Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Greeks aren't the only ones eating out of dumpsters:
Fellmer is on a three-year-old "money strike": he does not earn or spend a euro and he, his wife and child eat only food that has been rescued from the trash.

A rangy 29-year-old in a baggy blue jumper with spiky blond hair and a pointed beard, he is already something of a German media phenomenon. On a recent visit, a TV documentary crew and a reporter from a local daily were crowded into his one-room flat.

He plonks on the table a packet of ginger biscuits for Christmas - from a batch of hundreds fished out of the garbage nearby - bearing a "use by" date which is still a month away. They taste fine, as do some red and gold-wrapped chocolate Santas.

The "use by" dates infuriate the foodsharers, many of whom were first inspired by the 2011 film "Taste the Waste" by their guru Valentin Thurm.

It documents waste ranging from farmers discarding tomatoes that are not red enough to bakeries burning the excess bread they made to keep the shelves looking full until closing time.

Fellmer's friend Schmitt was brought up in a "very food-conscious vegetarian household". His mother is a food chemist who advises him on hygienic ways to eat and share food from plastic sacks that he admits are sometimes "mushy" under your fingers in the dark.

Like Fellmer, he lives not in east Berlin, with its history of squats and communes, but in the leafy western suburb of Dahlem where he dumpster dives under the noses of the German capital's most affluent residents.

Foodsharing appeals to the "hipster" culture of Berlin with its tradition of anti-establishment protest, Schmitt said.

The German crowdsourcing techniques could turn out to be "best practice" for reducing waste in other countries too, said the FAO's Bucatariu.

"Solutions may vary according to the culture, the context and to what access to food there is," she said. "But each and every one of us can do something."
German dumpster divers get connected to wage war on food waste (Reuters)

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