Rolling a tread between People and Permaculture

Dumpster Diet!!!


This is the first of a new series of posts that will recap how and what we are eating on this long and harrowing road-trip. We hope to bring light to the plight of hunger facing hundreds of millions of people around the world, and the sheer excess and waste of perfectly viable food that is thrown out every day by Americans for menial reasons. By opening a window into our lives we hope to destigmatize finding food in “dumpsters” because perfectly good food can be found anywhere if one looks hard enough.

Today started out rough…. After a late start to the day (11:00 AMish) we reluctantly headed out to an Aquaponics site we had heard about only to find that it had closed for the day and we were too late. This coupled with my bike absolutely falling apart prevented any real progress as far as scouting out cool farms, gardens, or community outreach programs. We finally threw in the towel and decided to forage for dinner in local dumpsters as is customary for us these days. We bounced around the streets of outer Baltimore perusing compost bins and dumpsters looking for our next great haul. We got yelled at behind Pizza Hut for rummaging through a dumpster that some guy claimed was private property. Despite this, we found about half of a pizza still in the box and snacked on it with great fervor. Later we stopped by a produce market where no one spoke enough English to know what the hell we were talking about when we asked for any excess produce that was to be thrown away. Later we checked behind Boston Market for cornbread which we had been craving, only to find 8 pairs of shoes still in the box (one of which I claimed as my new shoes). Later on just minutes before giving up, Jasmine heroically climbed into a dumpster behind a grocery store and emerged victorious from the bin with a box full of delicious canned goods. I’m talking plum tomatoes, roasted red peppers, green beans, none of which expired until the year 2018, which perplexed us greatly. Later that evening we made pasta with crushed red tomato and pepper sauce and wild garlic that had been picked the day previous while doing some gardening and harvesting.


Seth and I had been painfully picking Stinging Nettle for 11 dollars an hour, which seemed awesome before we realized what Stinging Nettle was. It is a nightmare of a plant that causes immediate allergic reactions to any and all that have the misfortune of touching it, causing hundreds of bee sting-like sensations in the affected area. We picked this for hours which is irrelevent if not for the fact that in between getting our asses kicked by this small evil plant, I picked and foraged for wild garlic that absolutely littered the massive yard we had been unleashed upon to harvest Nettle. THis garlic came to great use later on not only for the delicious pasta sauce, but also the garlic bread that Seth painstakingly crafted with the tender affection not afforded to even the most beloved newborn infant. The result was a feast of garlic bread bagels (we had found about 100 bagels the night before the last) and pasta with seasoned spicy red pepper sauce, which almost certainly made up for the lack of progress that day. Amazing meals are few and far between sometimes, so it is always appreciated when we can create culinary masterpieces from free dumpster food and wild growing plants. It is especially amazing to me, who only months ago was grossed out by the prospect of eating exclusively from dumpsters, but now cannot believe the amount of good food and items that is thrown away each day by regular people. I was half disgusted by the tendency to throw away perfectly good things, and half bewildered by the amazing bounty that had befallen us. I wish more people were aware of how good the food that is thrown away can really be. Hopefully what we do can someday be destigmatized, but until then, we shall feast on your “garbage”.


Author: zestyjazz

I'm a garden and a bicycle.

4 thoughts on “Dumpster Diet!!!

  1. I have never done any dumpster diving, and enjoyed reading. 25% of American children are hungry. It’s a strange and greedy world.


  2. Just you wait–nettles will be your friends someday. Talk about garbage–talked bad because they’re a thorny weed… But cook em up or dry em out and they’re super tasty. Full of iron, great for allergies and arthritis. Sucks that you had a rude first introduction to them sans gloves though. :-/ hope your bodies (and zesty!) are okay. Cuidense.

    You guys know how to recognize lambsquarters (aka pigweed aka lambs ear aka goose weed)? (You’re so savvy you probably do and I’m just offering info you already have.) it grows all over the place–definitely in east coast cities–and can be cooked like spinach. You do have to be aware that it’s a bioremediator (translation: can soak up junk from its surroundings) so you want to grab it from clean places, but I definitely know plenty of people who take it from the sidewalks and nosh. If you guys are gonna “civic forage,” you gotta get in on those weeds too!


    • Yea we got love for nettle, its just hard to maintain that in all situations haha, but dont you worry our foraging skills are increasing, lambs ear is a favorite but so is that sorel, wild garlic, and garlic mustard. We might do a post on that some time, right now our “civic foraging” is mostly dumpster based though. Much love! and thanks a tonne


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s