In a word, Snacks!
Our food this week was very tasty, and, unlike others who took the challenge, we never went hungry.
Rather, the most difficult part of each day was arriving home from work and staring at a pile of over-ripe abandoned produce rather than chocolates or biscuits (graham crackers) to fill my snacking cravings. The first day was especially hard because we hadn’t planned for snacks. We quickly remedied this by making tortillas for future snack attacks, but I’m still dreaming of all the chocolate I’ll inhale back Above the Line. I also missed my morning juice, and David, a self-proclaimed Tea Connoisseur, was forced to suffer through sachets of low-brow ground tea each day.
By Saturday morning these snack and beverage cravings will be long gone as we regain our accustomed place among the world’s elite Above the Line, what will remain are hard questions about food security and sustainability. It wasn’t until we stepped Below the Line that my eyes were opened to the immense amount of food waste occurring at our front door. However, getting this produce to London’s most needy is another tricky problem set. First, many food banks only accept non-perishable food stuffs which means that it cannot be easily donated. Second, much of the produce requires a kitchen to be processed, someone living on the streets would not have the facilities to turn a beet root into a lovely Rubbish Root Roast. Third, the street sweeper comes very quickly, so any would-be-scavengers need to be punctual.
Many people have asked if we’ll keep scavenging when we’re back Above the Line. Well, scavenging takes a lot of time and effort, as mentioned above, so we probably won’t be hitting the streets everyday. Additionally, we don’t want to take from anyone who needs it more than us. On the other hand, there does seem to be more than enough for all who scavenge, and one sweet eccentric Australian woman even gave David tips on where and when to find the best goods. So I guess the answer is, ‘maybe’ and ‘sometimes.’
In the end, the real value from the Living Below the Line experience is gaining perspective on the trials faced by those who lack and the waste generated by those who have.