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People Taking Charge :5: Sharing Food, Breaking the Law

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YES! Magazine graphic: People Taking Charge

The members of Orlando's Food Not Bombs share vegetarian food with hungry people in Orlando's public parks—spaces they believe belong to everyone, not just the privileged. The City of Orlando sees it differently. In July 2006, the city passed an ordinance sharply restricting the practice of sharing food in downtown parks. Orlando Food Not Bombs continues sharing food anyway. The group is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the city's restriction on food sharing.

The Orlando group also has a weekly “free grocery day,” in which members distribute produce, clothes, and other donated or recycled items at the same street corner. The group's mission, according to their website, is to “use direct action to, in a small way, create a grassroots alternative to the capitalist economy, in which the items that people require for their basic needs ... are treated as commodities for profit and access to them is based upon one's ability to pay for them.”

Food Not Bombs was started in 1980 by anti-nuclear activists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and since then has offered free hot meals in 175 communities, including to homeless people, disaster victims, Ground Zero rescue crews, and Katrina survivors.

Food Not Bombs in Orlando.
Food Not Bombs in Orlando.
People Taking Charge :: 5 of 7
Food Not Bombs in Orlando.
Food Not Bombs in Orlando.

South Bronx Community Concert. Photo by Eroc of the Foundation Movement
The rooftop garden at Start Now Farm, Bremerton, Washington. Photo by Doug Pibel
A San Francisco parking lot transformed into a public park. Photo by Lawrence Cuevas
Child reading in Prestes Maia building in downtown São Paulo. Photo by Tatiana Cardeal.
Food Not Bombs in Orlando.
Orchard in San José de Apartadó. Photo by Aileen Nowlan
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