Started in 1980 in Cambridge, Food Not Bombs was a product of anti-nuclear protests. For the last thirty-and-a-half years the program has seen exponential growth, with hundreds of chapters dispersed across the globe crusading for the righteous cause of providing the community with free vegetarian/vegan food.
Food Not Bombs has several resources from which their food comes from. One source is Food for Free, an organization that “rescues food” that would otherwise spoil. They distribute the food to seventy-eight different organizations in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. FNB also gets its food from supermarkets and on occasion (although not very often) it is acquired through the ancient art-form of dumpster diving! During the summer the Boston crew also gets grub from CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Supposedly, Red Fire Farm is a major contributor to FNB and supplies them with fresh produce during the warmer months.
Last Friday I was able to visit the Boston branch of Food Not Bombs as they set up shop right outside the Park Street T-stop. They are there every Friday from 3:00-5:00 and on Sundays they operate in Central Square. Every Friday and Sunday-depending on the location-they prepare the food at either a community center in Jamaica Plain called Spontaneous Celebrations or in a residence right near Central Square where they can use two kitchens. According to one member, sometimes people will bring them ingredients and request they make something specific.
After the cooking is done they put the food in large bins and strap it down to a bicycle trailer. The veggie sustenance is then transported via bicycle to its serving destination.
On Friday, FNB had a few things to choose from such as rice and beans with check peas, cumin, and salt and pepper. There was also a mixture of butternut squash with carrots amongst other veggies. The third dish was also another semi-obscure hodgepodge of potatoes, tomato sauce, and corn. Everything was delicious, nutritious, and free.
FNB is an obviously dedicated organization, which is demonstrated through their strict weekly appearances and incredible track record: the last time the Boston crew missed a meal was a crazy Christmas blizzard in 2008, in which the circumstances were out of their hands.