History of the Food Not Bombs Movement

Food Not Bombs is one of the fastest growing revolutionary movements and is gaining momentum throughout the world. There are hundreds of autonomous chapters sharing free vegetarian food with hungry people and protesting war and poverty. Food Not Bombs is not a charity. This energetic grassroots movement is active throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Food Not Bombs is organizing for peace and an end to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. For nearly 30 years the movement has worked to end hunger and has supported actions to stop the globalization of the economy, restrictions to the movements of people, end exploitation and the destruction of the earth.

The first group was formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1980 by anti-nuclear activists. Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to nonviolent social change. Food Not Bombs has no formal leaders and strives to include everyone in its decision making process. Each group recovers food that would otherwise be thrown out and makes fresh hot vegetarian meals that are served in outside in public spaces to anyone without restriction. Each independent group also serves free vegetarian meals at protests and other events. The San Francisco chapter has been arrested over 1,000 times in government's effort to silence its protest against the city's anti- homeless policies. Amnesty International states it will adopt those Food Not Bombs volunteers that are convicted as "Prisoners of Conscience" and will work for their unconditional release. Even though we are dedicated to nonviolence Food Not Bombs activists in the United States have been under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Pentagon and other intelligence agencies. A number of Food Not Bombs volunteers have been arrested on terrorism charges but there has never been a conviction.

Food Not Bombs is often the first to provide food and supplies to the survivors of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. During the first three days after the 1989 Earthquake, Food Not Bombs was the only organization in San Francisco providing hot meals to the survivors and the Long Beach chapter provided food after the North Ridge Earthquake. Food Not Bombs was also the first to provide hot meals to the rescue workers responding to September 11th World Trade Center attacks. Food Not Bombs volunteers were among the first to provide food and help to the survivors of the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Our volunteers organized a national collection program and delivered bus and truckloads of food and supplies to the gulf region. We were one of the only organizations sharing daily meals in New Orleans after Katrina. Food Not Bombs is now preparing for the economic crash and the chaos caused by war on Iran. You can rely on Food Not Bombs in a disaster and we are ready to help in the future.

Food Not Bombs works in coalition with groups like Earth First!, The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Anarchist Black Cross, the IWW, Homes Not Jails, Anti Racist Action, In Defense of Animals, the Free Radio Movement and other organizations on the cutting edge of positive social change and resistance to the new global austerity program. Food Not Bombs provided the meals for the protesters at Camp Casey outside Bush's ranch in Texas. Volunteers also provided meals at the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and many other anti-globalization actions. Kiev Food Not Bombs fed the tent city protest during the Orange Revolution and groups in Slovokia started animal rescue shelters in 24 cities. We are also sharing vegetarian meals at protests responding to the global economic crisis. From Iceland to New Zealand our cooks have been sharing meals at climate change actions and protests around the economic crash. Many groups organize Really Really Free Markets giving away all kinds of items for free. Food Not Bombs groups are also planting Food Not Lawns community gardens and housing people with the Homes Not Jails project. Many chapters also organize Bikes Not Bombs programs collecting and repairing used bicycles to provide to people in low-income communities. We also provided meals to protesters at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in the United States. We will provide meals to the families of striking workers and help organize actions encouraging alternatives to the failure of capitalism.

Food Not Bombs activists are currently making plans to celebrate our 30th year of cooking for peace. These plans may include free concerts called Soupstock or Tent City Protests outside military facilities or government offices. Along with organizing the celebration each local chapter collects and distributes food every week and there are several other projects that support the Food Not Bombs movement. One collective called "A Food Not Bombs Menu." helps people find or start local chapters. They also maintain the website www.foodnotbombs.net, organize tours and support Food Not Bombs gatherings. They also provide books, t-shirts and other materials to promote the principles of Food Not Bombs. Another collective Food Not Bombs Publishing in Takoma Park, Maryland publishes books like "On Conflict and Consensus" which has been an important guide for group democracy. We hope you will join us in taking direct action towards creating a world free from domination, coercion and violence. Food is a right, not a privilege.

Please visit these pages to find out how you can help us work for peace and justice.