Better Options for Freegans

by Justin

A dear friend of mine recently introduced me to the concept of “freegans.” Essentially, they are people who voluntarily eat out of dumpsters, or won’t eat food until it is discarded.

Not exactly my cup of tea, but an interesting lifestyle. I can probably appreciate it because of my own sudden interest in food foraging, which is a little like freeganism, except it’s about getting free food before it goes through the garbage.

I bumped across this blog the other day explaining a neat little legal principle called usufruct, and how there are groups that map out where to find free food to forage and eat. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

There exists in property law a principal known as usufruct. Check out that etymology: the word explains the concept, which is basically that you have the legal right use and enjoy the fruit (note also that the word “fruit” itself derives from the Latin for “to enjoy”) from someone else’s property as long as the property isn’t damaged. So, if your neighbor’s plum tree extends a branch into the street, you are entitled to pick and eat the fruit on that branch. An organization in LA called Fallen Fruit fully exercises that right by mapping fruit trees in residential neighborhoods and hosting jamming sessions with fruit foraged under the umbrella protection afforded by usufruct.

Now, I’m not terribly interested in going into somebody’s garden, raiding their fields and fruit trees, and invoking my “usufruct rights” (that’s called “being a varmint” where I come from), but if I find some neat scrounging on public property, or in the woods, that feels a little more like fair game.

That being said, I “mapped out” a local place that I frequently visit in Canton, NY. I’ve marked on this map all the cool places where I have found fruit or good foraging treats.

If you’re from the area, please enjoy. If you’re not, consider telling your friends about the plum tree you found in the park, or the blackberry patch you found near a bayou.

The Remington Recreation Trail, surrounding the Partridge Run Gold & Country Club is a 5K trail for walking, jogging, cycling, roller-blading and cross-country skiing. It is located just north of the village of Canton, NY.


A – Start point of Remington Trail. Park at the Partridge Run Municipal Golf Course parking lot, near the driving range.

B – About 1 mile from the start point (look for the ground marking in white paint), traveling counter-clockwise on the trail, there is a large stand of raspberry bushes on the right-hand side of the trail. A little further down the trail, there are some “black-cap” raspberry bushes. If you reach the ski shelter before you see the berries, then you have traveled too far. Look for berries in the month of June.

C – In both of these locations you will find many wildflowers and cat-tails. Not necessarily good for eating, but beautiful to see and visit.

D – Immediately after starting clockwise on the trail, on the marked downward slope, there are several wild apple trees that drop fruit on the trail, and have some easy-to-reach limbs as well. Look for fruit in the month of August.