By Anne Johnson
NEW YORK CITY – As author Arthur Schwartz speaks to our small group of twenty-somethings, the drab, grey classroom seems to shrink away from his booming voice and devil-may-care attitude. While he elaborates to the NYU food writing class on his 40 years of experience in the business, it is clear that this man knows his food. “Food is an expression of art,” says Schwartz. If food is art, then Schwartz is the ultimate curator.
Arthur Schwartz is the 'Food Maven'.
After his 18 year stint as the executive food editor at the New York Daily News, Schwartz wrote 4 books in 3 years. The research is the part he loves, not necessarily the finished the product. Schwartz claims he hated his 2004 book, New York City Food, until it landed itself on the bestseller list. As he sees it, only a fraction of the life-long historical research was ultimately included in the book. A fact the reader would never know.
With all of these literary accomplishments under his belt, the self-proclaimed “Food Maven” is moving away from the written word. So what is he up to now? “I’m trying to do as little as possible,” states Schwartz emphatically. Well that’s not entirely true.
By Anne Johnson
NEW YORK CITY – With the light of the street lamps and the storefront windows, a small group of people rummage through piles of trash bags outside of the D’Agostino Supermarket on 38th Street at Third Avenue. “I’ve got tomatoes!” a muffled voice exclaims. Another asks, “Anyone want some corn flakes?” Quickly identifying this rag-tag assembly, a passerby hollers, “Freegans!” a witness to the freegan “trash tour.”
Freegans reuse goods thrown away by their neighbors. They recover everything from clothing and food to appliances and furniture.
The name “freegan” is a mashup of “free” and “vegan”. These two words reflect the core of freegan beliefs: vegans withdrawing from consumerism by subsisting completely on found and naturally grown food.
Due in part to the state of the economy, freeganism, also known as “dumpster diving”, is gaining popularity among college students. The anti-waste lifestyle of foraging for food in supermarket garbage has one major appeal towards students struggling to pay for tuition and housing: it’s free.
Freegan eating a bagel found in the trash. (Image via daylife.com)