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For anyone who is hungry or eating poorly, I have a secret to share. [View All]

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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-09 01:04 AM
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For anyone who is hungry or eating poorly, I have a secret to share.
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Here is some advice for those who are hungry:

My partner and I don't have enough money to eat well and neither do our friends. But we have a little secret I'd like to share with you--on one condition--you have to share the food you find with others and also use good judgment. This works best if you live in a suburb or a small city. (Those in NYC and LA might want to ignore this advice.) I live in a city of about a million people.

Find the area-wide warehouse distribution center for any of the national upscale grocery stores in your region. (I'd rather not name names, but I think you can figure out which ones I'm talking about). There will be an area where trucks are loading massive amounts of new food into the warehouse. Because these stores cater to upscale clientele, they will throw out pallets of food if some items have superficial packaging imperfections (i.e. dented but intact hard plastic, etc.) Because sales are low, they are also throwing out food that is 'less new' but perfectly edible. For example: if new produce arrives, unsold produce will be discarded en masse, even if it will stay good for another 10 days.)

Over the past few months, we have found boxes of whole wheat pizzas, boxes filled with organic frozen dinners (we took about 6 boxes containing 200+ dinners, left the rest), bananas, about 300 pounds of soy nuts, enough baby organic spinach to feed hundreds of people, cookie dough, dips and sauces of all sorts (hundreds of containers), hundreds of boxes filled with organic yogurt, expensive sparking water, pounds of nuts, organic baby mixed greens, etc. We feed many families with what we find.

Here are some tips:

1) Go after 10pm and before 3am.
2) Don't go to STORES themselves, they tend to throw garbage on top of their dumpsters and may even throw poisons on top to keep animals away. You're only likely to find a few busted yogurts with paper and coffee grinds thrown on top of them. Only hit the distribution centers.
3) You will be more successful at high-end stores with a picky clientele. At the regular store they can sell foods in dented packages at a discount. They won't do that at stores that have the aura of health and purity.
4) Use good judgment when dealing with unpackaged and unboxed food. Most of what I find is double and triple boxed food (food in plastic, in a box, in a larger box, inside a huge box all still sealed).
5) Use good judgment in dealing with expired foods. If it is straight out of deep freeze, we've found the "best if used by" dates to be pretty irrelevant. My entire community of friends has eaten on frozen food even 2 months past the "best if used by" date. If the crates of food are still hard-frozen, you're very likely to be AOK. Open one item and do a smell test. Throw away anything that doesn't pass your muster. Use common sense.
6) Always read up on massive recalls of a type of food. If the gov't is saying some tomatoes have salmonella, you might want to think twice about tomatoes.
7) Be careful with children, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised. Have the healthy people eat first as a precaution.
8) Wear comfortable shoes, protective clothing and bring a flashlight.
9) Be aware that your attempt to feed yourself may be trespassing or even illegal. Or it may not be a big deal. Our theory is that upscale 'holistic' stores are less likely to be brutal to foragers because it wouldn't be good advertising to refuse poor people your garbage (or advertise how much they waste.)
10) I'm personally most suspicious of dairy items. Toss anything that doesn't taste PERFECT. But don't worry, you'll find a hell of a lot of perfect tasting food.
11. Share.

If you're germ-o-phobic think of it this way: people touch your prepared foods at restaurants all the time.

Good luck. Please kick this if you think it will help someone.
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