterday morning they ran an interview with a representative of the retail consortium about this and he was just going on about food hygiene and safety. Insurance then, maybe? Compensation culture. Madness.

3:31 am, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

Hmm. I do think that the waste that supermarkets throw away is shocking, and there should be some way of it being used instead of just being dumped. I don't think freegansism is something to aspire to though if you want to be self sufficient, because it's not is it? You're still reliant on someone else providing your food. It's also completely gross ;-)

Re dairy, well like I said on Jax's blog, you can't live a completely ethical life IMO. I guess you just have to decide the things that you can and can't live with being responsible for. I think there will come a point in the coming years where we will have to reduce our diary consumption purely because of market forces. The number of dairy farmers that are selling their herds round here is quite a worry. They are being screwed into the ground by the supermarkets and they just can't afford to continue. Some of the rules that are imposed on the are absolutely crazy too. I suppose I'm a bit of an oddball really, being a vegetarian yet also feeling sympathy for the farmers that are a big part of the economy round here.

I don't think that all farm animals have bad lives, and most farmers are not heartless uncaring people. I know Dales farmers who cry over the loss of stock (and no, it's not just about the money lost!)

If we got rid of all farmed animals we would have to accept a lot of changes that people don't really consider - the Dales for example wouldn't look like they do now without animals managing the land.

I don't think our current consumption can continue, it isn't sustainable, and shouldn't be either IMO! So I think we will have to revert somewhat. We will have to get back to a more local economy at some point whether we like it or not IMO. I don't think that this necessarily will mean that we have to lead a sack cloth and ashes existence, it will just mean we have to be more inventive about the way we live.

As an aside: I've been trying to decide whether the compensation culture has been specifically designed to continue to keep people from being self reliant, or if it is a result of people having their self reliance taken away from them.

Hope that made sense!

11:13 am, May 31, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

2Nikki, I can manage without the yarn and the choc, but I should probably stop drinking so much tea with milk. I also (and this is my excuse for a lot of things:) don't feel I can impose such a change on my children, so we buy the things they want to consume. And they want to consume a lot of dairy stuff and some of them eat meat too. I would like to grow more stuff and could, with a bit more effort. "

I've never said that my children must do what I do, although one of them has been veggie. We tried R. on gfcf diet (to see whether it might help a bit as he's dx. Aspergers), but it has caused more arguments that anything else!

We've now compromised and said that he really needs to avoid the triggers in certain foods (for him). However, it has to be a trust thing because there is no way of policing it!

I try to encourage them not to eat shedloads of sweets etc. if they're out and about, but I can only trust that they do not, rather than demand that of them. That said, R. has a liking for G&Bs, so would prefer to spend his money on expensive chocolate than a £1 on sweets anyway. He boycotts N*stle through his own choice and won't touch Macdonalds etc. either (his brother has no such scruples, but again, I continue to not buy N*stle here, he then has to make his own choice).

11:39 am, May 31, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

"I don't think that all farm animals have bad lives, and most farmers are not heartless uncaring people. I know Dales farmers who cry over the loss of stock (and no, it's not just about the money lost!)"

Quite. My stepfather is a farmer, although they now no longer have sheep (for various reasons) - he really cared for the sheep and they had a good (although somewhat short) life. Lots of freedom (including up in the mountains), when they had just come out of the barn in the winter (mum's Norwegian) and were in the back field they also used to get lots of veggie kitchen scraps. They also used to graze around the orchard.

Sheep tend to wander around where my mum is, so they appear to be generally happy creatures.

I think it's a series of personal value judgements - nothing is ever so clear cut. Fairtrade isn't necessarily as fair as some people believe. Organic fruit may have quite some airmiles on it. So it goes on, we can only try to do the best we can :)

11:44 am, May 31, 2007  
Blogger emma said...

Yes, I suppose there is a calf or kid who gets removed from its mother before weaning in order to have milk supply established, but

a) my understanding is that you can then go on milking that cow/goat for the foreseeable so it's not like it's happening every year

b) without a market for milk, there would be no dairy cows. Our countryside would be filled with arable instead. It's not like we'd suddenly have a countryside full of happy free wild cows.

I'm not really convinced of the merits of veganism on health grounds or "natural" grounds or even animal welfare grounds.

My dream is for the hens and goats to be my own, so I KNOW they are well treated *pipe dream*

12:19 pm, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Tech said...

I've just got round to reading the mail article you linked to. Suddenly lots of things are making sense :(

12:22 pm, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Yes that article rang a few bells for me too Tech. "I don't think freegansism is something to aspire to though if you want to be self sufficient, because it's not is it? You're still reliant on someone else providing your food. It's also completely gross ;-)" - Good point, well-made :-)

Emma, that's a good argument too, thanks! I'll enjoy the dairy in my tea later now :-)

Nikki, oh blimey one of my teens keeps buying Nestle stuff! And I keep saying: "Do you know what they do in Africa?" - then realising I sound just like my mother! :-O

12:30 pm, May 31, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

"Nikki, oh blimey one of my teens keeps buying Nestle stuff! And I keep saying: "Do you know what they do in Africa?" - then realising I sound just like my mother! :-O "

I kept it short and sweet - just growl at them if they bring anything into the house. Maybe my eldest has simply perfected the 'what she doesn't know won't hurt her' technique, however, in his case I don't think so, because if anyone does any lecturing in this house, it's him.

Popular subjects for lecture:

Our lax parenting skills
common triggers:
Nin trying to wash up because she shouldn't be allowed to do whatever she wants
Ted climbing anything, even something as inocuous as the back of the sofa (even I have a problem with him climbing onto kitchen surfaces)
Erk being allowed to go skating (because don't I realise that he shouldn't be allowed to hang around with his mates because they're annoying, etc.)

Oh and he's never having children because they're annoying and smell (bit of a bugger that he's part of a larger than average family then).

N*stle, or any other food-based possibility that might have a less-than-perfect public profile
So don't even think about buying it in his presence. He will lecture dh for hours on end if he happens to go to Macdonalds, although he did manage a modicum of politeness when after a recent cinema trip his friends parents took him to Burger King (he then came homw and was sick - ho hum) and I got a phonecall from said parents who were really worried that they'd made R. ill (I need a smiley to roll my eyes at this point).

However, this doesn't apply to Ben & Jerrys and quite possibly anything else he takes a particular liking to... (I was fascinated to find out that Ben & Jerrys is owned by Unilever - fingers in all pies and all that).

The Government
Doesn't have to be any particular political party (etc), basically if it grates in anyway he is writing to the Government (and papers) to complain at the injustice of it all.

Sexism
Do not, on any account make any sort of joke that might imply (even indirectly) that one of the sexes excels the other in some way. Generally how men are the butt of the world's jokes (etc.)

He is not above trying to argue with radical feminists on how men get a 'bum deal' and well, you can imagine the response he gets there.

Rational debate doesn't really ever feature.

He's only 12, the next few years are going to be an absolute *joy* (sigh).

2:00 pm, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does it count as freeganism when your 4yr old goes round town with you asking other people for bits of their food and asking people in cafes to get him "just one" of those little milk cartons?
so glad he won't be going to school to be taught to be "polite".
dh is amazed how it brightens peoples days when he wanders over chatting nonstop (not always scrounging food i hasten to add).
lol
Jo

7:14 pm, June 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! Yes you can always count on that age group for maximum embarrassment/ entertainment factor can't you? :-)

12:52 am, June 02, 2007  
Blogger mamadillo said...

there's a farm with an obviously-increasing-in-trade farm shop in Birds Edge where the hens do run round the field :)

1:53 am, June 07, 2007  

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