Food Not Bombs hosts a Really Really Free Market with free stuff

08/28/12 Liz McKibbon
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Food Not Bombs held an event today to protest the Republican pro-business agenda. The Really Really Free Market was held in Voice of Freedom Park in West Tampa. That’s where Occupy Tampa has been since December and the location of this month’s Food Not Bombs World Gathering. Books, games and even nutritional supplements were up for grabs.

About 40 visitors gathered at the opening of the Free Market. Food Not Bombs served breakfast: tofu and potatoes. Kelsy O’Morrow is a student housing out of town visitors in her home during the Republican convention.

“I think that it’s a great form of protest, because it’s like basically a protest of capitalism, in saying that we have this ability to engage in different types of trade—such as the Really Really Free Market. I think it’s a great way for people to interact with one another, a great way to learn how to share, and just gain insight.”

The concept is to share goods and services without monetary exchange. About 3 or 4 ‘vendors’ set up on tables with wares ranging from games to craft supplies to books. Joe Lemieux’s items filled an entire table, overflowing into additional boxes on the ground. Lemeiux once owned a health foods store, but lost the business due to a disagreement with his business partner.

“I have all kinds of vitamins, herbs. I have a bunch of diapers, I have some hair colorings, I have a bunch or organic teas and things like that. So, you know like I said its stuff that I had from the store… and it wasn’t doing anything. So this is a good place to share.”

Keith McHenry is one of the original co-founders of Food Not Bombs. He traveled to Tampa as part of the national World Gathering held last week.

“The Really Really Free Market here is a project that Food Not Bombs has organized for many years. The first Really Really Free Market was organized by Christ Church New Zealand Food Not Bombs, and they had gotten the idea from The Free Store in the Haight Ashbury in the 60’s. And we’re kind of famous for being a meal at the end of Haight—the Haight Street at Golden Gate Park. That’s where we were first arrested for sharing food.”

McHenry said most of the Really Really Free Markets are organized in solidarity with ‘Buy Nothing Day,’ held each year on the day after Thanksgiving, also called Black Friday in the US and Canada. It’s considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

“The idea is to get rid of capitalism as a concept. Because I think we need to go to a post capitalist society. There’s more than enough junk made, enough stuff around, that if we just organize it, um, we can make a real strong statement that we don’t need to keep manufacturing more stuff that we’re throwing in landfills.”

Food Not Bombs will continue to serve two meals per day at Voice of Freedom Park until the end of the Republican convention later this week.

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