History

Food Not Bombs is one of the fastest growing revolutionary movements and is gaining momentum throughout the world. There are hundreds of autonomous chapters sharing free vegetarian food with hungry people and protesting war and poverty. Food Not Bombs is not a charity. This energetic grassroots movement is active throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Food Not Bombs is organizing for peace and an end to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. For nearly 30 years the movement has worked to end hunger and has supported actions to stop the globalization of the economy, restrictions to the movements of people, end exploitation and the destruction of the earth.

The first group was formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1980 by anti-nuclear activists. Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to nonviolent social change. Food Not Bombs has no formal leaders and strives to include everyone in its decision making process. Each group recovers food that would otherwise be thrown out and makes fresh hot vegan and vegetarian meals that are served in outside in public spaces to anyone without restriction. Many Food Not Bombs groups also share groceries and organize other efforts to support their communities. Each independent group also serves free meals at protests and other events. The San Francisco chapter has been arrested over 1,000 times in government’s effort to silence its protest against the city’s anti- homeless policies. Amnesty International states it will adopt those Food Not Bombs volunteers that are convicted as “Prisoners of Conscience” and will work for their unconditional release. Volunteers are currently being arrested in Orlando, Florida and Minsk, Belaruse. Even though we are dedicated to nonviolence Food Not Bombs activists in the United States have been under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Pentagon and other intelligence agencies. A number of Food Not Bombs volunteers have been arrested on terrorism charges.

Food Not Bombs is often the first to provide food and supplies to the survivors of disasters. During the first three days after the 1989 Earthquake, Food Not Bombs was the only organization in San Francisco providing hot meals to the survivors. Food Not Bombs was also the first to provide hot meals to the rescue workers responding to September 11th World Trade Center attacks. Food Not Bombs volunteers were among the first to provide food and help to the survivors of the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Our volunteers organized a national collection program and delivered bus and truckloads of food and supplies to the gulf region. We were one of the only organizations sharing daily meals in New Orleans after Katrina. Food Not Bombs is now preparing for the economic crash organizing Food Not Lawns community gardens, housing the homeless with Homes Not Jails, organizing additional meals each week and starting new Food Not Bombs chapters.

Food Not Bombs works in coalition with groups like Earth First!, The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Anarchist Black Cross, the IWW, Homes Not Jails, Anti Racist Action, Farm Animal Rights Movement, In Defense of Animals, the Free Radio Movement and other organizations on the cutting edge of positive social change and resistance to the new global austerity program. Food Not Bombs provided the meals for the protesters at Camp Casey outside Bush’s ranch in Texas and was the frist to provide food to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers also helped organize and shared meals at the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and provide logistical support for many other anti-globalization actions. Kiev Food Not Bombs fed the tent city protest during the Orange Revolution and groups in Slovokia started animal rescue shelters in 24 cities. We are also sharing meals at protests responding to the global economic crisis.

As the global economy was starting to fail the city of Orlando passed a law restricting the sharing of meals with the hungry. The Orlando Police arrested Food Not Bombs volunteer Eric Montanez on April 4, 2007. Many other America cities were also introducing laws to discourage the feeding of the hungery and Food Not Bombs volunteers were arrested in Nevada, Connecticut and several other states. Eric was found innocent and Food Not Bombs challenged the law in Federal Court. After winning at the district level the Eleventh Circut Court of Appeals rule that Orlando could restrict Food Not Bombs to twice a year per park. The city started arresting the volunteers for sharing meals at Lake Eola Park on June 1, 2011. The arrests continue. Volunteers in Minks, Belaruse are also being arrested for sharing food with the hungry. Their capaign also continues.

Many groups organize Really Really Free Markets giving away all kinds of items for free, planting Food Not Lawns community gardens and housing people with the Homes Not Jails project. Many chapters also organize Bikes Not Bombs programs collecting and repairing used bicycles to provide to people in low-income communities. We also provided meals to protesters at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in the United States. We will provide meals to the families of striking workers and help organize actions encouraging alternatives to the failure of capitalism.

We hope you will join us in taking direct action towards creating a world free from domination, coercion and violence. Food is a right, not a privilege.

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