Food Not Bombs serves free food October 6 in Alexandra Park.
I'm sitting cross-legged in the middle of a path in Alexandra Park on Bathurst, beside a shopping cart and pots, buckets and bags of squash, spaghetti and granola bars. 'Free food!' yells an organizer who calls herself Animal.
This freebie feast comes courtesy of Food Not Bombs, a North America-wide anarcho network that traces its lineage to the 1980s anti-nuke movement in New England. The group sees food giveaways as the quintessential protest against war and poverty.
It feels surprisingly natural to be sitting here downing pasta with my hands (they forgot the cutlery) as the sun sets. I'm getting into it until -- mid-mouthful of slippery spaghetti -- Animal tells me that she dumpster-dived for most of this dinner.
Turns out that's a critical part of Not Bombs' ethos. If only the corporate food system didn't waste precious food, members believe, there would be enough for everyone -- which is why they put a huge premium on searching out and serving recycled nourishment.
The international org has managed to provide eats like this throughout the world, in New Orleans after the hurricane and New York after 9/11, among other places.
I'm having a little trouble chewing on this info right now but am slightly reassured by the fact that Animal, along with her co-scavenger Adrian Morrow, a Ryerson journalism student, report they spent an hour cooking this vegan repast in Food Not Bombs' borrowed kitchen at Bike Pirates, the bike collective just a little north on Bathurst.
The granola bars, Animal says, arrived via the trash bin of a convenience store, and last week's pizza meal was taken from Amato's garbage.
Despite the wee bit of indigestion setting in, I can see their point. Slowly more diners drift in, including a young activist, an older man, an OCAP member out to show his support and a young couple who are regulars.
Free food happens every Friday night in this park.
I suddenly feel lucky -- that I haven't had to dream about food, and that I live in a city where someone thinks it ought to be served without a price tag.