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Food is a right not a privilege – statement of solidarity

Birmingham Food Not Bombs | 22.02.2012 00:08 | Policing | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham | World

Birmingham Food Not Bombs would like to issue a statement of solidarity to all groups and people around the world who have been arrested for sharing food with the hungry. There’s been a worrying trend recently in America of new laws being introduced to prevent free food being given out to the hungry which has resulted in many people being arrested and held for days in prison. There has been a call out for people around the world to consider sharing free meals in celebration of our right to food on Sunday 1st April. Food is a right not a privilege.

The first arrest for sharing food in Orlando, Florida
The first arrest for sharing food in Orlando, Florida


Sharing food with the hungry is an unregulated act of kindness.
End all efforts to stop people from feeding the hungry.
Rescind all laws restricting compassion.

- Kathy Mitro who posted a petition on line after being threatened with arrest for sharing food in Daytona Beach. Florida in January 2012

We are proposing that people all over the world consider sharing free meals in celebration our right to food and participate in our campaign for an end to laws restricting acts of compassion. Celebrate our right to feed the hungry with music, theater, and the sharing of food.


It has been distressing to receive so many reports in the past few weeks of people being threatened with arrest or cities adopting new laws limiting people’s right to share free food with the public. People in England, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida contacted Food Not Bombs about having been threatened with arrest. Others report that their local governments are considering laws to limit acts of compassion.

This new wave of threats is happening as half of all Americans are struggling to survive. The Department of Agriculture’s February report shows that 46,286,294 people relied on food stamps in November of 2011. People have been arriving at Food Not Bombs meals claiming they had not eaten in four days because other food programs had exhausted their resources. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 1 in 7 people or 925 million people world wide went hungry in 2010. We are announcing a global campaign to recognize that sharing food with the hungry is an unregulated activity of compassion and should not be interfered with by the authorities.

Our movement started when the “Diggers” occupied St George’s Hill in Surrey, England on April 1, 1649 in a protest for the right of landless people to feed themselves. We are announcing our global campaign for the right of all people to share food with the hungry without regulation on the anniversary of the first act of the peaceful resistance by the “Diggers” of St George’s Hill.

The public is encouraged to share meals with their community on Sunday, April 1, 2012 in defiance of government’s efforts to restrict acts of compassion. Please email our office so we can post your event on our website.

FOOD IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE ? End all efforts to stop people from feeding the hungry

FOOD IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE ? End all efforts to stop people from feeding the hungry on


Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
Noam Chomsky, author and professor M.I.T.
Eric Holt-Giménez, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy
Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy
David Barsamian, founder and director of Alternative Radio
David Rovics,musician, USA
Kevin Devine, musician, Brooklyn, NY
Kathy Kelly, Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Michael Stoops, National Coalition for the Homeless
Kathy Mitro, Daytona Beach. Florida
Keith McHenry, Co-founder of the Food Not Bombs Movement


Please consider endorsing this nonviolent campaign. Email us you name, position and city or if your group is endorsing the name of your organization and city. Seek to overturn all local laws restricting the sharing of food.
Thanks so much.

The current cities actively seeking to restrict the sharing of food are Los Angeles, Daytona Beach,Tampa, St Petersburg, Dallas, Myrtle Beach, Philadelphia.

Birmingham Food Not Bombs
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Display the following 9 comments

  1. Please let this be a bad dream. — Gobsmacked.
  2. A Place at the Table — Birmingham Food Not Bombs
  3. Not as bad but tricky — MDN
  4. poppycock — Harry brown
  5. natural or legal 'rights' — anarchist
  6. "Natural" rights don't really exist — anon
  7. Fingers in your mouths. — Charity Black.
  8. @ the killer — mauve
  9. Eating money! — Charity Black