Free Food For Everyone! – Meet Tel Aviv’s Freegan Society

It’s six in the evening. The counters of Tel Aviv’s famous market, Shuk HaCarmel are about to close. Oddly enough this is the time when some of the regular visitors of this colourful paradise of fruits and spices, are arriving to collect their dinner… 

*A magyar szövegért görgess a bejegyzés végére.


The only difference between them and the people with bulging plastic bags is that they don’t intend to spend any money tonight. Or any other day for that matter. And of course the goods which they are looking for aren’t arranged across a tidy table: they’re simply thrown on the pavement as an ever increasing mountain of unwanted food sprouts up from the middle of the street.


But who are these youngsters, hipsters, unemployed immigrants and cheeky old ladies, who say no to throwing away a banana, just because it doesn’t have that perfect boomerang shape? Society calls them “freegans“,  but they are much more than just another group of weirdos with a trendy name. They are the ones who recycle all the stuff that’s not pretty, round, or shiny enough to eat for the majority.


And as from a vegetarian’s point of view, as Israel is nothing less then the Garden of Eden itself, a Tel Avivian freegan’s refrigerator will always be stuffed with tonnes of avocados and apples, peaches and pears, mangoes and melons, and if he is not too shy to join the street cats at the little courts behind the buildings of the market, he’ll be blessed with bagels, baguettes and breads as well.


Some call them utopists, some think they are simply disgusting and some say they are doing an amazing job for the Earth by drinking the tears of Mother Nature herself. Whatever they really are, one thing is clear: the secret ingredient of a delicious dinner is never some expensive speciality from a far away land, but the love which the cook is putting in the pot. And as the freegans have an enormous amount of love for their planet, these street-combers will have tastier, (and of course cheaper) meals, than any picky gentleman wiping off his white napkin in some posh restaurant of Neve Tsedek.


So next time you’re visiting the “shuk“, just leave your wallet at home. Take some courage with you instead: not everyone is ready to get into the groove of scavenging. Oh, and a piece of good advice: do not wear your Manolo Blahniks for this alternative shopping spree. A pear of dirty flip-flops will do just fine. Wanna get involved? Join the international “Food Not Bombs” team and help feeding the needy with delish free food.


Mit jelent a “freegan” szó?

Az életmódot a pazarló nyugati társadalom kritikusai népszerűsítik, lényege pedig az, hogy semmit sem vásárolnak – helyette egyszerűen elhozzák a piackról, éttermekből, élelmiszerboltok szemétlerakóiból a kidobásra váró ételeket. Ma már Magyarországon is virágzik a freegan kultúra, sőt, a “Food Not Bombs” önkéntesei például hajléktalanok százait etetik olyan vegán finomságokkal, melyeknek alapanyagait eredetileg kidobásra szánták.

Amikor 2011-ben visszaköltöztünk Tel Avivba, és összebútoroztunk a londoni barátainkkal, mi is rendszeresen “freegankodtunk”. Tel Aviv Carmel piacán késő délután indul a freegan felfedező túra: hipszterek, hajéktalanok, jól öltözött negyvenesek egyaránt ládányi avokádóval, paradicsommal, karfiollal, salátával, zöldfűszerekkel, kenyérrel térhetnek haza. Ha a Fehér Városban jársz, győződj meg róla magad is.


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