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Dumpster diver, 31, says she's found fruit, vegetables, and even FILET MIGNON in trash bins

Dumpster diver, 31, says she's found fruit, vegetables, and even FILET MIGNON in trash bins

A woman from upstate New York has revealed how her decade-long habit of diving into dumpsters allowed her to eat everything from fresh produce to filet mignon while spending only about $25 a week on food.

Filmmaker Theresa Kadish, 31, has been rummaging through garbage for years and says the food she finds makes up a third of her diet.

She picks perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat from dumpsters, and has even served what she’s scavenged to guests.

“Seriously, there’s no difference between bin food and non-dumped food, and I don’t place any ethical or cultural preference on either one,” she said.

Filmmaker Theresa Kadish, 31, has been rummaging through garbage for years and says the food she finds makes up a third of her diet

Filmmaker Theresa Kadish, 31, has been rummaging through garbage for years and says the food she finds makes up a third of her diet

Her 10-year habit of diving into containers means she eats everything from fresh produce to filet mignon, but only spends about $25 a week on food.

Her 10-year habit of diving into containers means she eats everything from fresh produce to filet mignon, but only spends about $25 a week on food.

She started at age 19 when she moved into a collective house and, with her roommates, took home thousands of dollars worth of juice from one company.

She started at age 19 when she moved into a collective house and, with her roommates, took home thousands of dollars worth of juice from one company.

She started at age 19 when she moved into a collective house and, with her roommates, took home thousands of dollars worth of juice from one company.

She picks perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat from dumpsters, and has even served what she's scavenged to guests

She picks perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat from dumpsters, and has even served what she’s scavenged to guests

Theresa first went ‘dirty’ when she was 19 and had moved into a collective house.

She and the other people in the house hosted an activist marching bank and went as a group to a distribution center for the drink company Odwalla.

They were able to take home several thousand dollars worth of freshly squeezed juice that had been thrown away.

“I was amazed at the wealth that could be found in the dumpster,” she said.

Though the container smelled of alcohol and rot—and had a fermented puddle of juice on the bottom—she happily filled her car with the nearly expired boxes and drove home drinking mango juice, determined never to pay good money for it again.

Gradually that changed to almost never buying food anymore.

‘I kept thinking about all those hundreds of liters of juice in the days after. I’ve told all my friends,” says Teresa, who lives on a farm in the Catskill Mountains.

In TikTok videos, she shared what she found, including nearly two dozen packs of baked brie

In TikTok videos, she shared what she found, including nearly two dozen packs of baked brie

She and her roommates proudly display their crops, which include strawberries, peppers, lemons, avocados, non-dairy milk, pineapple, blueberries, and tomatoes

She and her roommates proudly display their crops, which include strawberries, peppers, lemons, avocados, non-dairy milk, pineapple, blueberries, and tomatoes

She and her roommates proudly display their crops, which include strawberries, peppers, lemons, avocados, non-dairy milk, pineapple, blueberries, and tomatoes

Dumpster diver, 31, says she's found fruit, vegetables, and even FILET MIGNON in trash bins

“Seriously, there’s no difference between trashed food and non-dumped food, and I don’t have an ethical or cultural preference for either one,” she said.

Dumpster diver, 31, says she's found fruit, vegetables, and even FILET MIGNON in trash bins

“I dump my waste because I’m hungry, and it’s an efficient way for me to get the food I need to stay well-fed,” she said.

‘I started dumping regularly. Soon I was feeding my collective house from the waste container and providing meals for events.’

A self-proclaimed mushroom expert, she’s undeterred by smelly bins filled with mold or fermented foods, and even serves dumpsters to guests.

“I select food in the dumpster the same way people have always selected food, with my senses,” she said.

‘I look for fresh colours, I smell quality or decay, I taste things to see if they are good. I’ve never gotten sick from eating food in the trash, nor from anyone I’ve ever fed.

“I dump my waste because I’m hungry, and it’s an efficient way for me to get the food I need to stay well-fed.”

She now visits a dumpster with her roommates on her farm up to twice a week, but it depends on the season and how many mouths there are to feed.

Dumpster diver, 31, says she's found fruit, vegetables, and even FILET MIGNON in trash bins

“I select food in the dumpster the same way people have always selected food, with my senses,” she said

She now visits a dumpster with her roommates on her farm up to twice a week, but it depends on the season and how many mouths there are to feed

She now visits a dumpster with her roommates on her farm up to twice a week, but it depends on the season and how many mouths there are to feed

She and her roommates once found all these cherries in the trash

One pull yielded plastic-wrapped pizzas for dinner

She and her roommates once found all these cherries in the trash (left), plus many plastic-wrapped pizzas

They even got a whole Butterball turkey out of a container

They even got a whole Butterball turkey out of a container

“Each dive lasts about three hours, including driving and cleaning the food,” she said.

‘When I actively feed a large group of students, about a third of what we eat, most of our fruit and meat, comes from the waste container.

“Another third comes from our farm, all our vegetables, and a third is purchased, such as profits, oils and other bulk commodities.”

She has spent more than ten years choosing a fertile waste container and has researched how supermarkets handle their waste and avoid dumpsters.

The most gourmet meal she ever saved was a delicious filet mignon with potatoes and onions.

“It tasted like steak,” she said.

Theresa is aware that there is a risk involved in searching dumpsters in supermarkets, and she has come into contact with the police.

She has spent more than ten years figuring out a fertile waste container and has researched how supermarkets handle their waste and avoid those with dumpsters.

She has spent more than ten years figuring out a fertile waste container and has researched how supermarkets handle their waste and avoid those with dumpsters.

She has spent more than a decade figuring out a fertile dumpster and has researched how supermarkets handle their waste and avoid those with dumpsters.

Theresa is aware that snooping through supermarket dumpsters poses a risk, and she has come into contact with the police

Theresa is aware that snooping through supermarket dumpsters poses a risk, and she has come into contact with the police

'I don't see myself as an activist.  I just love good food,

‘I don’t see myself as an activist. I just love good food,” she said

She recommends beginners give it a try, adding, “Try it.  Go on a journey of discovery!  Don't be afraid to get dirty.  Gross is a state of mind'

She recommends beginners give it a try, adding, “Try it. Go on a journey of discovery! Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Gross is a state of mind’

“Once a store manager called the police, and when the officer came, he looked at my suitcase full of fresh strawberries, and then he looked at the manager, and then he looked at the strawberries again,” she recalls.

†[He said,] “Are you throwing all this stuff away?” [The manager said,] ‘Yes.’ [He said,] “Every day?” “Yes,” the manager sighed. I got to keep the strawberries!’

Theresa, who shares videos of herself with dumpsters diving on TikTok, said her habit is not a political statement.

‘I don’t see myself as an activist. I just love good food,” she said. ‘Sure, I save some money, but it’s not really measurable. A lot of the stuff I take out of the dumpster, I would never buy with money.

“I avoid buying food as much as I can. I can increase the quality of my diet with dumpstering without changing my food spending pattern.”

She recommends beginners give it a try, adding, “Try it. Go on a journey of discovery! Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Gross is a state of mind.’

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