Underwebtribes: Urban Foragers & Freegans
As mental and physical health is put high on a pedestal, aspects related to health and sustainability are considered increasingly important consumption criteria. And so, new, alternative lifestyles and philosophies emerge.
Health lifestyle trends are succeeding one another with dazzling velocity. Yet, amidst all these short-lived whims, the collective mindset to return to a more natural way of living is here to stay.
Freegans, for instance, reject the waste of resources. Their two main goals: to buy as little as possible and to use only what they need. They scavenge instead of buy, volunteer instead of work and squat instead of rent. They also dive into dumpsters in search of discarded foods, although most could easily afford to buy their own food. They've instead chosen to live what they believe is an ethical, unadulterated lifestyle and disassociate themselves from capitalism and consumerism. To help each other out, the community created a collaborative worldwide map for freegans and dumpster divers to locate other divers and post dumpster locations, while Trashwiki has become the collaborative worldwide guide to create value from trash.
While some urban foragers are also freegans, there are many foragers who don't feel comfortable with digging through dumpsters for unrefrigerated perishables. Instead, they look for edible plants they can freely harvest in urban environments. To them, urban foraging and home-fermenting vegetables and fruits is a way of engaging with the world. It’s part of a larger movement towards sustainable living. There are classes, websites, city tours and walks, social events and many other activities to help aspiring urban foragers learn what is safe to eat and what isn’t.
“Going on an urban foraging tour is like putting on a pair of 3D glasses: It transforms a familiar cityscape into something completely different. Clumps of weeds turn into hefty bundles of edible greens, while abandoned lots yield stalks of wild asparagus or cones of crimson sumac,” Jessica Steinberg, journalist