by Isabelle Z., Natural News:
Most of us would like to reduce our monthly grocery expenses, but few of us are willing to go to the lengths that William Reid does. The Washington, D.C., grad student has found a way to eat essentially for free, spending just $5.50 on food in the past two years. What’s his secret? He hits up his local dumpsters.
While working as a volunteer for an organization called Food Not Bombs which collects unsold food items from stores and then donates it to area food pantries, Reid noticed the tremendous amount of good food that was being tossed. He decided to see if it was possible to survive by scouring the dumpsters at supermarkets for unsold food, and he has been quite successful. In fact, he said that finding free food became “too easy,” so he decided to go vegan to challenge himself. While this has made it harder to find food, he is still getting by with little effort.
The $5.50 he spent was a once-off incident after he was stuck in an island in Maryland while shooting a film. His only option was to buy some food, and he says he spent the money on a protein bar and Chex Mix. This paid meal was far inferior to what he finds in dumpsters. He said, “It wasn’t even real food.”
Dumpster food finds surprisingly nutritious
While you might think that foraging through dumpsters would yield little more than some stale bread and a Doritos bag with a few crumbs clinging to the bottom, nothing could be further from the truth. Reid insists that the food he finds is in surprisingly good shape and he eats a lot healthier than most people.
He says that he eats all manner of food, including fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk and meat. Not only has he never gotten sick from the food he finds, but he has also not had to make any compromises when it comes to nutrition.
In fact, he nonchalantly describes his process as similar to shopping. He still gets to choose what he eats, although the options behind the store might be a little more limited than those presented to those who go inside.
“Other people go shopping for their food; I’ll go around back and see what’s available,” he stated. “I’m getting to make the same decisions about what I’m eating as another person would.”
The practice is not illegal when it’s done on public property, and Reid has never gotten into trouble for it. On the contrary, he says that some store employees even hand food they are about to throw away to him directly so that he doesn’t have to rifle through the trash to find it. He’s using his success as a way to draw attention to the sickening amount of food that is wasted in our country.
Food waste rampant in the U.S.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that around 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste globally each year. It is estimated that around 40 percent of the food in the U.S. goes uneaten. Nearly half of this loss comes from restaurants and supermarkets, which is why Reid is so successful at keeping himself well-fed. While this is a disturbing statistic all on its own, it is made even worse by the fact that one out of every seven American households does not have regular access to good food.
While you might not be willing to follow in Reid’s footsteps, there are ways you can reduce your grocery bill without getting your hands too dirty. One way is by growing your own food. With a cleverly designed vertical garden like the Garden Tower, you can grow your own garden in just four square feet of space and keep a bountiful harvest in your home. This not only cuts down on your expenses on organic produce, which can be rather pricey, but it also cuts down on your trips to the store. Best of all, it continues to grow until you’re ready to eat it, which means you won’t be contributing to the food waste problem by tossing produce that has gone bad before you were able to eat it.
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