'Dumpster Divers' Live Large On Discarded Food
Lynn U., a 58 year old mom of two, is bringing cornbread stuffing to her aunt’s Thanksgiving celebration this year. What the aunt doesn’t know is that Lynn didn’t find her ingredients in the aisles of a grocery store, but in the trash bags outside.
Lynn, who asked that her last name not be used to protect herself from possible backlash from her employer, is neither homeless nor broke. She has a college education and a good job as a middle school teacher. And she lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, one of the country’s more affluent neighborhoods. But ever since she went on a “trash tour” in 2007 with a group of freegans, or those whose diet consists only of discarded food, Lynn has also embraced dumpster diving. In 2008 she made her family’s entire Thanksgiving dinner exclusively out of garbage materials.
As most Americans spend today indulging (and prepping for Black Friday’s shopping battleground), a few like Lynn are choosing to celebrate by taking a bite out of the food waste problem.
Not that a dumpster dinner is completely altruistic. Since Lynn began diving four years ago, her family has saved $9,000 a year on groceries. No one in her family has ever gotten sick from the food, she said, and most of what she finds in her neighborhood is organic.
Photo Credit: (Courtesy of Lynn U.)