This week’s guest is adventurer and environmental activist Rob Greenfield, whose societal-boundary-pushing projects have ranged from biking across the United States on a bamboo bicycle for sustainability (three times); to dumpster diving in thousands of grocery store dumpsters to raise awareness about food waste and hunger; to wearing 30 days’ of trash to create a visual of how much trash one American creates. Here, we focus on Rob’s latest extreme endeavor: Growing and foraging 100 percent of his food for One. Entire. Year.
From his 100-square-foot tiny home in Orlando, Florida (hand-built from 99 percent salvaged materials, natch), Rob shares the eating hows and whats of his aptly named Food Freedom project (think harvested salt and golf-course-foraged giant yams; oh, he also grows his own toilet paper). But with no shortage of self-reflection, Rob also digs deeper: into his own impoverished upbringing, the unintended consequences of living with no car or bank account or bills, and finding his true purpose in a life both inside and outside industrial capitalist society.
Some of what we talk about:
What’s behind all the 1s: The launch of Food Freedom on 11/11 and Rob’s 111 possessions
The plan to grow and forage 100 percent of his food for one year; building his 100-square-foot tiny house in Orlando (and why Orlando?)
Staple crops, salt from scratch and the 160-pound yam
How to make coconut oil; North America’s yerba mate
The 11 months of prep that went into the project
Rob’s philosophy on foraging and pesticides
A sampling of the 300-500 foods Rob will be eating for the next 12 months
Taking inspiration from subsistence cultures
The paradox of Rob’s impoverished childhood: “We were consumers. My mom was a consumer; I was a consumer.”
His awakening to “not living a delusional life”
What it’s like to live with no credit cards, no bank account, no driver’s license, no car, no bills and no taxes
Consumerism and mortality
Rob’s vision for the future