Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

February 26, 2008

Freegans on TV

I’m not sure what we can or can’t say about our upcoming TV appearance. So I’ll just post this straight from the website…


Yep, that’s me in the dumpster (those tomatoes were yummy, by the way). The show will air tomorrow, Wednesday the 27th. Hope you can tune in!!

Madeline did a great job, we thought. Amanda and I felt that we were too scared and shell shocked to really articulate ourselves well, but our hope is that at least viewers can see our convictions in action if not in words. Hope you enjoy. And don’t laugh at my hair…they used a gallon of hair spray and tried hard (though it was quite difficult for them) to make it look like I cared about fashion and appearance. :) Amanda was gorgeous, as always.

Hope you enjoy. We’d love to hear what you think!



  1. Our son did dumpster diving while in Portland, an area that can be friendly for folks who like to do this. The only point I would make is that one of his friends WAS poked by a used needle which was thrown in a food dumpster. From your photo, i see you are wearing gloves and I hope they are strong enough to keep a needle from poking through because my son’s friend had to undergo medical tests and other procedures.

    Around here, I do know that some restaurant owners put rat bait in the dumpsters and also spray poison on all dumpstered food to discourage rats, insects, etc…from scrounging in there. At the same time, the same owners will give used food freely to those who ask. I don’t know if all poisons could be detected by smell. I would be concerned about that.

    My son has gotten furniture, books and even food from dumpsters. He didn’t NEED to do it but he often gave the items to poor or homeless people, being honest about where he found it.

    Comment by jcorn — February 27, 2008 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve TIvo-ed the show so I will get back to you when I watch it. I appreciate your honesty and continuing the dialogue on other sites like Associated Content. Learning how to live simply and ecologically and not waste food is important. Again, my concerns are primarily with safety, etc.

    Comment by jcorn — February 27, 2008 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for visiting, jcorn. Your concerns are definitely valid ones, it would be foolish to ignore all safety issues when finding food in dumpsters. Hope you’ll enjoy the show.

    I would like to point out that, unfortunately, what you said about “owners will give used food freely to those who ask” isn’t always true. There are definitely those who do, especially small time delis like someone pointed out on Associated Content. But I would say the large majority of bigger grocery stores don’t do it for fear of being sued, and because it’s cheaper/easier to just toss it. We hope that will eventually change as more store owners and specifically corporations realize the benefits in donating as opposed to dumping.

    Again, thanks for visiting.

    Comment by theburts — February 27, 2008 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  4. I am so glad you are continuing this discussion. I can’t wait to see the show and visit the other blogs. Since I have a son who shares so many of your beliefs and views (maybe I’ll pass along his blog info if you want) I truly understand the commitment, passion and desire behind what you do.

    I hope you write a book about this if you have not already done so. If you have, I’d like the title as i do review books too and I’d like to know about it. Of course, I write from the position of the concerned parent as well as the admiring reader. It is hard to be in both
    positions sometimes because I understand the larger issues while being concerned about
    the individual digging into the dumpster. He even had an encounter with a friendly policeman while he was picking up an abandoned school locker for his apartment. He got the locker :)

    Comment by jcorn — February 27, 2008 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  5. THanks for the additional information. :)

    Comment by jcorn — February 27, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  6. Hey Amanda,

    Long time no see…Just thought I would let you know that Katie was at home and called me in a frantic voice to say you were on Oprah. Hope the married life is treating you well. We’ll see you next time you’re in Jackson.

    Jon & Katie Joyner

    Comment by Jon Joyner — February 27, 2008 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  7. […] for reasons of faith, as well as lack of materialism and waste.  You can learn more about Freeganism, this Nashville couple, or their Oprah appearance on […]

    Pingback by Nashville Freegan couple Daniel and Amanda on Oprah « Compassion in Politics — February 27, 2008 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  8. Hello Daniel and Amanda!

    Daniel, I’m pretty sure that you were the last optometrist to check out my eyes. That was a couple of years ago at See. My husband, Roy, and I are Nashville musicians. Over the last few years, we’ve adopted an attitude of voluntary simplicity. But freeganism is new to me and after seeing you both on Oprah, I am completely inspired! I would love to learn more about freeganism and how you acquire your food. I noticed on the Oprah show that the brands of some of the food you had was from a store that I shop at. I had no idea that they THREW AWAY perfectly good food. Can you email me with some advice about how and when to forage for food?

    Thank you and kudos to you both!


    Comment by Kristie Agee — February 27, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  9. So it’s over! We didn’t do as bad as we thought, although we definitely still didn’t articulate ourselves as well as we could have.

    Wow, so we’re having a few people come to our blog site. :) “A few” meaning hundreds. For all you newcomers, welcome! I hope you’ll browse around and specifically check out the series on “Why we do the things we do.” It’ll give you a little more of our reasoning behind our dumpster diving, among other things.

    Again, welcome to everyone, and feel free to comment away!


    Comment by theburts — February 27, 2008 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  10. Daniel,

    Becky just called from home and said you were on TV! I was so excited I had to write a blog post about it. ;-)

    Becky taped the show so I’ll be able to see it tonight.


    Comment by Frank McCown — February 27, 2008 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  11. i was home today due to a “snow day” so i got to see you guys on oprah!
    i think you guys did a great job! seriously! i think that the point of
    over-consumerism was well made as well as the importance of sharing what
    we have with others. thanks for leading by example with your simplistic lifestyles!

    Comment by jody — February 27, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  12. You guys were great! I have the episode and might be able to put it up on youtube if you wanted.

    Comment by Jason Jaszemski — February 27, 2008 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  13. Hi, again. I know you must be swamped-being such celebrities now-I sen you another email-but thought you might check this first-let me say first that I though you both did great-as did Madeline-on the Oprah show-you handled the questions with grace and presented your case well-did not seem at all nervuos.Would you mind if I did a follow-up article about meeting you thru email and our conversation? Also, I had a question that I don’t think was answered on the show-how do you make sure that milk/meat & other refrigerated items have stayed at the required tem & are not spoiled-email me directly if you have time & don’t mind if I do the follow up-would like to do it tonight-but know you may be to busy to get back with me-you can answer the questions in the email and let me know if there is anything else you would have liked to cover on the Oprah show awould like me to say.I see you met jcorn….

    Comment by Elena H — February 27, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  14. Hey guys. I was just introduced to Freeganism on Oprah about 15 minutes ago (DVR’d it). Over the last year I have had some pretty eye opening experiences as both an individual and a business owner that have led me to work towards reducing my own consumerism. To find out there was a group of like-minded individuals was inspiring to say the least. I am inspired to press on and find out more about Freegans. Thanks for sharing.


    Comment by Josh — February 27, 2008 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  15. i hadn’t heard of freeganism before today but boy does it sure jive with a lot of things i believe in. i’m rather shocked to see how much good food gets thrown in the trash. that’s just awful.
    i thought you and amanda did a really good job. i can only imagine how nerve-racking it must have been to be on oprah. ;)
    i’m looking forward to reading more on your blog and maybe seeing if there’s a group local to me that is into this.

    Comment by Crunchy Domestic Goddess — February 27, 2008 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  16. Hi Amanda and Daniel,
    I had your Aunts all to watch, I think we all was concerned how things would be taken, I am glad to report so far all reviews have been very positive. Linda’s Senior Citizens all agreed its about time young folk stood up for the environment. I watched at work and was pleasantly surprised when I wasn’t the object of jokes . Most agreed with your principles ( although most said they couldnt do it) and agreed that something should be done.. Well, As you and others like you touch more lives I am sure more will be done. I am still coming up soon. And maybe I will eat some “Mystery food” out of the can but not sure about the veggies, but just remember I never have been a veggie eater anyway..lol. Michele said hi and she thought yall were great..

    Love you,
    Dad ( Harris)

    Comment by Charles Harris — February 27, 2008 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  17. Hi Daniel and Amanda! I’m a fellow Nashvillian, and I saw you guys on Oprah today! I love it! I’ve spent sometime on your site reading, and I added it to my google homepage! Man, I feel like I have 2 new best friends, and I’ve never met you guys! What you guys are doing is amazing! Thanks for sharing it with the world and being transparent! You are definitely shining the light of the Lord on important issues that our culture faces! Thank you again! When my husband got home from work he endured my ranting about you guys! He’s not so enthused about diving in dumpsters, but I sure am!!! (I think he just needs a little coaxing;) I’d love to go with you guys sometime, and I have a friend who would like to also! I’m sure you will be hearing that a lot now, with all the publicity, but if we could tag along we’d love too! This could be the start of a new revolution in Nashville… or maybe it’s been started for a while, and I’m just late on the uptake! Either way, it’s awesome!!! In His Name, Christina

    Comment by Christina — February 27, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  18. Godd job guys, I am totally inspired. I’m not sure where to go about attempting this in canada. Do you have to do it at night? I want to look into this in my community….great awareness guys, I had NO IDEA!!!!

    Comment by Kate Swartz — February 28, 2008 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  19. I definitely want to tag along as well! Maybe you guys could organize a “trash tour”?

    Comment by Kristie Agee — February 28, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  20. Way to go!! I applaud your efforts to avoid materialism and not waste the resources we have. That’s awesome. It really got me thinking. I live near Nashville and was wondering if there’s a freegan group in the area.

    I have never heard of Freegans before, but I’d say my mom has pretty much been one and passed it on to us. My mom found our trash pick couches and the rest of our furniture is mostly free, passed on from family, or craigslist finds. Now you’ve got me thinking about other ways I can save money and limit our consumerism.

    Keep up the trash picking!! Keep working at going debt free and paying off your mortgage! Way to go!!


    Comment by Jenni Halterman — February 28, 2008 @ 9:17 am | Reply

  21. Thanks for reading my site! You can see you are among an elite few! Jason and I enjoyed watching your segment on Oprah.
    We shop once a month at a nearby Amish grocery store that stocks a lot of similar merchandise; dented cans or boxes, just-past-expiration-date packaged food, and really reasonably priced local produce. I have never really thought about dumpster diving before, but we shop where we do for many of the same reasons. I guess I feel better supporting an independent, local-run grocery store versus a big, national, mega-corporation. I had no idea how much food gets wasted. Kudos on your efforts!

    Comment by Susan Jaszemski — February 28, 2008 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  22. Caught Oprah yesterday and saw you guys. Very impressed. My husband and I watched together. We’re around your age (I’m 27, he’s 30), we’re proud dumpster divers (right now our freezer is so full of dived food, the door barely shuts), and we kept commenting through the whole thing how much we wished we could hang out with you guys (unfortunately, we’re stuck up here in Chicago!). Good for you for showing to the world that you don’t have to spend oodles of money to live and eat well (my gosh, I’ve never eat so well in my life! How sad is it that I had to start eating out of a dumpster to eat like a king? LOL). Anyway, keep up the good diving. You guys look like a lot of fun. :)

    Comment by Stephanie — February 28, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  23. Daniel and Amanda,

    I was inspired from watching the Oprah show and learning about Freeganism. I have never heard about it before.

    Could you give me advice on where to go(to look for food) and time of day and how to not get in trouble if poeple stop and ask what is going on?

    I would love to come and just shadow you to see what it is like?

    Do you always go alone or is there a group here in Nashville?


    Comment by Tara — February 28, 2008 @ 11:50 am | Reply

  24. I saw you on Oprah yesterday and just now found your blog. You were both awesome. It was really inspiring and makes me want to do better (I buy a lot of things but I’m trying to break the habit.) Your segment was the most interesting part of the show.

    Comment by Jenny Harmon — February 28, 2008 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  25. Look at our lovely celebrities :)

    How’s it feel to be famous?

    The face of Freeganism ;)

    Comment by Ariah Fine — February 28, 2008 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  26. I’m so glad that there is a name for my disease: freeganism. I’ve never dumpster dived for food but have for furniture, toys, etc. My favorite verses are also Matthew 25:31-46. Your comment on being different than “the other optometrist” was dead on. I have recently read many books on simplicity that I checked out from the Nashville Public Library including Foster’s. If you are looking for a good read on homelessness, check out “Under the Overpass”. It is a recount of a Christian college students decision to become homeless for roughly six months.

    I’d love to get your thoughts on Christianity today and how to address the materialism we see in the followers of Jesus, as well as the “church”.

    Comment by Chad — February 28, 2008 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  27. I watched Oprah that I’d Tivo’d and was really impressed with your story! I made my husband watch too and then realized you guys were in Nashville. We’re near Nashville too (Rutherford Cty) and around the same age! How cool. :) Read some of your blog lastnight and looked up several verses too… much food for thought so thanks for that. I’m now looking on how to serve others locally & abroad (loved the kiva site, btw) instead of just ourselves. Any good book reading recommendations?? We are building a new house in the country right now with the hopes of doing some organic gardening; fruit trees; composting; raising some animals; basic homesteading stuff; and just living simpler (the main goal). **Any chances of doing a “trash tour” anytime? I’d really, really love to try it. ** :)

    Comment by Ashley — February 28, 2008 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  28. hey! thanks for the blog post. you’ve inspired some friends and i to look more into this lifestyle :).

    Comment by tiffany — February 28, 2008 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  29. Thanks for all your comments! We will eventually respond, but we are leaving for a mission trip tomorrow. For those in/around Nashville that are interested in getting a group together for a tour or just to discuss things, please send an email to: nashvillefreegan@gmail.com

    After we return (next Friday), we’ll start organizing something, but we need your emails to do that! We are really excited that so many people have shown an interest in this.

    Comment by theburts — February 28, 2008 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  30. To Kristie and Roy, Hi!! Yes, that was me. I remember you guys, and still want to hear you play someday. :) To you guys and all the others (friends, patients, or random strangers alike) who are interested in the dumpster party, or where to go for food, or where to start in your newfound freeganism interest…Amanda started a new e-mail address where you can write us and let us know of your interest. It’s nashvillefreegan@gmail.com …we will be out of the country for a few days, but will try to figure something out when we return. So write us!

    To Jason, I’d love to see a youtube video if you could do that! I have some good friends in China who weren’t able to watch it, so that’d be great!! Thanks for the offer…

    To all inquiring about Freegans or Freegan groups in Nashville, I don’t think (not sure) that any groups exist, but there are quite a few people who do it in Nashville. Here’s a little extra to keep in mind to everyone with newfound interest in freeganism. In my newest post (entitled “Wow.”) I discuss the term freegan…my advice is that you don’t have to join a group or make a statement or sign a pledge to “be a freegan.” You can start living differently, freegan style, even if you just change one thing at a time. Start recycling now if you don’t already. Compost to give you a better idea of how much food you waste. Research the term “precycling” or just try giving away some stuff. Don’t feel overwhelmed with all the changes you want to make, but also don’t feel like you have to become an official “freegan” to start making changes. Does that make sense?? Probably not…it’s been a long day at work. :)

    To Stephanie, maybe we could meet you guys when we go to Chicago next. We love it there, except we’re going to try to go in the spring/fall next time. Cause ouch, cold Chicago wind hurts my face.

    To Ashley, honestly the teachings of Jesus Christ are enough, if we’re able to look at them with fresh eyes and actually try to follow them. However, it’s so easy to only follow what we want and to fit right in with the norm. Only recently have I begun to see that Christians probably shouldn’t be normal in a society where so much is wrong. A book that was really influential in opening my eyes was Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I discovered that it was entirely possible to follow his teachings radically in our current day. Great book, great guy. Similar to some of the stuff you guys are doing, which by the way sounds awesome!!! Can we come garden with you? :)

    Thanks again for all your comments. You’ve made Amanda and me extremely glad we made the decision to go public about our lifestyle. We still have a lot to learn, and can’t wait to meet some of you and encourage each other.

    Comment by theburts — February 28, 2008 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  31. Hey guys,
    I didn’t get to see the show but I watched a bit of it on Oprah’s website. That is awesome, I had no idea you were into that. I think you two made a huge impact on everyone’s lives. I heard people talking about the show before I even knew that is was you. The freegan community will multiply because of that show I’m sure. If you know of a video with the whole show on it let me know, I’d like to see the whole thing. That is super cool that you got on Oprah. I now have FAMOUS Cousins.
    Later, Drew

    Comment by Drew Matthews — February 28, 2008 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  32. Sure thing! :) You’re always welcome here, keep my email address handy and let me know the next time you’re in the Chicago area. I definitely hope for your sake that you’re here when it’s warmer out, this winter has been BRUTAL (it’s snowing as I type this, sigh). Prayers for you two while you’re on your mission. :)

    Comment by Stephanie — February 29, 2008 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  33. I missed the show as well but someone I work with told me about it… Apparently it was helpful in getting an older nun to eat some of the food my friend and I pulled out of the trash and shared. ;)

    Comment by lpkb — February 29, 2008 @ 7:08 am | Reply

  34. Thanks for the response, Daniel. I just sent an email to you and Amanda through your new gmail account. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you and meeting Amanda. I haven’t had my eyes checked since I saw you last. My prescription just never seems to change. Thats a good thing!

    Have a great trip!


    Comment by Kristie Agee — February 29, 2008 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  35. Hey guys,

    After watching you on Oprah, we were inspired to try “dumpster diving” for the first time last night. I wish I could say that it went well. We could not find anything! Most dumpsters were either behind locked gates or were just locked. Do you have any tips on how to go about dumpster diving? What times/places are the best? A number of my friends are very interested in pursuing this lifestyle. Thanks for your help!

    Comment by Drew — February 29, 2008 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  36. I was very impressed with both of you, Daniel and Amanda! It is refreshing to see people shun craven materialism. It makes it even more impressive because you are both professionals and don’t have to live simply.

    I admire you both. Keep up the good message you are sending! I hope you continue this weblog, or perhaps create a website where people could visit to hear more about you.

    I may have missed the point, but to me it seems that dumpster diving is only one aspect of living simply.

    Several years ago, Guideposts had an article about a wealthy married couple who got rid of all of their possessions that didn’t have a purpose, pared down their wardrobe to only five sets of matching outfits, and gave the rest to God. I’ll never forget that story, and yours reminds me of them.

    Best wishes,

    Comment by Jan — February 29, 2008 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  37. Dear Daniel and Amanda – We live in Franklin Tn and are moving on May 1. We cannot take our food stuff and smaller items with us due to room constraints. We would love to share them with you. Let me know if you are interested. Take care.

    Comment by Leigh — March 6, 2008 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  38. Drew, depending on where you live, the store names may be different. we go to variety stores (maybe like dollar general?) or smaller grocery stores that sell their produce prepackaged, and we go mostly to upper / middle class areas. We usually go after hours, but not always…I’d recommend just scouting some sunday afternoon while it’s light out, even looking inside different dumpsters to get an idea which ones might be productive. If you want more suggestions, go up a few comments and find the one written by lpkb…click on his name. Lary wrote a great post about dumpster diving, even some etiquette and guidelines that are common among divers. that’ll help you a lot.

    Jan, you’re certainly right that dumpster diving is only one aspect of living simply…it’s the one that people remember, cause it’s so fascinating, but things like trying to shop and buy less, reusing and repairing clothing and other items, and turning off the TV that tells us our current stuff isn’t good enough are much more significant, in my mind. Your comparison to that family is humbling…Amanda and I have a long way to go from where we want to be. People who’ve made huge steps like selling all their stuff at once are incredible inspirations…I love it when folks actually take Jesus’ words to the rich ruler as directed to them and get rid of all their encumbering riches. What a huge testimony, and so much more refreshing than hearing that verse followed by “That doesn’t mean YOU have to…” Thanks for the comments.

    Leigh, :) that’s so nice of you. Two of our best friends, whenever they move, freecycle or craigslist everything and take only what they can fit in their car, then do the same to get new furniture where they move to. Since we’re in a pretty small apartment here, it’d probably be better if you could find a place to donate those…SafeHaven (www.safehaven.org) is my favorite shelter in town, and they’ve got a thrift store for the things they don’t use. If you do have anything leftover that they won’t take, then let us know and we’ll find something good to do with it. Thanks, and peace be with you during your move.

    Comment by theburts — March 12, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  39. Daniel & Amanda – I am a pastor in Nashville, I’m very interested in “freeganism” and I was wondering if you guys might be up for doing a “trash tour” in Nashville for a small group from my church.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

    Michael (m.reddish@emmauschurch.tv)

    Comment by emmauschurch — March 24, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  40. I am interested in how you do this, I live in MUrfreesboro, tn. Do you have a group, lets start a freegan group in Nashville. Anyone interested in getting a group together on how to work on getting these stores from dumping all there expired groceries email ginnyvaet11@yahoo.com

    Comment by ginny — September 27, 2008 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  41. I’m from Nashville and really would like to get into this too!

    Comment by Annieeggplant — September 2, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Reply


    Comment by MAR — July 29, 2010 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

    • Funny, I’ve never really been afraid of rodent eggs. :P Not sure about groups of freegans in Chicago, but I’m sure there are plenty.

      Comment by theburts — July 29, 2010 @ 4:33 pm | Reply


    Comment by MAR — July 29, 2010 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  44. Pls contact me via email or 423.284.1441. I’m a chiropractor looking for someting to motivate me in life & u did. I’m currently in Nash. Let me know how I can help ur cause. Staten.

    Comment by Dr Staten Medsker — July 29, 2010 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  45. My husband and I were wondering if we could maybe go with you some night and see what this is all about. WE like the idea of this and could really use the help with groceries! Thanks

    Comment by Jennifer — July 29, 2010 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  46. queen crowns pictures,

    Comment by Lbzfalxt — July 4, 2011 @ 9:30 am | Reply

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