Freegan Month Challenge – Days 26-30

Just when I thought my updates couldn’t get more sporadic, I am now having to account for FIVE days of my challenge!  It has been almost a week, and a small final stretch to get to this point.  My one month challenge is coming to an end, and I will have a lot to state about the challenge in my Live wrap-up video.

That’s right.  I am going to put out a live video where people can ask questions and I can provide commentary about my challenge throughout the month.  I’ll provide more details on that in another post, but it will definitely be broadcast tomorrow at 4:00PM (EST).

During my last several days, I managed to accrue a healthy amount of sustenance.

 

Not just food, but I’ve also managed to salvage more items from being discarded.  Very practical items that could have a whole second life!

 

I look forward to continuing dumpster diving and living minimally throughout the next few months in Haifa, even if now I will allow myself to buy things.  I almost feel that out of habit now, I will just rather go without and find a no-cost solution.  That has definitely evolved as a mindset for me lately!

 

To end this post, here’s a salad that I made out of found food.  On the left is a good utilization of food waste, and on the right is just a shameful display of over-production.

 

There will be an update with an updated analysis of my challenge in further detail.  Look for it!

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Freegan Month Challenge – Day 23-25

Hello everyone!

Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’ve already reached 5/6 of the challenge already! So far it’s been a pretty great experience, relying almost entirely on reclaimed food that would have otherwise been wasted.

If there’s anything that I’ve taken away from this challenge, it’s the knowledge that there is far too much waste in our world, and it has gotten to the point that we make enough food waste that could otherwise feed hungry people. Not that I didn’t realize that already, but judging from the fact that I can go for a month just by eating wasted food means a lot. It just further propels the fact that all of the food we waste in the world could potentially feed several thousands of millions of people.

On Monday, 6 November (Day 23), I had the opportunity to meet with one of the directors of Robin Food, an organization based in Haifa that is growing towards opening a “pay-as-you-feel” cafe in the city. The cafe is expected to be opening up in January and I hope to be able to help and support them in any way that I can leading up to that time.

 

There are several places like this in the UK that have shown that this model can work, and several other areas in the world have emulated this model.  It’s called The Real Junk Food Project and it’s been an ongoing and growing model for fighting food waste for a few years now.

Check out this Ted Talk with Adam Smith, the brains and culinary expert behind the Real Junk Food Project.

 

On Day 24, I was able to take a day trip along the Carmel Coast here in Israel, particularly near Caesarea and the ancient city itself. A nice day for a travel and I even managed to go without cost (since the trip was covered by my program).

Day 25 was just a regular work day, and has gotten me past the 5/6 point in my challenge.  I will always try to continue finding new ways to show how we can better utilize our waste even when it seems we live in a world of it.

Here is some good reclamation over the past several days.  Sometimes you even find free literature!

Of course, here’s also a shot of some of the good food that is being thrown away at the supermarkets constantly. Such good bread, such wasted potential!

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To cap off, here are some reclaimed foods that I ate over the past several days.  When you have hummus, squash, potatoes, bananas, granola, pita bread, yogurt, and pomegranate, there are always a multitude of nutrients you can gain.  Tasty things, too!

 

Eat well and responsibly!  Until next post, friends!

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 20-22

The third week is completed with Day 21. I have only one full week left of the challenge. It’s probably a good thing that it will be coming to a close soon. Living a freegan lifestyle doesn’t necessarily afford the body all of the nutrients that it needs to function. Protein sources are difficult to salvage for due to many of those food types suffering from expiration. There could be other ways that I just have not figured out yet. Every now and then I will find a decent haul of nuts, legumes, and/or dairy protein.

Also beans work for protein. Speaking of beans…

I ended up getting plenty of eggplant and bananas for the weekend right before Shabbat started. Also, cakes, beans, and single serving chocolate pieces. Overall, the dollar amount that I saved from the landfill (just prepackaged foods) was 84 shekels ($24 USD). Honestly a decent and well-varied haul. One of my favorite meals that I get from gleaning the urban depositories is baked vegetables, especially eggplant.

Today on Day 22 (5 Nov 2017), I managed to glean a few treats, including some decent hummus, two containers of organic rice milk, and a nice medley of fruits and vegetables.  All packaged goods came in at 163 shekels ($46.57 USD).

 

I can’t complain about this acquisition.  It’s sort of a calling to my previous statement about getting the right nutrients.  Hummus (chickpeas, really) has differing, valuable nutrients from many of the other foods that I find, as well as rice milk drink.

Remember the table cloth that I found?  Well, this is how nice it actually looks on a real table.

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Good uses for trash, it turns out!

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 17, 18, 19

Welcome back!  It seems that making a post for every single day has proven more difficult than I realized.  I would like to ensure at the very least I’m only ever missing 3-4 days in a row. I won’t ever skip a day in the chronology, but sometimes one of the days can be so uneventful that it wouldn’t make the most sense to post just for that day alone.

Anyway…

As I post this, today is currently Day 20 (Fri, 3.11.17), so I’m basically two-thirds of the way through my challenge.

Day 17 was a non-work day, which means that my peers and I did something related to our MASA program.  This particular Tuesday was a volunteer experience, so we went to Ein Hayam Community Garden, a non-profit community garden in Haifa that is made possible by the help of community volunteers.  Experiencing places like this that serve to heighten the sense of self-sustaining methods and community bonding are really a treasure in our world.

http://leobaeckhaifa.org/shared-existence-programs/ein-hayam-trail/

They were surely very grateful for us arriving and doing as much as we did, even with the sun setting very early.  The owners of the garden provided some bounty for our labor, which was more than I had expected.  They also kindly let us take what ever we wanted, so there were some delightful treats to indulge in for awhile.

 

Day 18 was a rather productive work day of shooting and editing product reviews at the studio.  It also became a productive night, as I found a medley of great produce for the next several days.

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Not a bad looking haul, but let’s look a little closer at some of the irregular produce we that we find.

The potato on the left is a very oddly shaped specimen, and possibly led to it being thrown out.  Also, it seems that commonly-fused produce like these bananas and carrot get thrown out.  Supermarkets generally practice throwing away produce that is unattractive, yet it does not speak for how the foods actually taste.  It’s always worth asking your local stores and markets not to throw away good food just because it’s ugly!

Also, if reading that doesn’t get you irked, take a look at how many cucumbers got thrown out two days ago!

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Here’s just a general glimpse at the freegan foods that I had over the past few days.  The pickled items on the top right were gifted freely from my friend’s shawarma, but otherwise all else came from dumpster-reclaimed foods.

 

I’ll keep you further updated on the last third of my challenge left.  Until then, lehitraot!

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 13-16

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

Disclaimer: I really meant to post on Saturday (Day 13), but various Shabbat-like activities got in the way as well as casual coming and going of company. So another multi-day post ensues!

This past weekend marks two weeks into my freegan challenge. That’s basically half way, so I find that it would be apropos to touch base on my feelings about the challenge as of now. If you don’t care to bother with it, you can feel free to skip to the latter part of the post.

I can safely say that so far, I’m satisfied with what I have gained from doing this (aside from wasted food, of course). As far as physical acquisitions go, I have accumulated large amounts of food, ranging from produce, yogurt, eggs, crackers, candy, granola bars, and various other goodies. Non-food assets have included furniture pieces, clothing, tapestries, and so much more. So it is definitely possible to enjoy saving money on a freegan lifestyle.

The challenge really is when I’m out in the commercial world faced with the thought of buying a falafel from a local stand, or possibly wanting to buy some fresh, specific groceries at a supermarket. However, I feel that I usually find enough variation at some point to keep the challenge interesting. It’s certainly not an ideal way to live, but it’s definitely possible in an urban area and a part of town where there are a sprawling amount of shuks and supermarkets.

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Day 13 was not much of a day for hauling groceries tossed away with reckless abandon. It was Friday night, and that night we hosted Shabbat dinner. So that was possible for me to contribute a salad of mixed greens, vegetables and dressing (all found from the trash), along with stuffed peppers using lentils*, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and squash. The lentils were bought long before I started the challenge, and I’ve exhausted my supply until my challenge ends.

Day 14 was a bit of a slow-paced, relaxing day. For the weekend we hosted a friend at my apartment, so we enjoyed the leisurely Shabbat day by playing Dungeons and Dragons (kindly mastered by my roommate Bryan) and eating food from the day before (not to mention candy and snacks from the Day 12 haul).

 

Day 15 was the official half-way point of my challenge. The usual foods I had eaten throughout the day were mashed bananas in the morning, various fruits and vegetables throughout the afternoon (mixed with beet paste and shakshuka that I still have at work), and roasted vegetables in the evening. It was a decent day mainly consisting of shooting videos for product reviews at the studio I’m working at right now.

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The haul for the day was considerably small, but not without merit. Plenty of potatoes and other good fruits and vegetables made up the spoils.

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Also, I will show off what kinds of things float at the top of dumpsters. Bread, fruits and vegetables tossed away with reckless abandon. When you thought it couldn’t be worse, there’s carelessly tossed aside food that would be better donated before hitting the trash.

Day 16 (Monday, 30 Oct) was another slough at work. I had my own foods prepared and snacks at work (and munched on a few vegetables from my co-worker’s tray where he got shawarma), and left fairly early. I had mostly roasted vegetables and fruits throughout the day for consumption.

The dive for the day was a considerably varied plunder, edging out to about 209 shekels (about $60 USD). Nothing to balk at, considering that they threw out eggs, rice cakes, lotions, spices, snacks, and a nice table cloth that I may end up using!

 

Happy living!  If you have excess, share it with others.  Don’t let it go bad and throw it out!

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 12

I’m sticking to my claim of posting daily again during my challenge!

Today was a relatively low-key day, again working from home and keeping to minimalism.  That being said, I decided that after my challenge ends in mid-November, I will be going on a few days’ trip to Cyprus for very little expense.  I will continue an extension of my challenge there, keeping to a minimalist lifestyle.

Here are a few things that I found prior nights that I seem to have found uses for.  Remember the plastic shelf?  Makes a perfect shoe rack.  Also, a tapestry for my bedroom and a fitted sheet for a bed.  I obviously washed the last two items.

Some things that I ate today, as per usual.

 

Also, there must have been some very discounted candy, because chocolate was aplenty at one store.  Over 20 bars worth, it seems.  Plenty of bananas, peppers, salads, and nourishing chocolate.  Not counting unpacked produce, the findings come out to about 425 shekels, which is about $120 USD.  So little value placed in mass production causes such waste.  We must utilize everything we are given, even if the fruit or vegetables in our stores are misshapen or ugly.

 

Friday, the 13th day, will be difficult due to the lack of findings on Shabbat, but I believe I have enough to manage.  It will be interesting to cook something from my findings for everyone, as that is what is expected from me anyway.

If I don’t update on Friday due to the holiday, expect a Saturday update.  That will be my mid-way post through my challenge.  Keep fighting waste!

Freegan Month Challenge – Days 9, 10, 11

Hey enthusiasts of a waste-free lifestyle!  I apologize for anyone that might actually read this to have not had content to see for the past three days.  Nonetheless, I’ve been sticking to regiment and not making purchases.

Being in public is not so much of an issue, as I had met up with friends at a cool coffee bar in Haifa’s Carmel Center on Day 9 (Monday, 24 October).  You might note that one of the things on that bill,  כוס מים (Coss Ma’im, glass of water), is expense-free, which is all that I ordered.  That’s a service that can not be denied to anyone.

The coffee is very good, from what I hear.  It’s certainly pretty, too.  A couple of friends highly enjoyed the cappuccino.  Great patio seating outside too, amidst several trees and other flora.

Here is a taste of what I actually consumed during the day. Some yogurt from the day prior, granola, beet paste, crackers, and pepper.  Certainly not everything I’ve eaten, just the more interesting things.

Of course, I was able to pluck some items from being wasted that night.

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On Day 10, our group in Haifa woke up very early to take a scheduled bus drive to Ein Gedi nature reserve in south-central Israel west of the Dead Sea.  The hike itself was not too difficult and provided breathtaking views, including a chance to see David falls.  With enough water and a proper pair of boots, getting up and down the desert hills is not impossible and even a test of will.

Also, good wholesome sustenance helps. Breakfast was wheat bran, mashed banana, seeds, and peanut pieces.  The rest of the day consisted of snacks brought along for everyone to enjoy, as well as granola bars, sliced carrots/cabbage, tomatoes, and bread.

 

Day 11 was not a very active day.  Working from home made it easier to moderate my food intake, and I had a chance to cook what I wanted to.  For breakfast, wheat bran works well, along with seeds, date syrup, peanut pieces, and some yogurt drink.  All but the seeds and date syrup were from ex-waste ingredients. Other meals consisted of broiled potato and sweet potato, as well as red bean salad (with cabbage and carrot).

The daily dive yielded some decent results, ending up with about 161 shekels (~$46 USD) worth of known pricing. Not the healthiest selection, but well varied with some surprises like Orbit gum, condiments, and hand lotion.

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It’s almost astounding for me to think that it’s almost been half a month of eating and living completely free of expense.  Truthfully, it would be difficult for me to manage this challenge if I had not paid my living and program expenses months in advance.  Also, being able to utilize the buses here because of the WUJS/MASA program is very helpful, in addition to attending events hosted by MASA.

Well, hopefully I’ll be back to daily posts after this one.  I tried to keep the post relatively short while still hitting the bullet points of each day.  Keep fighting waste!

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 8

To do something a little bit different for the new week second week of my challenge, I decided that this time I would itemize everything that I found during Sunday’s dive.

First of all, I found a little shelf that I can utilize as a surface, maybe a shoe rack.  Saving things from the landfill has many uses!

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Amazingly, there was great variety to be found at three different stores, which is atypical, especially because one of the markets usually has nothing much of interest. However, I managed to pluck a few yogurts out of their bin.

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The rest of the plunder was gained from two of the stores that I regularly visit. Not much for fruits and vegetables, but I’m personally okay with finding new things, such as yogurt, wheat bran, granola bars, and even cakes (because everyone loves cake).

Checking the prices on everything that I found, it turns out that there was about 250 shekels (Israeli currency) worth of groceries, which is about $70 USD. Let it be known that I could not factor in the cost of the produce since they did not have individual stickers, but I can only imagine that was worth another $10-15 at least.
So I’m sure that many people who read this would find that appalling, because $70 is a lot of money for groceries. I can’t speak for the quality of the found food, but either way you slice it, that’s a lot of bread. Speaking of bread, check out what I found at the top of one of my usual dumpsters.

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How upset does this make you?

I’ll end with my obligatory freegan foodie photos. Enjoy your week, everyone!

 

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 7

Wow!  It’s officially been a whole week that I’ve completed of my freegan challenge!  I’m honestly amazed at how easy it has been to get through, so far.  I mean, I understood how much waste there is just from stores themselves, but being able to live solely off of food procured from trash is another thing.

The difficulty in the process is probably getting the right nutrients.  Understandably, vegetables and fruit can’t provide all of the necessary components to a complete diet, which is primarily what I have been sustained off of this past week.  Sometimes when I find things like hummus or eggs, I can supplement the protein that I need in my diet better, but I am not always sure that those foods are obtainable.

From my understanding, humans tend to overdo it on simple carbs and protein anyway.  The fact that I haven’t been sustained primarily on those groups is meaningful and I don’t feel more impaired because of it.

My Saturday was relaxing, as a daytime Shabbat should be.  I utilized the parameters of my freegan challenge by going to the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. The museum has free admission, and is dedicated to archaeology found in Israel from ancient times, as well as art galleries filled with Israeli classics and more famous masters as well (Monet, Renoir, etc).

 

The first image is just lunch from that day (tomato, pepper, cucumber, and apple).

No dumpster diving, but I did find this book that I think a French friend of mine would enjoy.

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Until next time!

Freegan Month Challenge – Day 6

Hello freegan and food waste enthusiasts!  I come now to bring you Day 6 of my challenge.

I said that it’d be an earlier post than the day before, but it seems that’s not the case.  As it were, yesterday was not a lucrative day for dumpster diving due to Shabbat (by the way, Shabbat Shalom to all that observe) so I occupied my physical activity itch in other ways.

Here is a glimpse into the food that I ate yesterday.  Mostly salads, snacks, and some  cereal with milk drink.

One of my favorite pastimes is going on runs to a new location with just my music, a good pair of sneakers, and the desire to do something new.

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I enjoy going on my runs with just my headphones, keys, and my phone for music.  I leave my wallet behind so that I’m not tempted to spend money or to take transit part of the way.  It was a great decision, because I got to take a leisurely pace all the way to the beach to enjoy the sunset and take a walk along the city outskirts.

Despite the lack of food finds, I did happen upon a barely worn pair of Aldo shoes that seem to fit me almost perfectly.  No need to buy new shoes, it seems

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Interestingly enough, I found that one of the markets that I decided to check out for dumpster diving was more interested in just giving me some old fruit rather than letting me dig through their trash.

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I have to wonder if that means they would be open to donating their soon-to-be produce instead of throwing it away.

Until next time, friends.  Keep doing good things and lessening waste!