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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Are you an occasional freegetarian?

In our house, we are "occasional freegetarians".

According to the Urban Dictionary, a freegetarian is "someone who is toying with the idea of freeganism, but still works and pays for things most of them time." A freegan, in contrast, is someone who opts out of the traditional economy and prefers to salvage what would otherwise be wasted.

Basically a freegetarian is someone who gladly accepts free stuff. Haven't we all done that? Someone we know is getting rid of something, offers it to us, and we're interested so we accept.

Where this gets weird for some folks is accepting (or even going after) free food. But again, haven't we all done that? Thanksgiving dinner at family's place, take home a share of the turkey and some side dishes. Not weird, right? Ah, but the weirdness comes in to play when the free food does not come from family or close friends.

Some freegetarians dumpster dive, urban glean, and forage in the wild. I draw the line at dumpster diving. I'm just not comfortable with that. But some folks are, so I'm not judging. It's just not for me.

I do pick berries along the side of highways. A neighbor offered us the opportunity to pick their apple tree, which we gladly accepted. And we also just seem to be in the right place at the right time, when perfectly good food is being disposed.

Two weeks ago, my two daughters worked at a tea at our church, and the nice ladies gave them 3 pies to take home. Yesterday afternoon, my daughters and I served at another tea, and the ladies there asked if we'd like sandwiches, fruit, raw veggies and cookies to take home. Yes, please! (No dinner to cook!)

So, this is what I mean by "occasional freegetarians". We aren't out there pursuing the free food (most of the time), but it's a happy bonus when it does come our way. 

Then what's the difference between a freegetarian and a freeloader? Well, that's like what's the difference between a symbiotic relationship and a parasitic relationship. With symbiosis, both parties benefit. While a parasite just shows up at mealtime, rather coincidentally, every Sunday evening at 6 PM.

For our family, does this ever feel like we're being freeloaders? No, and I think it's because this free food is always offered in generosity, or as a thank you for something that we've helped with. And we reciprocate whenever it's possible. Which makes for a very nice relationship. When I have a surplus of baking supplies and time, I bake a bunch of cookies or pies for events. And then, when I'm bushed from helping out with some event, I'm rewarded with a meal, all prepared for our family dinner.

If only more things in society could work that way.


  1. Good post,Lili.
    Whenever such moments present themselves, I always consider it good karma. I've done nice things for others and sometimes that comes back in spades. Such a wonderful way to live life!

    1. Thank you, Jayne. The best part for me with this weekend's tea, was that I had a ball working there. It was a special tea for some very special people, and I just really enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves. So to receive the surplus food was 100% pure bonus!

  2. We definitely take things like this when we are offered them and have at various occasions like you've mentioned, Lili. We do not consider it to be free loading either. Nice post. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Thank you. Good to hear you feel the same way!

  3. Nothing tastes better than extra food someone else has cooked that they want you to have.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      it was such a great dinner. Those sandwiches and extras tasted so much better than what I was going to make. Yet they were just sandwiches. The surprise of not having to cook our dinner made everything all that much better.

  4. So there is a name for me? I look around my house and when it comes to the furniture I own, only one piece was purchased. The rest was stuff people didn't want any longer. I feel free to change things to fit my personality and have no guilt about paying for something that wasn't quite me in the beginning.

    1. HI Lois,
      yes, I'd describe you as a freegetarian. You still participate in the economy through monetary exchange for some goods and services, but you also are happy to take on something that would have been discarded. You are the queen of salvaging furniture that would otherwise wind up in a landfill, IMO!

    2. Thank you I gladly accept both titles :-)

  5. I love getting free food :) I'm often amazed by what people are going to throw out, and will offer to take it just to stop it ending up in the bin. If everyone shared food, there would be a lot less food waste!

    1. Hi Economies,
      It is amazing that some people will throw away perfectly good food. I see it in restaurants, and I'm just astounded that it's the acceptable thing to do!


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