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Free food criminals

FnB | 11.11.2007 15:38 | Free Spaces | Health | Social Struggles | London

You might of heard about a recent proposed changes to legislation which would make the distribution of free food an offense. If it goes ahead it will make soup runs illegal and also add to the crimes committed each week by Food not Bombs activists. It might also make giving that last Rolo to your sweetheart a big no no.

Check out:
"distribution of free refreshments" on page 14...

As if it wasn't crazy enough that taking unwanted food from bins is a criminal offense, it could soon be illegal to give food away for free in some London boroughs. With this in mind, now is surely a perfect time to become a free food criminal.

"Food Not Bombs is a loose-knit group of independent collectives, serving free vegan and vegetarian food to others. Food Not Bombs' ideology is that myriad corporate and government priorities are skewed to allow hunger to persist in the midst of abundance. To demonstrate this (and to reduce costs), a large amount of the food served by the group is surplus food from grocery stores, bakeries and markets that would otherwise go to waste. This group exhibits a form of franchise activism." - Wikipedia

The FnB group in Whitechapel started off in spring 2007. Every week, we're
going skipping food, mainly vegetables, in several locations, notably some
wholesale markets. Hard to imagine how huge is the amount of wasted food
over there! When we get lucky, we get also bread and sweets (not always
vegan though!) from other places.

On the saturday morning, we use the rampART kitchen to cook some nice
vegan meals: usually mash, stir fry, miso stew, cakes etc. We even had
some very successful fries!

The food is then given away in a small local park. Hungry people can be
local families, homelesses, activist friends, random people passing by
etc. Maybe 50 or 60 people can be fed every saturday. There is also
usually a sound system and a free shop (mainly clothes).

Another London Food not Bombs group is starting in Brixton, helping to spreading the movement all over london as it is spreading all over the planet!

- Homepage:


London Local Authorities Bill

11.11.2007 16:14

London Councils, which represents London’s 33 local authorities, is preparing a private bill – the tenth London Local Authorities Bill - for deposit in parliament on 27 November 2007. It is being promoted with the assistance of Westminster City Council and follows the ninth Bill which became the London Local Authorities Act 2007 in July this year.

In the section "Distribution of free refreshments" on page 14, they describe the 'problem'...

"Free refreshments and food are regularly distributed on public land, particularly by organisations wishing to assist the homeless. The unfettered distribution of free food and refreshments causes nuisance to occupiers of premises, often residential premises, in the vicinity of such land."

Their 'solution'...

"It is proposed to prohibit the distribution of free refreshments on land designated by a London borough council. It would also be an offence to cause another person to distribute such refreshments. To be designated, land would have to be in the open air, and open to public access."

They solution makes giving away free food a criminal offense while it remains lawful to waste food on a massive scale.

"Unlawful distribution of free food would be an offence, and would be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale."

It is interesting to note the proposed exemptions:

"Exemptions would be included, for example, the distribution of refreshments to people taking part in sporting events or giving out free samples outside retail premises."

Deposit in November 2007


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  1. answer. — angryhungry