Part or chapter of a book
From Dumpster Dives to Disco Vibes : The shifting shape of food waste activism
Routledge Handbook of Food Waste
Food waste, Dumpster, Activism
Recent movements against food waste, seen as an issue in and of itself, build on a much longer tradition of movements around food waste, which use unsellable but still edible food—which we call “ex-commodities”—both as a material resource for activist projects and a symbol to denounce other social and ecological ills. In this chapter, we examine three movements—Food Not Bombs, freeganism, and Disco Soupe—that publicly reclaim and redistribute ex-commodified food. Despite this superficially similar activity, they attach different meanings to that food that show the shifting politicisation of food waste over the last decades. We reveal that as movements have narrowed their framings and targeted food waste specifically as a problem, they have also narrowed the horizons of what impacts tackling food waste could actually have. Yet, it is partly through de-politicising the use of food waste that movements have gained access to policy-making and changed markets, in a context where governments, businesses, and charities have all endorsed the fight against food waste.