Being able to consume fresh and nutritious meals on a daily basis is something that many people don’t think twice about. To many this is considered a fundamental right, but for others, food security is a daily struggle. As Canadians, we generally like to think that extreme poverty and lack of access to basic goods are issues that don’t exist here.
However, living in a capitalist neoliberal society that works on the principles of a free market economy, wealth is abundant but highly concentrated in very specific, elite demographics.
The shift away from the welfare state, increases in social and economic stratification, and an emphasis on global competition have left many working class citizens without the means to afford even the most basic of necessities required to survive. This is in addition to the limited opportunities many people with marginalized identities already face. Food Not Bombs (FNB), a global de-centralized initiative, aims to confront the paradox of such wealthy nations containing people who aren’t able to nourish themselves due to a lack of sufficient income.
Food Not Bombs is a worldwide grassroots, volunteer-run movement that produces vegan or vegetarian meals using collected surplus supplies and donations from markets, groceries, bakeries, and farmers markets to redistribute into the community in protest against war and poverty.
FNB creates free meals that are held in accessible community spaces. Each chapter is independent, committed to non-violence, and aims to include everyone who wishes to share in a community meal, or to help in creating it. FNB also aims to bring awareness to the prevalent but often overlooked issues of poverty and homelessness by facilitating gatherings of hungry people in visible, public places.
FNB Peterborough celebrates its tenth year of operation this month. Peterborough has currently and historically displayed some of the highest rates of unemployment in Canada. In addition to substantially helping with waste management in the city, FNB provides many Peterborough inhabitants the basic dignity of being able to nourish themselves with healthy, largely locally sourced meals.
The cooperative aspect in meal preparation and sharing is also integral to community building by creating stronger and more cohesive communities. Although FNB was created in the 1980s, the act of gathering, preparing, and sharing a communal meal has become an arguably revolutionary act in an era of hyper virtual connection, but at the cost of ever increasing individual isolation.
They also offer free meals for demonstrations, community celebrations, and social justice events. We would also like to extend a sincere thanks to all of the hardworking and dedicated volunteers that have allowed FNB to continue to exist.