Living Freegan: Growing Food

By KBJR News 1

May 21, 2014 Updated May 22, 2014 at 7:59 AM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A freegan is someone who avoids eating, using, or furnishing their homes with anything they have to purchase.
They're here in the Northland and now they've turned part of their lifestyle into a business.

When it's not growing season, they're digging through dumpsters and collecting leftovers, but when it IS growing season...

"These are all potatoes that we've gotten out of dumpsters or compost piles around the city" said Kevin Hard of GnarFoodz.

They're making good use of what they have found.

"I think we've planted more things from out of the dumpsters so far than from the actual seed that we've bought" said Tom Limberis of GnarFoodz.

Seeds they've bought and sprouted to produce food to sell under the name GnarFoodz which is an acronym for Growing Naturally And Resourcefully.

It's an attention grabbing name to all ages.

"An adult will come up to our stand and be like 'what is gnar?' and then some 10 year-old kid will be like 'it means gnarly, mom, like cool!" said Caitlin Nielson of GnarFoodz.

It's also a marketing move that could have a big impact...

"That's what we hope to do is be at the forefront of a bunch of youth who think growing food is important and incorporate that into their everyday lives" said Nielson.

They're not making much profit, but that's not important to the young group of six who get most of their food and materials for free.
Their business plan is different than most,

"I would like to be educating people enough about growing their own food to the point where it would put us out of business" said Hard.

To continue on that path, they're donating a hefty portion of what they grow.

"One of our local farmers starts all of the seeds and they'll just give you out flats for any extra space you can throw them in. Anything we harvest from here we'll bring to the food shelf" said Hard.

A business plan not based on profit.

"If we were in it to get rich, we wouldn't be in it at all, so if we can find value in bringing people food that couldn't get this sort of food anyway, at least we'll find some meaning in that, we're not going to find any money" said Skyler Hawkins of GnarFoodz.

Besides selling at farmers markets, they deliver fresh produce to people who have shares in GnarFoodz.

"We're getting donated shares to low income people who can't afford good healthy organic food" said Limberis.

One more way to spread their message.

"This way when we're giving back to the community and giving them free food, they listen a lot more" said Hard.

It's all part of taking steps to make a difference.

"Do I think WE will change the world, no, but I feel like if you're not doing something productive toward your beliefs, then how is the world going to change" said Limberis.

You can find GnarFoodz produce at many farmers markets around the Duluth area this summer.

Bryce Henry
bhenry@kbjr.com