Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

February 28, 2008


We’ve had over 1,500 hits on our blog since yesterday…up from our average of around 50. I guess that’s what people call the “Oprah Effect.”  :)  Hi everyone! Welcome. We’re really glad to have all the visitors and all the wonderful and encouraging comments.

We’ve had a lot of people express their interest in the subject and even in possibly organizing a “trash tour.” Though we’re unable to answer everyone’s comments, I am so glad to see enthusiasm in the idea that ordinary people can make a stand against our nation’s rampant consumerism and waste. The trash tour would be more difficult than in New York, since we can’t simply walk from place to place. But we might be able to figure something out. At the very least, I would love to organize a meeting where we could discuss some of the different aspects of freeganism.

Thanks again to the wonderful people at Oprah who invited us to this conversation. I just have a couple of initial thoughts after the show.

I’ve seen a couple of comments on various places pointing out (often angrily) that “freegan” is just a new label for something that’s existed for years. That may be true. People have been dumpster diving ever since there were dumpsters, although freeganism is certainly much more than that. People have been repairing and reusing clothes and products for years. Many people in this country who were involved (whether adult or children) in the Great Depression still hold high values such as thrift, frugality, resourcefulness, and minimal waste. However, the voluntary practice of freeganism in an attempt to make a statement against overconsumption may not be as well known. In fact, we didn’t really know what freeganism was until long after we started practicing it. Even now, our approach is different than true freeganism, as are some of the ways in which we carry out our convictions. So don’t get too caught up in the term “freegan”…if you’re doing your part, you can call yourself a “bleekybleeky” for all I care.  :)

One other thing I’d like to quickly address is that of corporate donations. The show made it seem that no grocery stores donate any of their products, whereas that definitely does occur. I actually just found out that a guy at our church works specifically to convince corporations to make donating mandatory for local store managers, all in an effort to get more food donated to Second Harvest Food Bank (from there, it’s distributed to homeless shelters, etc). Costco donates, at the least, shopping carts full of bread and other pastries every day. So we do know that this happens, and encourage it. We will say time and time again that we wish dumpster diving wasn’t possible because stores donate everything possible, but that’s simply not the case…yet.

To those involved in the food / grocery business, please check out the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, signed by Clinton in 1996. It removes any liability for good faith donations to non-profit organizations such as Second Harvest. We have so much surplus food in this country that no one in the United States should ever go hungry. Please, I beg you, to consider those who are less fortunate and take the time and energy to see to it that everything that can be used is donated. It may take a little research on your part and it might require a few extra hours of labor a month, but even outside of your moral obligations the financial benefits are plentiful (the Second Harvest website is a wonderful tool and great place to start or increase your donations).

With that said, food donations are wonderful, important, and needed…but they will never be enough. Freeganism, like I mentioned, is about so much more than how much food we waste. We should get surplus food to where it’s most needed, we should recycle our cell phones after we’re done with them, and we should always give to places like Goodwill before we give to our landfills. But none of that significantly decreases our consumption of the earth’s resources, and it’s time we started thinking about the devastating effects of that overconsumption. Freeganism goes further than being responsible with our waste; it begs the question “why do we have so much waste in the first place?” It’s time we started loving our neighbors by shredding our credit cards and treading lightly on the earth…somewhere other than a shopping mall. 

Since we leave Friday for a medical mission trip to Haiti, we’ll be out of touch for a bit. I promise we’ll try to answer some comments eventually. In the meantime, so that our blog doesn’t become a meetup site (grin), here’s an e-mail where you can let us know of your interest in getting together with us…either for a trash tour or an informal meeting to discuss freeganism in Nashville. It’s nashvillefreegan@gmail.com and as soon as we get back we’ll start working to make that happen. In the meantime, browse around the blog and feel free as always to leave comments!!

Peace to all.


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!

November 6, 2007


Filed under: Consumption and consumerism — theburts @ 4:27 pm

I’ve been reading some on this blog recently. The last couple of posts are about being socially responsible while buying gifts…a topic we should all be considering since Christmas time is right around the corner. Check out this quote from her last post.

“…it’s still hard to find a gift that will please. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you’re off. Sometimes you’re trying to please the parent, not the child, anyway. That’s why I am gradually shifting to contributions instead of gifts. Most American children have way too much stuff to need more. Check out kiva.org where you can “give” gift cards which allow the recipient to make a microloan to a thirdworld breadwinner. Now that is a cool gift.”

I know kiva is nothing new, but this is just a reminder that you can make a difference in the world this holiday season. Whether it’s kiva, world vision, heifer intl, or your favorite other charity, take some time to consider these words this Christmas:


October 17, 2007

Blog Action Day #2

I don’t know why I should do the talking, Amanda…your pictures are a thousand words. Thanks for the post. I will say that I’m realizing more and more the impact of our lives on the environment. Good friends have helped me see how huge it is that we respect the Earth and do our parts to take care of it.

Here’s the practicality side of it…at work, that means I recycle, reuse trash bags if they’re just filled with a bunch of paper, and (though it was not the reason I purchased it) use a “paperless” file system.

At home, we recycle everything we can, including “recycled” food thrown away by corporations (meaning grocery store dumpster food), I’m going to be biking to work more, we turn the lights off, and we follow the “yellow? let it mellow!” rule. :) We could do so much more still…like only have the water on during the rinsing parts of our showers (is my former roomate still doing this, btw? i’ve let that habit pass), save excess sink water in kitchen and bath, grow and eat vegetables in our tiny patio space, use the a/c even less, etc. So we’re definitely not where we need to be in this area, but we are at least living more responsibly than 2 years ago. Keep challenging us here, friends.

So why is this is important? (a question I sincerely asked dear friends of mine ~2 years ago, specifically how being environmentally conscious could possibly relate to our walk with Christ. thank you, ariah, mindy, and chris, for treating me with love but also for challenging me with your ideas. i remember that conversation well.)

See below pictures. Then go look up some pictures of landfills, specifically in countries like the Dominican Republic and Haiti where there are no rules and no money to have organized trash collection/disposal. That’s what we are doing to our Earth. We, each of us who participates in consumerism, are deteriorating such a beautiful world by every piece of trash we toss, by every gallon of water we waste, and by every kilowatt of energy we burn. And once again, “those who always pay are the poorest of the poor.” (Derek Webb)

Lastly, I’ll quote from “The Motorcycle Diaries.” (great thought provoking movie, if you haven’t seen it) Che Guevara and Alberto Granado stood at an Incan civilization in Argentina and marveled at the beauty of the structures built high in the mountains. Simple but practical homes and communal spaces, beautiful in their architecture and strong enough to still stand hundreds of years later. Now abandoned. Fog was lifting from the green hills. And Che remarks in his diary:

“The Incas had a high knowledge of astronomy, medicine, math, among others. But the Spanish invaders had powder. How would America be today if things had been different? How is it possible that i feel nostalgia for a world i never knew? How do you explain that a civilization capable of building this is wiped out to build……this?”

And the camera pans to view the huge city down in the valley below. Filled with smog, filth, and an enormous span of buildings and automobiles. A stark contrast to the beauty of that ancient world…ugly.

How I wish, sometimes, to be a part of a civilization, or at least a community, that grows its own food and doesn’t feel the need to buy everything the industrial/corporate world decides would “improve” our lifestyle. Until then, I’ll try to live responsibly so as to leave only small footprints on our Earth. I’ll try to remember the beauty and wonder of the civilizations before us who “somehow managed” to get by without electricity, drywall, steel, and gasoline. And even though “Blog Action Day” is over, I encourage you to consider the same.

October 16, 2007

Blog Action Day

Filed under: Consumption and consumerism,creation care — theburts @ 1:27 am

So, Cool People Care reported on some movement to have a lot of bloggers post about environmental concerns today. I’ll let Daniel do the talking, but I’ll just say… if for no other reason (religious, ethical, whatever), the following are some good re asons to respect the Earth and do your part to help protect the environment.

17 16 15 13 1

10 974631112 2 5 14

October 15, 2007

Finally, my birthday thing picture

Filed under: Consumption and consumerism,Just for fun,Married Life — theburts @ 1:16 pm

Thanks again, Amanda. I love your creativity, frugality, and just plain silliness. <insert big smooch here>


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