A person who collects food that's been discarded. The word was coined from the words "free" and "vegan," the second word referring to the fact that many of freeganism's early proponents hailed from the vegetarian community. Today the definition has expanded to include others who collect and consume wasted food of any kind, and freeganism has grown into a political movement against waste in general. Most freegans collect food from surplus food sources such as supermarkets and bakeries that reject items that, though past their "use by" dates, are still safe to eat. Of course every movement has extremes, which in freeganism includes "plate scrappers" or "table divers"—those who search out leftovers from discarded restaurant meals. Another freegan-related term is "dumpster diver"—one who hunts through dumpsters and trash cans looking for discarded food, partially consumed or not.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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