Monday, June 7, 2010

Free Produce Distributed at Free Farm

Recently, my best friend Julie sent me a New York Times article describing the labors and challenges surrounding a group of freegans in Buffalo, NY and their evolving relationship to a squat started years ago.  Check out the article here.  Note that the author has researched freeganism's philosophical genealogy, tracing it back to Gerrard Winstanley and the English Diggers.  The author also mentions the Digger's 20th century San Franciscan reincarnation which, I think, The Free Farm's spirit is deeply connected to.  Please do check into the history of the Diggers, it is infinitely fascinating.  I promise.

And so my mind is set to work. How can I help but make connections to the Buffalo freegans and the work at the Free Farm?  I can not, and don't really want to, speak for the whole Free Farm community.  I only know that I view the United States' brand of capitalism as remiss in meeting human needs at best, and at worst a violent, dehumanizing structure that maintains and legitimizes unjustifiable inequalities and wanton luxury all in the same breath.  One of the long-term residents from the article is quoted as saying, “Many of us in the house see the whole system of private property as being something that oppresses people...”.  

And we're in good company.  Lately I keep coming back to Martin Luther King Jr.'s refrain from his 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam" calling the United States to "undergo a radical revolution of values."  King explains, "We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

This radical revolution of values is my deepest hope for our society, and myself.  It is why I work at the Free Farm.  It is a place where the paradigm shift away from things, and towards people is tangible.  Combatting the interconnected "giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism" is happening all over right now.  Its manifestations are limited only by our creative visions.  In Buffalo they are challenging property rights with a long-term squat.  In San Francisco we give away fresh produce, and labor toward an inclusive, welcoming, community.  It's cheesy, but I'll stop saying it when it's no longer true, there is nothing more revolutionary in this society than love in action.  I hope to continue expanding my understanding of how "Free" challenges, with love, the hierarchies embedded in all three of King's triplets by growing food and building community.

Here are some pictures of our love in action this past week.  We've started giving out produce regularly each Saturday to anyone who walks by and has need.  


P.S.  Stay tuned for information for our composting toilet workshop, June 19th, with Laura Allen from Greywater Action!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post! Check out this site by my friend Eric if you want to learn more about Free and some experiments later in the 70's, including a commune I lived in that promoted Free:

    Being a Vegan, I always thought a freegan is mostly a vegan that eats free food meat or non-meat, including road kill.

    Also, the HomoHomestead Bike Tour including the Free Farm is this Sunday at 3:30pm. ANd this Wednesday we are getting a 20yd load of compost and can use extra hands (we are getting 12 from the Metta Center). You can read about this and other Free Farm news on my website.