Food Not Bombs (FNB) Newcastle is handing out free vegan meals at Awaba Park, outside Hamilton Station, every Monday and Wednesday.
FNB volunteers prepare meals from donated ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. Bronte, an organizer at the Newcastle ETF, said left green on the ETF movement.
In the early 1980s, in Boston, Massachusetts, “it was started by a handful of activists who wanted to protest war and poverty by sharing free vegetarian meals in a public space,” they said.
Since about 1000 chapters have opened up across the world, “all acting independently but sharing the same values”.
Bronte said FNB is based on an anarchist tradition of self-help. “Non-hierarchical structures…consensus decision-making…making time for each other, saying that everyone is valuable and equal, and making time for people’s voices to be heard.
FNB brought together a community of people, caring for each other, Bronte said. “Because they take care of me, I take care of me,” they said. “If we want to fight this capitalist system, we need a community and we have to build a community.
“Mutual aid is what I see as the future, to move forward…it’s one of the most effective ways to take direct action.”
Many FNB volunteers have lived on the streets or in their cars, with no fixed address. They understand the value of a free hot meal, Bronte said.
“We believe that everyone has an equal right to food and deserves food, there is enough food on the planet to feed everyone.”
FNB faced resistance, including a police raid in the nearby neighborhood Hunter Community Environmental Center, the adjacent building where FNB prepares and cooks its meals, last November. Many of the center’s assets were seized by police after a coal-related protest.
“I’ve been raided twice by the police, and it’s quite a traumatic experience,” Bronte said.