Wednesday 14 December 2011: Food Not Bombs
This scene is inside the A Space in my neighborhood, a place I'm more familiar with than I'm able to explain. For about twenty years, it has been one of the many sites for servings of Food Not Bombs, which gives away donated food for free --food that would otherwise be wasted --sometimes prepared food, but always recovered vegetarian food that is taken away in bags. It's done in such a way that people in need of food will mingle with people who drop by on principle, and the general idea is that there is no need for hunger in the fist place --there never was. Every famine in recorded history was a human creation.
In the 1990s I would drive to the food distribution center in South Philadelphia and fill my van with whatever was given. If I brought a young man along to help, we'd always have to sort through expired cabbages and sprouted potatoes, discarding piles of inedible food. If the helpers happened to include a pretty young woman, the cigar-smoking wholesalers would hand over fresh kiwi fruits, strawberries, quinces --you name it, without any difference in what was said. I always found that difference hilarious.
In other cities FNB has been raided by police, sometimes bringing the activists through long and fairly serious criminal cases. Fortunately no such thing has happened here. Another chapter serves two days a week outside the main public library, and in summer this one operates at a nearby park. The first chapter in Philadelphia served hot soup here as an extension of locally-based New Society Publishers' release of Food Not Bombs by C.T. Lawrence Butler and Keith McHenry (1992). After about a year they got tired of working hard to "feed the crusties," as they put it (dirty, often drunken drifters sometimes gravitate to a source of free food), and over the years, several different groups have taken up the cause. Although it's unstated, this is an anarchist thing and everyone involved knows that, here and everywhere.
On the left side of the room are boxes of produce & some tangerine drinks. At right is the bread donation from a nearby bakery & coffee roaster. At lower left is a pot of fuit salad that's being served, and the donation pitcher. On the wall are new paintings by Mary DeWitt, whose artwork focuses on the lives of women serving long prison sentences.
I used to stop in and eat or gather a little food here just because it felt right. Tonight I stopped in and loaded up a large tote bag because I need the food. Long Live Food Not Bombs!