Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs (FNB) is a loose-knit group of independent collectives, sharing free vegan and vegetarian food with others. The group believes that corporate and government priorities are skewed to allow hunger to persist in the midst of abundance. To demonstrate this, FNB serves surplus food gathered from grocery stores, bakeries and markets which would otherwise go to waste, or occasionally has already been thrown away. The group exhibits a form of franchise activism.

Food Not Bombs
TypeNetwork of collectives
Websitewww.foodnotbombs.net

Background and principlesEdit

 
The group serves free meals

Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer global movement sharing free vegan meals as a protest against war and poverty. Each chapter collects surplus food from grocery stores, bakeries, and that would otherwise go to waste and occasionally collects items from garbage dumpsters when stores are uncooperative.[1] FNB also accepts donations from local farmers, then prepares free community meals which are offered to anyone who is hungry. According to FNB, the group's central beliefs are:[2]

  • Meals are always vegan or vegetarian.
  • Meals are free to anyone.
  • Each chapter is independent and autonomous and makes decisions via consensus.
  • Dedication to nonviolence.
  • Views "food as a right not a privilege."[3]

Coinciding with these beliefs, the groups' goals are:

  1. To combat poverty and homelessness[4]
  2. To facilitate community gatherings of hungry people
  3. To allow anyone to volunteer to help cook, and then eat.[5]

ActivityEdit

1980sEdit

Food Not Bombs was founded in 1980 in Cambridge, Massachusetts by anti-nuclear activists Keith McHenry,[6] Jo Swanson, Mira Brown, Susan Eaton, Brian Feigenbaum, C.T. Lawrence Butler,[7] Jessie Constable and Amy Rothstien. Co-founder, Keith McHenry has volunteered for 35 years and can be found sharing food almost every week in various cities including Santa Cruz, California and Taos, New Mexico. The members' activities included providing food, marching, and protesting. They protested such things as nuclear power, United States' involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War, and discrimination against the homeless.[8]

The first arrests for sharing free food (aka 'sharing') occurred on August 15, 1988 at the entrance to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. Nine people were arrested that day, including McHenry. The city made over 1,000 arrests, and Amnesty International declared these volunteers 'prisoners of conscience'.[9]

 
"Free Soup for the Revolution" illustration

2000sEdit

In the summer of 2007, the Fort Lauderdale, FL FNB chapter began receiving systematic harassment from local law enforcement culminating in an ultimatum presented by the Fort Lauderdale police. The police demanded the arrest of volunteers responsible for the public the 'sharings'. The following week, hundreds of supporters for FNB managed to compel local law enforcement to relent, which lasted until the 2010s.[10]

The city of Orlando, FL enacted an ordinance prohibiting the serving of food to more than a specified number[how many?] of people without a permit.[11] In the fall of 2007, Eric Montanez of Orlando's FNB was charged with violating Orlando's city ordinance. On October 10, 2007, Montanez was acquitted by a jury of the charge.[12][13] FNB along with a church for the homeless (First Vagabonds Church of God) sued the city[11] on the grounds that their food service is covered under the first amendment as a part of protected political speech and religious activity. The groups won the lawsuit and the city ordinance was overturned. The city of Orlando appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and subsequently won.[11] On August 31, 2010, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the decision, barring Orlando from enforcing the ordinance until another hearing before a 10-judge panel could take place.[11]

In May 2008, local business owners attempted to stop the Kitchener, Ontario, FNB group from serving meals in a highly-visible downtown location,[14] describing the group as "supporting meat-free diets, anti-capitalism, and an end to Canada's military intervention in Afghanistan."[15]

In April 2009, the city of Middletown, Connecticut, issued a cease-and-desist order to the local chapter of FNB. Prior to the order, the city health inspector cited the organization for distributing food without a license. In August 2009, the chapter began operating through a licensed kitchen provided by the Middletown First Church of Christ Congregational as state hearings into the matter were held.[16]

 
A Food Not Bombs chapter serves a meal in a public park

The most widely publicized restrictions on food sharing involving FNB were the 2011 feeding bans in Florida. Similar laws have been enacted in other jurisdictions, including Philadelphia[17] and Houston.[18]

2010sEdit

On April 20, 2011, an en banc panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Orlando ordinance as a valid "time, place and manner" regulation,[19] reversing the initial ruling of First Vagabonds Church of God, An Unincorporated Association, Brian Nichols v. City of Orlando, Florida and removing the permanent injunction against the Orlando ordinance that was first attempted in 2007.[20] The lawyer for Orlando FNB issued a cease and desist order to the city,[21] saying that violating the ordinance was not an arrestable offense, and hackers claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous began issuing threats to the city of Orlando. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer received heavy criticism for referring to Food Not Bombs activists as "food terrorists."[22][23][24]

On June 20, Ben Markeson was cited for holding a sign without a permit, and hackers carried through with their threats and took down the Orlando Chamber of Commerce site and a Universal Studios website in "Operation Orlando".[25][26] On June 22, more arrests took place including a second arrest of McHenry. On July 1, after national and international attention and further hacks, OFNB accepted the Mayor's suggestion to move sharings to City Hall, which stopped arrests and resulted in a new, stable arrangement for Orlando's FNB.[27][28]

Homeless hacktivist Christopher Doyon, also known as "Commander X", was eventually arrested for "Operation Orlando" and other activity. Soon after his arraignment he held a press statement where he admitted to all charges, but argued that the distributed denial of service attacks constituted acts of cyber-civil disobedience.[29][30] On August 19, 2011, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer held a press conference to announce that charges against food sharers arrested in Lake Eola Park, Orlando, were dropped, resulting in a new state of compromise between Buddy Dyer's administration and Orlando Food Not Bombs.[31]

An ordinance in Sarasota FL currently requires gatherings of 75 or more people to obtain a special event permit. Local residents are currently petitioning to reduce that number to 12, as well as to require feeders to obtain the same permit necessary for people who sell goods in public places (a $150 fee). There have been numerous other ordinances targeting the homeless, including the banning of smoking and removing park benches.[32][33] Since 2009, homeless shelters in Gainesville FL could feed only 130 people at a time, leading to the formation of the Coalition To End The Meal Limit.[34] Two years later, the meal limit and other rules were significantly changed, resulting in a victory for the Coalition to End The Meal Limit.[35]

In November 2014, the city of Fort Lauderdale, FL enacted a sharing ban.[36] Several Food Not Bombs activists were arrested sharing food and other acts of civil disobedience, for which they received "Civil Liberties Arrest" medals from the Broward County ACLU.[37][38][39] Other FNB activists went on hunger strike against enforcement of the law.[40] A court injunction stopped enforcement of the sharing ban in early December 2014 pending several court cases. On August 22, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that outdoor food sharing by Food Not Bombs was protected under the First Amendment.[41]

 
Universal food bank participants with Food not Bombs banner

Food Not Bombs groups were heavily involved in supporting occupation camps across the US during the Occupy Wall Street movement.[42] A FNB kitchen was removed in a late night police confrontation with Occupy San Francisco in mid-October.[43] C.T. Lawrence Butler joined Occupy Boston.[44] Keith McHenry participated in many camps[45] and released a new FNB handbook.[46]

A Food Not Bombs World Gathering took place August 20–26, 2012, in Tampa, Florida - the week before the Republican National Convention.[47] In conjunction with Occupy Tampa and many other organizations, FNB activists collected and prepared food for hundreds of RNC protesters and offered workshops, cultural events, and protest activities from August 20–30.[48]

Near the end of 2012, FNB activists, in particular, Long Island FNB, fed countless thousands of people in the wake of Superstorm Sandy alongside "Occupy Sandy."[49] The outpouring of food going to waste and support for disaster-stricken, impoverished communities culminated in the "Largest Food Not Bombs Ever" at the "Hempstead Food Share Bonanza" on Nov. 18th.[50]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Food Not Bombs FAQ". Food Not Bombs. Food Not Bombs. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  2. ^ "Principles". Archived from the original on October 31, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  3. ^ Heynen, Nik (May 12, 2010). "Cooking up Non-violent Civil-disobedient Direct Action for the Hungry: 'Food Not Bombs' and the Resurgence of Radical Democracy in the US". Urban Studies. 47 (6): 1225–1240. doi:10.1177/0042098009360223. S2CID 154317986.
  4. ^ Fessenden, Sarah Grace (2017). "We just wanna warm some bellies" : Food Not Bombs, anarchism, and recycling wasted food for protest (Thesis). University of British Columbia. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  5. ^ "United States Food Not Bombs Groups". Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  6. ^ "co-founder of Food Not Bombs". Archived from the original on October 12, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  7. ^ "CT Butler Bio". Archived from the original on May 30, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  8. ^ "Chronology of Food Not Bombs". Food Not Bombs. Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  9. ^ Cohen, Katherine Powell (2008). SFArrests. Food Not Bombs. ISBN 9780738559940. Archived from the original on November 22, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  10. ^ "954 Represent!". browardpalmbeach.com. September 6, 2007. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Mark Schlueb (August 31, 2010). "Homeless: A court ruling halts enforcement of Orlando's restrictions on feeding the homeless in city parks". orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  12. ^ "Jury Delivers Verdict In Homeless Feeding Trial". WESH. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  13. ^ "Man not guilty in homeless feeding case". OrlandoSentinel.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  14. ^ D'Amato, Luisa (April 19, 2008). "Food group to challenge letter banning it from Civic Square". Waterloo Region Record. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  15. ^ Pender, Terry (May 6, 2008). "The struggle for King Street continues". Waterloo Region Record. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  16. ^ Polanco, Monica (August 12, 2009). "Anti-Hunger Group Contests Cease-And-Desist Order". The Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
  17. ^ Armour, Stephanie (March 21, 2012). "Philadelphia Regulates Brotherly Love To Curb Homeless Picnics". bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  18. ^ "Homeless feeding ordinance passes Council". chron.com. April 4, 2012. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  19. ^ "First Vagabonds Church of God, An Unincorporated Association, Brian Nichols v. City of Orlando, Florida, Defendant-Appellant-Cross-Appellee" (PDF). Justia.com. April 20, 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  20. ^ "Homeless in Orlando feeding ban defied". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  21. ^ "Attorney: Homeless feeding arrests are unlawful". Cfnews13.com. June 16, 2011. Archived from the original on August 27, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  22. ^ "Hey Dyer, Who You Callin' a Terrorist?". Westorlandonews.com. June 14, 2011. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  23. ^ "End The Criminalization Of Poverty Tent City Vigil". Foodnotbombs.net. Archived from the original on October 25, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  24. ^ "Food Is A Right Not A Privilege". Foodnotbombs.net. Archived from the original on February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  25. ^ "Hacker Hits Universal Orlando, Chamber Sites". Wesh.com. June 20, 2011. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  26. ^ Like. "Operation Orlando Release One on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  27. ^ "Message from Anonymous: Operation Orlando". YouTube. June 28, 2011. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  28. ^ "Hacker group Anonymous declares war on Orlando, Florida". Bbc.co.uk. June 28, 2011. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  29. ^ Mills, Elinor (September 23, 2011). "Alleged 'Commander X' Anonymous hacker pleads not guilty". News.cnet.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  30. ^ "ANONYMOUS] Commander X: Press Conference 1-OCT-11". YouTube. September 27, 2011. Archived from the original on April 28, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  31. ^ "Charges dropped against Orlando Food Not Bombs arrestees". Cfnews13.com. August 20, 2011. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  32. ^ J. David Mcswane (June 21, 2011). "Homeless targeted by city laws". HeraldTribune.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  33. ^ J. David Mcswane (May 17, 2011). "Sarasota removes benches from Five Points Park to discourage homeless". HeraldTribune.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  34. ^ "Coalition to End the Meal Limit NOW!: Facts". Endthemeallimitnow.org. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  35. ^ Smith, Chad (November 1, 2011). "Gainesville City Commission lifts meal limit for St. Francis House". Gainesville.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  36. ^ "Activist, 90, cited again for feeding Fort Lauderdale homeless". Sun-Sentinel. November 6, 2014. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  37. ^ "More homeless-feeding arrests in Ft. Lauderdale amid national backlash". Local 10. November 7, 2014. Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  38. ^ "Eight Protesters Arrested for Trying to Meet With City Officials Over Homeless Laws; One Is Hunger-Striking". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  39. ^ "3 Months Later: Rallies & Awards". February 2015. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  40. ^ "Ft. Lauderdale hunger striker continues to protest city's ban on sharing food in parks". WMNF. November 6, 2014. Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  41. ^ "Appeals Court Issues Groundbreaking Ruling that Outdoor Food Sharing by Food Not Bombs is Protected by the First Amendment". Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  42. ^ "How To Provide Meals For Your Occupation". Foodnotbombs.net. October 23, 2011. Archived from the original on September 17, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  43. ^ "Occupy Wall Street movement: What happened in San Francisco?". Adonis49.wordpress.com. October 16, 2011. Archived from the original on November 7, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  44. ^ "C.T. and Wren at Occupy Boston: A Food Not Bombs Homecoming!". Hippiechickdiaries.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  45. ^ Kamph, Stefan (October 5, 2011). "Food Not Bombs Founder Keith McHenry Tours "Occupy Wall Street" Protests (VIDEO)". Blogs.browardpalmbeach.com. Archived from the original on July 6, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  46. ^ "HUNGRY FOR PEACE - Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry's new book out now!". Thom Hartmann. November 10, 2011. Archived from the original on April 28, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  47. ^ "Gatherings". Foodnotbombs.net. Archived from the original on June 6, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  48. ^ "With rice, beans, and optimism, group plans to feed thousands of RNC protesters". August 20, 2012. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  49. ^ "'Food Not Bombs' provides Sandy relief to Long Island". Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  50. ^ "'Long Island Food Not Bombs Thanksgiving Bonanza 2012". May 31, 2017. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.

Further readingEdit

  • Parson, Sean (2018). Cooking up a revolution: Food Not Bombs, Homes Not Jails, and resistance to gentrification. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-1-5261-0811-1.
  • Parson, Sean (2019). "The Politics of Dumpstered Soup: Food Not Bombs and the Limits of Decommodifying Food". In Kinna, Ruth; Gordon, Uri (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Radical Politics. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 405–416. ISBN 978-1-138-66542-2.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit