ONE man’s trash is now another woman’s grocery shopping.
Theresa Kadish is a 31-year-old filmmaker who, for over a decade now, has been spending just $ 25 a week on groceries by dumpster diving for a third of her diet.
Digging for perishable foods, she frequently picks out different fruits, veggies, meats, and eggs from the dumpsters.
She even cooked a filet mignon dinner for free using ingredients she found strictly in the trash.
Kadish isn’t turned away by the smell of the trash and will even serve the dumpster food to guests.
“Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Gross is a state of mind,” she advised those who might be thinking of trying dumpster diving.
As for how she picks the ingredients out of the dumpster, she said: “I select food in the dumpster the same way humans have always selected food, with my senses.”
“I look for fresh colors, I smell quality or decay, I taste things to see if they’re good.”
Kadish claims there is nothing wrong with eating dumpster food as long as you’re careful about it.
“I have never gotten sick eating dumpster food, nor has anyone I’ve ever fed,” she said.
She began diving for food when she moved into a collective house at just 19-years-old.
They were holding an activist marching bank, in which she said: “We all went to an Odwalla distribution center and brought home several thousand dollars worth of fresh-squeezed juice.”
“I was astonished by the wealth that could be found in the dumpster,” she said.
After taking a sip of her “dumpstered” mango juice, Kadish knew that she would never waste money buying drinks, or food, again.
“I started dumpstering frequently. Soon I was feeding my collective house out of the dumpster, and catering meals for events, “said Kadish.
Kadish said she usually dives about twice a week, but that can differ depending on how many mouths she has to feed that week.
“Every dive takes about three hours, including driving and cleaning the food,” she said.
“When I am actively feeding a large group of students, about a third of what we eat, most of our fruit and meat, comes from the dumpster.
“Another third comes from our farm, all our vegetables, and a third is purchased, like gains, oils, and other bulk goods,” she said.
Using filet mignon, onions, and potatoes, she created an extravagant filet mignon dinner using food right from the trash.
“It tasted like steak. Seriously there’s no difference between dumpstered and non-dumpstered food, and I don’t assign preferential ethical or cultural value to either,” she said.
Kadish even admitted to having a few police run-ins during her dumpster diving adventures.
“Once a store manager called the cops, and when the officer came he looked at my trunk full of fresh strawberries, and then he looked at the manager, then he looked back at the strawberries,” she said.
“They let me keep the strawberries!” she said.
The dumpster diver said her biggest reason for finding food this way is just simply because she’s hungry.
“I don’t see myself as an activist. I just like eating good food, “she said.
“Sure, I save a bit of money, but it’s not really quantifiable. Much of the stuff I get out of the dumpster I would never buy with money.”
“I avoid purchasing food as much as I can, I can increase the quality of my diet with dumpstering without changing my food spending patterns.”
Though she’s saving money, dumpster diving is not very safe as it can be dangerous to your health.
According to Live Strong, bacteria doubles every 20 minutes when food is left out in temperatures between 40 F and 140 F.
This can cause “microbes like Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, and Escherichia coli” to quickly reproduce, which causes food poisoning if ingested.
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