Food Not Bombs 
District of Columbia Chapter

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What is Food Not Bombs?

    We are one of the fastest growing grassroots political groups in North America. There are over 70 autonomous chapters protesting militarism and poverty by serving free vegetarian food to people in need and in support of on-going political organizing efforts. We believe that society and government should value human life over material wealth. Many of the problems in the world stem from this simple crises in values. By giving away free food to people in need in public spaces we directly dramatize the level of hunger in this country and the surplus of food being wasted. We also call attention to the failures of the society to support those within it while funding the forces of war and violence, including the police. Food Not Bombs was formed in Boston in 1980 as an outgrowth of the anti-nuclear movement in New England. We are committed to the use of non- violent direct action to change society. It is by working today to create sustainable institutions that prefigure the kind of society we want to live in, that we build a vital and caring movement for progressive social change. Food Not Bombs serves food as a practical act of sustaining people and organizations, not as symbolism. Thousands of meals are served each week by FNB groups in North America and Europe.


What Are the Basic Principles of Food Not Bombs?

We are a loose knit group of independent collectives, but we do share several unifying principle that define us as Food Not Bombs. These are:
 
 
Food Recycling
Enough food is wasted each day to feed everyone who is hungry. Food Not Bombs recovers healthy nutritious vegetarian food that would have been otherwise discarded and prepares and serves it to people. We collect food from produce warehouses and grocery stores that might be unsalable because it no longer has the necessary shelf and we use it the same day.

Non-Violence
Our society is dominated by violence. Our daily lives are effected by the constant threat of crime and police violence and the ongoing possibility of nuclear war. The authority and power of our government is based on the threat and use of violence at home and abroad. Food Not Bombs is committed to a vision of society that is motivated by love and sharing not violence and greed.  Poverty is also violence. While our society pursues the massive accumulation of wealth for the few it relegates millions to hunger and homelessness. This combined with police violence, inadequate healthcare and various forms of discrimination deprive each of us of a vibrant and loving way of life. The commercial food industry is also predicated on violence. It involves the slaughtering of millions of animals and the poisoning of our planet through the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. It also allows tons of usable food to go to waste to insure profits. Food Not Bombs serves only vegetarian food and makes every effort to use organic produce. Food Not Bombs challenges the violence of society by the free sharing of food and non-violent actions that highlight the injustices of militarism and poverty. While the police have attacked Food Not Bombs for its actions, we never respond with violence because we would never want to recreate the authoritative methods of the state in our own actions and because we are on the streets every day in small numbers supporting people. The police have a constant standing army armed and prepared to use violence at any moment. We cannot jeopardize ourselves or the people we work with through the use of shortsighted acts of violence in the heat of the moment.

Consensus Decision Making
Rather then relying on a system of winner take all, Food Not Bombs believes that every member of the group should have a full opportunity to participate in shaping all the group's decisions. The consensus process insures that the will of the majority doesn't dismiss the values and contributions of everyone else. Consensus process forces us to resolve conflicts through negotiation and compromise rather than overruling and censoring.
 


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