Food Not Bombs Slovak Republic|
Food Not Bombs believes that society and government should value human life over material wealth. Many of the problems in the world stem from this simple crisis in values. By giving away food to people in need in public places, we directly dramatize the level of hunger in this country and the surplus of food being wasted. We also call attention to the failures of this society to support those within it while funding the forces of war and violence, including the police. We are committed to the use of non-violent direct action to change society. It is by working today to create sustainable institutions that prefigure the kind of society we want to live in, and that build a vital and caring movement for progressive social change.
The following is reprinted interview from NJ FNB Newsletter with one of the activists in our Bratislava Chapter.
Peter: When did you start FNB in Slovakia and how many chapters are there?
A: Food Not Bombs Slovakia started cooking in December 1999 and since May
2000 has been cooking twice a week. Currently we have new chapters in Nitra,
Trnava, Roznava, Kosice, Poprad.
P: What is the legal status of FNB in Slovakia, are you officially registered?
A: No, we are not a registered organization, we have no rules, no budget,
nothing. It's about 30 people who get together every weekend, they cook,
clean our kitchen, make banners, flyer around the town... Lately we got a new
bicycle we use to deliver the food to the sharing spot.
P: Do you think that FNB activities are necessary and also appreciated by
A: Of course they're necessary. Besides helping others, it is food recycling,
volunteer work, strengthening the community, educating people about veganism,
ecology, pacifism, causes of hunger.
It's hard to tell if it is appreciated. When people see that we are helping
people on the street, they like it, they support us. However, as soon as we
start talking about problems of our society, they stop smiling and walk away.
FNB is not only about feeding people on the streets and collecting donations
from others. We also want people to change themselves and their approach
towards their lives.
P: Why did you choose serving food on the streets and not collaborating with
A: Because our food is vegan, from the waste, we do not want to hide but
serve in the middle of the town, in front of the McDonald's restaurant, which
wouldn't be approved by any of the charities. And as I said before social
help is not our goal, it is just a part of our activities. Anyway, we have
contacts on many charities in our city and we are friends with many of their
employees, especially from Bratislavska katolicka charita, who serve food
during week days and Betlem Matky Terezy, who provide shelter for the
P: How would describe your usual meeting, sharing? How many people are
involved in your chapter?
A: We meet every Saturday afternoon at 1pm. We have a short meeting, we talk
and then we prepare food for two hours. After that we finish some office work
and at 5pm we go to our sharing spot. After sharing some of the people come
back to clean up our kitchen and dishes.
Before we prepare the food we go once a month on Friday afternoon to grocery
wholesale store, where they already know us and always give us food for
longer - four big bags of potatoes, vegetables, sometimes it is too much.
Once we got 1000 lb. of tomatoes and 5000 lb. of bananas, but we can take
only as much as we can carry. On Saturday morning we go to bakeries where we
get 300 pieces of bread, cookies, pastries, etc., after that we also visit
our local stores and then we can start cooking in our kitchen.
There we first clean up all food, cut it and cook the soup. It depends what
food we have available. Sometimes we make carrot, potato or tomato soup...
There are usually 20 people. It is pretty fast cooking.
Usually 5 - 10 folks go to the sharing, we hang banners up, we flyer around.
We serve for 40 - 80 people a day. I would guess there are around 200 people
often. They like the food. We serve in plastic cups which we collect
afterwards and reuse. We do not hand out any spoons and we try to minimize
all waste we produce. They really like it, all food is usually done in 30
minutes and then we go home.
On Saturday we cook also for Sunday sharing. We start at 9am, we prepare all
food and share at train station at 12.30pm. Altogether we have around 15 hard
core members, 30 people who come and help with cooking and around 50 people
who support us at our events.
P: Do you work at any campaigns and other activities besides sharing food?
A: All the time we work at our general campaign which includes educating
public about veganism and pacifism. We publish and distribute literature and
flyers. Now we are preparing a campaign against buying new expensive military
equipment and a campaign to abolish mandatory military service.
P: Tell us something about yourself, how did you start working with FNB, what
other groups and organizations you work with, etc?
A: I heard about FNB before, I didn't really have idea how it all works. At
the beginning we learned a little about various chapters around the world and
at the first meeting we prepared our own goals and principles. I just
volunteer in FNB, my real work was in Sloboda Zvierat (Animal Liberation -
PETA-like organization). We are allowed to use their kitchen and meeting
space. Now I work for new organization Zi a Nechaj Zit and Ludia Proti
Rasizmu (People against racism). I've been vegan for 9 years. In 1992 I
worked on campaign against military service. And I became a father a few
P: What attracted you the most to FNB: pacifism, helping others, something
A: From the beginning it was mainly pacifism. This became more wide and today
it is solidarity between chapters, veganism, volunteerism... But FNB as a
peace movement is still the main idea and we would like to do more campaigns
against military spending.
P: Do you think that communication among international chapters is important?
A: It is always good to know who is doing what and where. However I like the
idea of autonomous chapters, whose activities are totally independent from
others. Sometimes people say that our FNB is different from others, but I
think it's up to every group how they will form their own work. The diversity
is beautiful. You can find contacts for more chapters around the world at
P: And how about police? Do you guys need permission to serve food on the
street? You mentioned that you serve in front of the McDonald's restaurant.
Do they like it?
A: We've never had any major problem with police. They know us. We do not ask
for the permission any more, but still feel sure that they won't just come
and stop us from helping other people. Nobody contacted us from McDonald's
yet. They probably don't want any problems either. We serve right in front of
their entrance and people who eat can sit on that awful bench with plastic
clown. We used to have problems with the train station police, but after we
spoke to station director, we moved 30 feet aside, and nobody bothers us
anymore. We have the best spot with benches and our banners on the billboards.
P: What are your personal feelings when you do it?
A: This is the best feeling. Currently we are trying to do some more stuff,
like street performances, so that way our sharings are not just serving food,
but also approaching public. I am mostly happy that we didn't skip a single
weekend since we started and people on the street can count on us.
The only trouble I see is with young activists. As active anarchists they
joined us and after few sharings they started arguments about our chapter. So
they started their own chapter and after two months didn't show up at all and
left people without the food. Still today they haven't returned any of our
stuff or money back. This conflict took a lot of enthusiasm from us.
P: It's been 20 years since first FNB chapter started. Do you think there
will be still FNB after next 20 years?
A: Definitely. It must be! It depends just on us.
P: What do you think the Slovak FNB is different from others?
A: I am not really sure. I have never visited any other chapters. Others
should tell us. You can find everything on our website www.jedlo.sk and let
Good luck FNBers and don't forget: Cook For Peace!
Food Not Bombs Bratislava Slovak Republic
Basic Goals and Principles
· Protests the money spent on war when ordinary, innocent people are denied access to basic needs
· All food is recycled from supermarket "waste". It is considered un-sellable due to cosmetic blemishes, yet remains perfectly edible
· We know that scarcity is a lie, there is more than enough food for everyone and that poor food distribution is the problem
· Because of the use of recycled food, guaranteeing the safety of meat products is impossible and controlling the quality of plant produce is much easier.
· Vegetarian food is very healthy and full of nutritious vitamins, and minerals
· We claim solidarity in the fight against poverty. All people deserve equal respect regardless of their social and/or economic situation.
· The existence of poverty must be addressed publicly and not hidden out of sight
· Poverty, hunger, and homelessness are violence caused by skewed government priorities.
· We protest resources spent on war and armament when people are denied their basic rights to food and shelter
· FNB has no structure or hierarchy; all volunteers are equal members with equal say
· A conscious effort is made to include everyone in decision making
· Little or no money is involved; food is donated
· No paid staff - we are all volunteers
· No group leader(s)
· We reject authorities that contribute to or help sustain the current unacceptable situation
· Members of Food Not Bombs have a diverse range of political ideologies.
· Independent thinking is encouraged.
· Volunteers can become involved for any reason; we just all want to help!
Jedlo namiesto zbraní
Mlynské Nivy 41
821 09 Bratislava
tel: 0903 127 824
fax: + 421 / 2 / 55 42 21 76