The snobs, the poor, and the squashed bananas

Yesterday me and my Russian girl friend went to a free food market — where you can pick up refuse from the market — the overripe tomatoes, the half squashed spotty bananas — for free. We then proceed to make another fantastic vegetarian dinner out of that, served with fabulous wine in her cosy stylish apartment.

When we were cooking, she started to muse on her poor people behaviour — getting refuse food. Before we start perhaps it’s relevant to introduce her personality: she is a pretty 30 year old ex-hostess at the five starred Hyatt hotel, bought an nice apartment with her ex-boyfriend in the center of town, ex-shopper at de Bijenkorf. She started to question her perfect life; she quit all that.

She is passionate about the issue of food waste. She is very unhappy about the amount of perfectly fine food being thrown away from the hotel kitchen, and she wants to do something about it. She brings me along to go visit this initiative of collecting foodstuff that is going to be thrown away by the shops, and making it available for free by putting them in a weekly community market. It is hosted in an ex-squatter community center where you can see stickers ‘free all political prisoners!’ everywhere. We came back with a full basket of vegetable and fruits, donated 3 bucks, and bike back home.

She says, ‘I am comfortable at getting refuse food now — because I know that I can afford to go to Marqt and EKO Plaza if I wanted to’.

Heidi got very excited — this is interesting! One needs to firmly establish a middle-class identity before collecting free refuse food is acceptable behaviour?

Before such a initiative exists, some poor old beggar probably has already been doing this for ages, scavenging for foodstuff when the market closes. It is the same action as the food waste reduction initiative, but not driven by being ‘green’, sustainable’, ‘conscious’, but simply by poverty.

She shared that few years back, when she was less well off she wouldn’t feel comfortable going to that free food market, because that would be accepting charity. I understand that — one doesn’t want to be part of the ‘poor people’ category.

I am not sure how to continue writing this — what does it reflect? We really do dislike the poor, and we try pretty hard to distinguish ourselves from that deplorable category. Why are we so scared of being perceived as having no money? By extension, what do we think about people who has no money?

Being ‘conscious’ and ‘green’ now also carries a slightly unsavoury taste of a privileged class behaviour — I am not poor, I am simply being conscious!

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Nonetheless, we are planning to continue this free food/foodie thing; brilliant dinners would be served from scraps. There are indeed a hell lot of wonderful stuff that you can make from thrown away food!

Weekly dinners are to be continued, bring your good spirits (and bottle of wine ;) to join us!

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