Food Not Bombs is an international volunteer organization dedicated to challenging excessive food waste from capitalism and ensuring food for all people. We reclaim food that would otherwise be discarded to provide free vegetarian meals in public spaces. We choose to share vegan or vegetarian food because it contributes less to pollution, water usage and the creation of greenhouse gases.
Food not Bombs believes in solidarity rather than charity and works to change systems that perpetuate hunger and homelessness, and we share literature at all of our meals. We are also a non-hierarchical organization and decide everything by consensus of members.
The Gainesville Food not Bombs chapter has been off-and-on since the ’90s but has recently resurfaced to once again engage and work with our community. We collect excess food from local businesses and organizations and use that food to provide free meals every Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Haisley Lynch Dog Park.
In using good food that would be thrown away, we are diverting unnecessary trash as well as showing that there is plenty of food to feed everyone in our community. Everyone in Gainesville could be fed by the amount of food thrown out every night by restaurants and grocery stores, so we are trying to make sure as much of that food as possible goes to hungry people rather than in a trash can.
In using good food that would be thrown away, we are diverting unnecessary trash as well as showing that there is plenty of food to feed everyone in our community.
Currently, our meals are potluck style with different people picking up food from different locations. We coordinate to bring diverse vegetarian food options and literature. Once we have the chance to grow our organization, we hope to cook our meals together!
When asked why they volunteer with Food Not Bombs in Gainesville, this is what some of our members had to say:
“My interest in FNB stems from my 5 year experience of being homeless. I would always wonder why there was so much food going to waste and why some folks got to eat multi-course meals while those of us on the streets and so many poor families go hungry. I joined FNB because I believe everyone deserves to have their basic needs met for free. We shouldn’t have to work just to live a healthy life. Capitalism is the worst. The fact that so many sit on giant heaps of wealth while others go without is just ludicrous, not to mention the hierarchy within the system. It could be so simple, everyone on the same plain with adequate resources getting our basic needs met and supporting one another to live a happy healthy life. I’m here to do what’s right — to just be human with one another. Supplying nutritious meals for free just makes sense.”
“I first tried to get involved with Food Not Bombs and community outreach in general after hearing about the news in Charlottesville and not feeling like I was doing enough myself to combat issues of racism and poverty within my own community. Food Not Bombs attracted me because it isn’t a charity; it has a mission of raising class consciousness while providing food that doesn’t contribute to the devastating effects of animal agriculture.”
So, how can you help? There are a few different ways. You can educate yourself on issues relating to Food Not Bombs. Read about poverty and inequality caused by global capitalism, the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, methods of nonviolent protests, military spending and homelessness (especially in Gainesville). Food Not Bombs chapters across the world have written about different issues, and a simple online search of Food Not Bombs literature will bring up different zines and flyers with information about these issues. The Civic Media Center is also a good educational resource.
Another thing you could do is contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you see food being thrown out unnecessarily or if you think of something new we can do to help make Gainesville a better place to live. Finally, you can come to our meals Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Haisley Lynch Dog Park. You could bring food or just come to eat and talk with us. Our food is for everyone, and we would love to meet you! •