Dumpster Divers Raise Funds for Restaurant

Students Kickstart campaign to open freegan cafe

Most restaurants get their ingredients from a distributor truck, but at least one is looking to get everything it needs from what others have thrown away. A Tufts University student in Cambridge, Mass., used the Internet to raise funds for a restaurant space from which to prepare and serve the food he and his associates find in local dumpsters.

According to The Huffington Post, the National Resources Defense Council estimates that the average grocery store throws out about $2,300 worth of edible but ugly or past the sell-by date food every night. Maximus Thaler and other "dumpster divers" take that food and make meals of it, and in Thaler's case he's looking to set up a physical restaurant to serve the food he finds in the trash.

"We turn waste into wealth by making fresh, wholesome meals from food that others thought was garbage," Thaler said on Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing website. "All our ingredients are freegan."

Thaler describes his project, The Gleaner's Kitchen, as an "underground restaurant and grocery store" that prepares food acquired from the dumpsters of restaurants and supermarkets, then gives it away. As long as the food is given away and not sold, Thaler says, serving the dumpster-gotten foods is legal.

"The Gleaners' Kitchen is not a business," Thaler told The Huffington Post. "It is not the place of commerce you might think it to be, where you pay something to get something. Our aim is not to produce commodities but to foster community."


To pay for the rent and utilities for a café space, Thaler put the project up on Kickstarter. He has already reached his $1,500 goal and there are still 18 fundraising days to go. According to the site, further funding will go towards to-be-determined stretch goals, probably something "about bikes."