Activist establishes Dumpster Divers Defense Fund to help ‘food waste warriors’

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© Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield’s latest project is meant to help fund the defense of those who are arrested for dumpster diving for wasted food.

About a year and a half ago, I wrote about how food waste activist Rob Greenfield was willing to pay for tickets or help if you get arrested for dumpster diving for food, and although he’s had a half dozen inquiries about it since then (for trespassing tickets), nobody has yet contacted him about being arrested until just recently.

Tony Moyer and Sam Troyer, two brothers-in-law living in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, were recently arrested for diving in a dumpster at a CVS store in Hershey, PA, and although the dumpster is located in an open enclosure in a parking lot in plain sight, with no "No Trespassing" signs or locks, the men were charged with loitering and prowling at night as well as criminal trespassing. The pair have been dumpster diving for the last 10 months or so, and have collected thousands of dollars worth of edible food (and school supplies), which is donated to people in need, with donation receipts to prove their intent, and neither of them had any police record before this arrest.

In response to Tony and Sam’s case (and for any cases moving forward), Greenfield has established the Dumpster Divers Defense Fund, with the aim of helping to get the charges dropped (and any tickets paid), as well as attempting to set a precedent in court for future dumpster diving cases. In addition to paying any tickets, the money will also be used to help the two start a food rescue program with grocery stores, in order that the food can be donated in the first place, instead of ending up in a dumpster.

He recently spent time with them in Pennsylvania, and recorded this short video:

"This fund will also help to bring media attention to the issue of food waste and hunger, help dumpster divers in the future who get in trouble like Sam and Tony did, and help dumpster divers to start food rescue programs to keep food out of the dumpsters."

At a time when some $165 billion worth of food is wasted each year in the US (enough to feed another entire population), and yet 50 million Americans are food insecure, changing the dynamic of food waste in general, and dumpster diving and food donation programs in specific, seems like a no-brainer. And there’s no legal downside for companies that do donate foods, thanks to the 1996 Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which protects businesses from liability when they donate to a nonprofit organization, so connecting food wasters with organizations that need food could be a win-win situation, because the organization gets a donation, and the company writes off the donation (and doesn’t have to pay to dispose of that waste).

Find out more, or donate, at Dumpster Divers Defense Fund.