We've reported on freegansism before. Haling from all walks of life, freegans are united by their shunning of money and consumptive lifestyles in favor of bartering and scavenging what they need from nature and especially trash. So it was fascinating to read this week's New York Times feature about a group of freegans in Buffalo, N.Y., who have gone so far as to "recycle" a few of that economically hard-hit city's abandoned houses. Some might see this as glorified squatting, and it is, but the scene described in the piece differs greatly from the images of flop houses and drug dens squatting usually elicits. The freegans have elaborate rules for who can live in the house, for how long, and what they must contribute in terms of fixing up the property. Many use the houses as a way to learn valuable skills and get back on their feet. And it's hard not to root for them given the alternative: homes -- many of them historic -- sitting empty until they decay into ruins.
But rarely do you see new homeowners most excited about a property due to its proximity to a well-stocked Dumpster.