The organization has been called a “food terrorist” group. Its members have been arrested and harassed by the police. Their activities? Regularly distributing free vegetarian and vegan meals to local communities around the United States.
Food Not Bombs, an organization marking its 40th anniversary in the spring of 2020, has been a source of free meals around the country and the world. The group was kicked off on the East Coast in 1980 by local activists who wanted to protest capitalism and its investment in the nuclear industry. The organization has since grown beyond the founders’ wildest dreams.
Food Not Bombs eschews a hierarchical organization structure in favor of a horizontal, autonomous model, where anyone can create their own local chapter and operate in a way that best serves the needs of their community. There are no formal titles within Food Not Bombs; everyone is simply a member. Many chapters provide meals on a weekly basis, though some chapters serve more or less frequently. Local chapters secure food donations from community members and businesses, and prepare the meals themselves, either in their own homes or in donated kitchen space.