Food Not Bombs, Melbourne

Uploaded as part of the Anarchism in Australia project.

Author: Fiona
Originally Published: 1999?
Retrieved from: Archive.org copy of FnB Melbourne Geocities page

From ZOS #1 Inset that comes with with the latest Wrongbody 7″

Food Not Bombs
by Fiona

FOOD NOT BOMBS Melbourne started up around January 1996. We started off with just our own kitchen utensils, BBQ gas bottle, a weekly pickup from the organics stalls at the Victoria Market and doing a weekly soup-kitchen in the city. Since then heaps of people have gotten involved and, as well as the city kitchen, we do one in St Kilda and some people are starting up one in Collingwood soon. Other stuff we do includes taking meals and food to picket lines, to high-schools with homeless and asylum-seeking students and to mental health institutions. We also do rallies and conferences. We now have a van and some other equipment which has been begged, borrowed and stolen (only from those who deserve it of course).

Believe it or not all this is completely FUCKING EASY. As far as I know FNB is happening in Sydney, Adelaide and a similar type of thing (I think with a different name) in Brisbane.But anyone can do it, anywhere (well at least anywhere in the ‘priveliged’ world), anytime-which could just mean YOU, NOW, HERE.

People doing FNB in America get arrested all the time, but we haven’t been hassled much at all, I guess the situation in America is pretty different partly because they don’t have the dole…maybe we aren’t seen as a threat in the same way-maybe something we should work on, though for now we’re just happy not to be arrested. Actually I think the FILTH are probably unaware of the political nature of what we’re doing. That might sound weird-some people involved in FNB are doing it because they want to help people in need as much as they can, this is part of my motivation too, but it’s also so much more. Most of the people currently involved in FNB are punks/anarchist (sorry but how else was I supposed to say that?) and it’s pretty cool the way people coming to and walking past our kitchens are forced to reconsider preconceptions about useless junkie chaos punks. This is particularly true when we take food to picket lines.

I guess our greatest hope is that people coming to our kitchens and stuff will get an idea of how easy it is to fight the system, however powerless you might feel you can evade its choke-hold. People taking control of their lives is the biggest threat to this capitalist, hierarchical, BORING, MEANINGLESS, NUMB, speciest, earth-destroying, self-centred, powerless (for most people) existence which has been designed for us; maintaining the power and profit of the few at OUR and most other peoples expense. Pretty simple I guess but the point is that it is not insurmountable. If 30-40% of the population decided to stop participating in the labour force, or in the market system; if they decided to stop buying products and instead taking, by any means, what they needed-then the whole fucking thing would fall apart…Utopian? Yup I guess so…so what are you going to do-NOTHING? There is no excuse for apathy.

To me FNB flies in the face of this system. Even within the current system we can chose to operate in a different way-FNB is non-hierarchical; if you come along and contribute you have equal decision making capacity- we don’t have time for formal meetings- we have them around the soup-kitchen table. People come along and start up their own kitchen in their own area-they’re a cell- making their own decisions and developing in their own individual way.

Every thing we distribute is vegan. Meat and dairy make no sense: on economic/humanitarian grounds, on enviromental grounds, on health grounds and on concern for the suffering of non-human animals grounds. The only people who profit from meat and dairy are men (and I’m afraid increasingly women) in suits in big offices who seek only to maximise their own profit…your doctor tells you its good for you? Well her/his last ‘conference’ was probably sponsored by your local meat and dairy board..so you wonder why? Most of what we distribute is also organic or biodynamic. The only people profiting from conventional chemical laden agriculture are chemical/pharmaceutical companies who frequently also own the farms…they perpetuate their high-profit industry with no consideration for other factors.

Food is essential for life, yet global food production and supply are controlled by only a small cicrle of companies, with profit as their only motive. Wastage occurs at every level right to the point where we, Western consumers have been taught to demand perfect, whole potato chips, rosy red apples all year round and chicken FLESH which is only breast and leg (have you ever been inside a broiler hen factory where chickens which are barely months old struggle to stand up under the weight of their own chemical laden breasts?). Even with current food production methods we could easily feed the entire current human population-if only we (I guess I mean ‘they’-but maybe our apathy is our complicity) chose to…instead we chose wasteful methods such as meat eating, stock piling and destroying to maintain prices etc etc etc.No-one seems to care about the millions of people whose existences are spent preoccupied with the ache of their empty bellies, and their incapacity to do anything about it. Instead our governments spend billions of dollars on ‘defence’ (or maintaining systems of dominance and subservience). Most of this utter poverty is in the Third World but it also exists in Australia. Poverty in the Third World is a direct result of Western wealth; our economic system is set up so that they are our SLAVES. So what to do? Well, we figure that the more people that do stuff which doesn’t participate in corporate society, and preferably which aims to pull it down, the closer we come to changing things. Some shops we ask for food won’t give it to us because ‘nothing comes free in this world’…this is a handy line really if you want everyone locked into life-long house mortgages etc etc, instead lets give out free food, in the same way we take/scam other stuff we need, like squatting empty houses instead of renting. (Although this was written by one person-and as such is my own individual perspective, I’ve tried to cover the ideas which are common to most people currently involved.)
.Fiona

Additional information on same page:

Food Not Bombs Melbourne

• What We Do

The Food Not Bombs collective (Melbourne) has been actively providing food for those who need it since Easter 1996. After running a community kitchen at Easter Confest 1996, Food Not Bombs was given access to a number of cooking utensils abd crockery by Down To Earth. From that moment Food Not Bombs has gone from strength to strength. Armed with a mobile soup kitchen, a van and a fast growing collective of people, Food Not Bombs is out on the streets providing free vegan food for any one in need.

The mobile food kitchens currently provide 3 meals per week. On Sunday nights in Fitzroy St, St Kilda (7.30-9.30pm). Monday nights opposite the City Square in Swanston St (7.30-9.30 pm) and Tuesday nights at the corner of Smith and Otter Streets in Collingwood (7.30-9.30 pm). Another kitchen will soon open in Kensington/Flemington, probably on Thursday nights. All meals are totally vegan and organic produce is used wherever possible.

‘So where do they get all that money to buy food?’ I hear you ask. Actually, most of the food that Food Not Bombs uses is actually salvaged from fruit and vegetable traders and wholesalers. Food that would otherwise be thrown out is picked up by the Food Not Bombs collective and redistributed at no cost.

The fact of the matter is that in a world which is fuelled by money and greed, food will always be wasted. Massive reserves of food are stored and guarded while people starve. A lot of food is also dumped or desroyed. Why? Because those in power want to maintain the ridiculously high prices people pay for food in order to line their pockets with more money. After all, food grows on trees doesn’t it? Food Not Bombs also picks up bread from bakeries. If you know of any fruit or vegetable shops, bakeries wholefoods shops etc that are looking for someone to take their surplus or day old produce, please mention us.

Another aspect of Food Not Bombs is to deliver bread and day old fruit and vegetables (which is still OK to eat) to various organisations around Melbourne. Food Not Bombs currently or has in the past to the following groups: Brosnan Centre. The BEAT. Koori Community Centre (Nicholson St).Debney Park Secondary College.Northlands Secondary College. Swinbourne Secondary College. Front Yard. Stewart St Lodge. VIP housing and Youth Services. Barricade Books/Info Centre. Camcare. Support Housing for Young People (SHYP). Food Not Bombs also delivers food to individuals in need. Boxes of free fruit, vegetables and bread usually accompany each food kitchen. Another aspect of Food Not Bombs that sets it apart from charitues is its commitment to invlvement in Social Justice ISSUES (as opposed to feel good diversions). Food Not Bombs has supported a number of community events. Some include: Critical Mass. Koornung Creek Festival. Anarchist Black Cross Conference. Wellington Street Squat Eviction.Food Not Bombs provided a weekly meal to the workers during the Spotswood Picket. As its name suggests. Food Not Bombs is opposed to militarism and wars; and the whole mentality which means that more money is spent on military/army spending each week than would be needed to feed all those who don’t have enough to eat in the world FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. Why do we allow our governments to get away with spending the proceeds of our labour in this way? Food Not Bombs will actively participate where possible in the Asia-Pacific Anti-Militarism Forum which is to be held in Melbourne 28 March-1 April 1997.

A special thanks has to go to all members of Food Not Bombs, the organic stalls at the Victoria Markets, Melbourne Organics (St Kilda), Go Organic (Fitzroy), Bakers Delights and Natural Tucker Bakery. Also a special thanks to Marie (Royal Artillery Hotel) for providing the rice. Also thanks to anyone who has donated time, money or effort to our struggle for peace, equality and a world free from hunger