Food Waste Activism and Dumpster Diving Resource Guide

If you are interested in being a part of the solution to food waste then this is the place for you. I’ve been passionately working to bring attention to food waste and hunger since 2013 and over the last 3.5 years have created a lot of videos, blogs and guides to help people get involved in this cause. In this resource guide I’ve brought it all together in one place to give you a plethora of ideas, inspiration, and information to be a part of the solution to food waste. Whether it’s starting your own food rescue program, helping with existing programs or you just want to dumpster dive for food, I’ve got you covered here.
To start, here’s a playlist of food waste and dumpster diving videos:

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The Dumpster Divers Defense Fund

Meet Tony Moyer and Sam Troyer, brothers-in-law in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. They’ve been dumpster diving for 10 months, collecting Thousands of dollars’ worth of good food and donating it to people in need. But in October they were arrested for dumpster diving at a CVS and charged with loitering and prowling at night as well as criminal trespassing.

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Nothing New for a Year 2017

I’m not usually a New Year’s resolution kind of guy but this year I’m making a huge one. For all of 2017 I won’t buy anything new. That’s right, nothing new at all.

I should say this won’t be nearly as challenging for me as it would be for most people. I’ve been simplifying my life for about 5 years now and have drastically reduced my needs and consumption during this time. I own fewer than 111 possessions, have a net worth of just a few thousand dollars, and practice a mostly zero waste life. Because of this I already buy very little stuff and I’m very happy and comfortable this way. However buying NOTHING NEW FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR will be a whole new ball game for me. Nothing new for a week would be easy. Nothing new for a month would take a little preparation. But nothing new for a year is uncharted territory for me. I’m raising my sail and sailing far away from consumerism. I’m not sure if I’ll be 100% successful in this endeavor but I will be 100% transparent. For those who want to stay informed I’ll be posting a monthly blog and will let you know if I make exceptions or mistakes. I will list out every single new item I purchase if I do.

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Near Zero Waste Food in a Food Desert

Trying to go zero waste in a low income area neighborhood vs. a wealthy neighborhood can result in two very different stories. To read a guide written by someone in downtown posh Manhattan that only sees zero waste through their own lens could prove to be a little disappointing for someone living in a low income area. I often hear that going zero waste is only something that wealthy people can do. For the most part I disagree with this statement however there is some truth in it. In certain ways going zero waste is much easier for people who live in wealthier neighborhoods that have more options. For example many low income areas don’t have easy access to a grocery store with a bulk refill section and thus have to buy more packaged foods. This one variable alone makes it much more difficult to zero waste grocery shop. 

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Leaving Green Footprints: The Northeast

Phew, the first two months of Green Footprints have been a whirlwind! My name is Austen Hughes, and just in case you’re dropping in for the first time, let me tell you a little about myself. I’m traveling around the country in my green VW van named turtle, planting 50 trees in every state and running a mile for every tree planted– a total of 2,500 miles and 2,500 trees! The goal of the project is to inspire everyone to take small ‘steps’ to make their environmental Footprint a little more Green. I’ve been on the road since early September, and have seen and learned a whole lot already! Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far.

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A Huge Thanks to Christine Messier!

I want to give a huge thanks to Christine Messier of Your Voice, Inc. For those of you who have read my book, Dude making a Difference, you are already a little familiar with her work. Without her the book may never have happened! 

Back in 2013 I embarked on my first bike ride across the USA with intentions to live as environmentally friendly as possible while bringing attention to environmental issues. Almost every night of the 104 day ride I spent a few hours writing in my tent, on a picnic table, or sitting on the couch of whoever was hosting me for the night. I shared that writing in blogs and on Facebook throughout the summer and by the end of the ride I had more than enough to put together a book. The problem was that I actually had too much content and that it would take a lot of work to cut it down and patch it together into a book.

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Wild Fermentation

Wild fermentation is a lost art in our generation and the truth is that it is an inexpensive and accessible way for just about anyone to eat healthy. Wild fermentation is used to preserve fresh foods and at the same time cultivate beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics. Some of the ferments you find at the store may be extremely expensive, but making your own fermented foods and drinks makes them very inexpensive and accessible. Making your own foods at home can reduce the cost to a fraction of commercial items. Eating naturally fermented foods that are rich in probiotics and vitamins is a great way to add beneficial nutrition and delicious flavor to your diet. It’s a myth that you have to be wealthy to eat healthy. If you grow your own vegetables, some of your favorite fermented treats can be practically free.

This blog and video series serves as an introduction to creating five different at-home wild ferments with a few of my favorite recipes. All of the ferments I cover here require minimal set-up, yet take some time to naturally cultivate. These ferments are very simple for anyone to make because in general, nature does the work. You don’t need any fancy ingredients or equipment for any of these recipes.

The information here is designed to get you started and show how easy it really is. However, the videos and this blog will not answer every question you have about fermenting. If you want to learn more beyond these basic recipes and videos, I would recommend finding some resources online and books for that.

Here are some resources:

Sandor Katz’s website: www.WildFermentation.com

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz

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Trash Me FAQ

Welcome to the FAQ for Trash Me. Here I cover all of the questions people have been asking. Before diving into the questions though I’d like to explain the project in a little more depth to help you understand what I did and why.

For 30 days I wore every single piece of trash that I created while living like the average American in terms of consumerism. The average American creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day and I aimed to live the lifestyle that results in this. Normally I aim to live a near zero waste lifestyle so this is not a lifestyle that I am accustomed to. But for the 30 days I went about life in a manner that is very normal in the USA. I ate, shopped, and consumed like so many of us are accustomed to in this country. The only big difference is that I had to wear every piece of trash that I created instead of putting it into a garbage can.

Most people never think twice about their trash. Once it’s in the garbage can, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Many of us have seen photos and videos of overflowing landfills, oceans littered with trash, animals with plastic stuck around their bodies, and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic, but few of us see past these visuals to our personal connection to it. By wearing all of my trash for 30 days the idea is to create a shocking and unforgettable visual of how much trash just one person creates so that people can understand that they are actually a part of these issues. Once the conversation has been started and people are thinking about it I hope to inspire people to make positive changes in their lives to create less trash.

We live in an era when it’s so easy to have no idea of how any of our daily actions impact our community, humankind, other species, or the earth as a whole. I’m always looking for ways to get people to think about how their actions affect the world around them both near and far. I try to keep things very entertaining so that it reaches people whether they care about the environmental or social issue that I’m focusing on. Because we live in such a visually oriented generation I look for visual ways to make a point or grab people’s attention. For bringing attention to how much trash we create I thought what better way to than to wear it on me everywhere I go. No out of sight out of mind mentality is possible that way!

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10 Tips for Dumpster Diving Success!

I’ve dived into over 2,000 dumpsters in over 25 states across the USA. By now I’ve pulled out tens of thousands of dollars worth of perfectly good food. Most of it I’ve given away but I’ve also lived solely off food from grocery store dumpsters for months at a time. My mission is to raise awareness about food waste and to reduce food waste and hunger in the USA. I don’t see dumpster diving as THE solution to food waste or hunger but at the same time I figure if the foods going to waste right now, why not eat it? Dumpster diving is not a global solution but for thousands of people it is an individual solution to reduce their environmental impact and feed themselves. So for those of you out there interested in saving a ton of money on food, reducing your environmental impact, or sharing a huge bounty of food with your friends and people in need I’m here to help with that. After 3 years of dumpster diving here are my top 10 tips to dumpster diving success.

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