VeganMoFo, Day 23: Frugal vegans freecycle (or is that freegancycle?).

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

2008-09-20 - Butterflies & Bees - 0001


Freecycle ™ is a network of local groups (primarily hosted on Yahoo, though the renegade/breakaway chapters aren’t necessarily) that allow members to request items they need, and offer items that they need to get rid of. It’s much like Craigslist, with one significant difference: everything offered and requested must be 100% free. Membership is also free, as are all ads. (Full disclosure: I founded and moderate my local group – a fact which doesn’t necessarily bias me in favor of the concept. I kid, I kid.)

Of course, you can’t get any cheaper than free! While food isn’t necessarily the most popular category of freecycled goods – methinks that honor goes to secondhand clothing, or perhaps household items – it is possible to score some yummy vegan finds.

– Expired food is perhaps the most popular edible commodity, and while I recommend caution when buying/trading/eating expired food, many non-perishable foods can be consumed well beyond the expiration date. Even perishable goods, such as soy milk and yogurt, are usually okay for up to a week after the expiration date. Just be sure to do your homework – and when in doubt, throw it out.

– Occasionally you’ll also see members offer up specialty vegan or vegetarian foods. Perhaps someone decided to give Meatless Mondays a try, bought a box of Boca Burgers at Sam’s, and decided they didn’t care for them. While this is certainly a hit for Team Vegan, there’s no need to let perfectly good food go to waste. Their loss is your gain.

– The summer and autumn months are an especially fruitful time for vegans on Freecycle: it’s not uncommon for green-thumbed, kind-hearted members to offer up excess fruits, vegetables, nuts and even plants on the list. Among the fresh vegan foods I’ve seen change hands on my local list are green and red tomatoes; walnuts; pecans; apples; peaches; pears; strawberries; and all manner of fruit, veggies, herbs, and flowering plants. Trees and shrubs, too!

Naturally, vegan freecyclers need not limit themselves to food! Commonly freecycled items include secondhand clothing; hand-me-down furniture; small appliances, including the very popular but rarely used bread machines; larger appliances, usually older and displaced due to renovations; books; and crafting materials.

(More below the fold…)

The Guam greyhounds & "free to good home" ads.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

This morning, Mary at Animal Person blogged about the closing of the Guam Greyhound Park, a racetrack which was “home” to about 250 greyhounds. Animal rescue groups were not consulted beforehand or involved in initial efforts to place the greyhounds; instead, the owners/management of the Guam Greyhound Park simply gave the dogs away, for free, to anyone willing to take them.


On November 7, 2008 the 32 year old Guam Greyhound Park, with approximately 250 greyhounds at the racetrack, abruptly closed. The closing was in response to the results of a failed initiative on the November 4 ballot which would have permitted casino style gambling on the racetrack property. John Baldwin, owner of the racetrack, who had tried to get similar initiatives passed three times in the past six years, claimed the racetrack was losing $100,000 a month.

On November 24,the Guam Greyhound Park started a public giveaway of 150 of the racetrack’s greyhounds. Dogs were given away free to anyone who came to the track. None of the greyhounds were spayed or neutered. No record was kept of who got the greyhounds, how many each person took and no legal transfer of title was made. Obviously, no standard adoption process was in place: no home check and no information about greyhound behavior or care.

It has been reported that many people took the free greyhounds believing they would make good guard dogs. Some of the islands dog fighting “fans” took greyhounds to bait fighting dogs or to breed, thinking it would make the fighting dogs faster or quicker. It didn’t take long for the greyhounds to show up stray or in very bad circumstances. The following updates from Guam Animals In Need (GAIN) volunteers, Dave and Noni Davis, tells a vivid story of this immense tragedy. GAIN (the only animal rescue on the island) has now found these giveway greyhounds starved and even dead.

GAIN’s stories of trying to rescue these discarded dogs are striking:

We received a call from a passerby about two dogs tied to a boat in Umatac – down at the very southern part of the island. I spoke to the owner and he said he got them from the race track in the first week when they started giving them away. He took a male and female to breed them for later on and also to guard his fishing boat. They were both emaciated and when I questioned him about feeding them, he said he didn’t know how to care for them anymore, because they wouldn’t eat what he gave them. With some friendly persuasion I convinced him to sign them both over to GAIN. He wanted to be assured that we won’t use them to race and then ” make money out of them”. I informed him that they are now officially retired and will never race again.

(More below the fold…)

Echoes of Bobby

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

I founded and moderate a local freecycle group; for practical reasons, we don’t allow live animal listings, although “meat” is acceptable (conflicted emotions, I has them). Recently, a member requested unwanted meat, as well as…unwanted livestock and sick or dying animals. I deleted the post and removed her from the list, as this was her second strike.

Naturally, she took issue with the strike. This is a direct quote from the email she sent in reply:

The other issue you have with me I don’t understand because any meat is any meat whether it is in frozen form or live form.

Let me repeat:

The other issue you have with me I don’t understand because any meat is any meat whether it is in frozen form or live form.

“Meat is meat” whether it’s already dead, slaughtered, prepared and packaged…or is walking around, nibbling on grass, playing with other “meat,” and just generally living life.

“Life” is simply a transitional state on the road to consumption.

Wow. Just…wow.

I wonder if she has visions of drumsticks while conversing with other humans?

Echoes of (the ghost of) Bobby, anyone?

Sometimes I’ve just got to laugh, otherwise I’d never stop crying.




Passive-Aggressive Proselytizing

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Last month, I gave away 100 or so bags of apples through freecycle. I think we divvied ’em up between five people, give or take. Everyone was rather nice and thanked us for the free food; one woman, heavy into canning and food preservation, even brought us a few jars of homemade salsa and apple butter, which was super cool of her.

A few weeks ago, I received a thank you card in the mail, from the last woman to pick up a load of apples. “What a nice gesture,” I thought, “I’ll have to keep her in mind for next year.” The sentiment lasted all of 30 seconds, until I actually opened the letter, only to find a Christian tract tucked inside.

Incidentally, the pamphlet was well-worn and even had a stain on the inside panel. Um…way to represent your God?

2008-09-26 - Passive-Aggressive Proselytizing on Freecycle

My initial inclination was to ignore the incident, but it was still bugging me last week. You see, I own the freecycle list in question, and proselytizing is strictly against the rules. I could have given her the boot, but I didn’t really think that kicking her out of the group would help her to better understand just how intolerant, intrusive and presumptuous her proselytizing is.

So instead, I grabbed some “propaganda materials” from http://www.venganza.orgtwo brochures and three flyers – stuffed ’em in a festive green envelope, and mailed them without comment.

The packet went out Wednesday; I expect the army of missionaries to arrive any day now.

Stuff I learned from Freecycle ™: Color/Gender Coordination

Monday, June 16th, 2008

What follows are real listings from real Freecycle ™ lists. (Srsly, I am not making this shit up!) Identifying info omitted to protect the gender rigid among us.

new mom is struggling and has nothing for her new baby boy that is due in 6 wks i told her about the good things off free cycle and all the good people and the help that everybody tries to give to other people and it has helped me a great deal so anyway i have given her some things i had that is not pink and a bath tub but here is the list thanks to all.

Looking for a small TV that works and twin sheets for a little boy. (anything but pink).

I am in search of a decent SINGLE STROLLER- nothing fancy. We have one of the $10 umbrella strollers & its great for concrete etc but we are needing something a little more sturdy & with bigger wheels (to handle gravel, mud, grass, and a chunky tot lol). We do alot of outdoor stuff so it would really get used! We are not particular about the brand or color. The main thing is that its not PINK as our munchkin is a BOY lol. Under the seat storage, a tray and a sunshade would be a plus.

(More below the fold…)