IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Freegan' activists dumpster dive to save the planet

Ben Nelms, photojournalist for Reuters writes: I never thought I would say “that’s delicious” after taking a bite out of expired and moderately warm cashew ice-cream. This was one of the many presumptions that would be broken in my time spent with this intriguing group of “urban gleaners.”

A “Freegan” is someone who gathers edible food from the dumpster bins of grocery stores or food stands that would otherwise have been thrown away. This is usually due to being past an expiration date or being damaged. Bread, fruit and vegetables, canned goods and even ice-cream is found and given a second chance.

I first met Robin through another story I was working on at a young women’s shelter in downtown Vancouver. Robin, who works there part-time, mentioned that she had quite different food habits than the normal 23-year-old city girl in Vancouver. I asked if I could photograph her on one of her “grocery shopping” outings and the rest fell together from that moment on.

Follow @msnbc_pictures

Sign up for the msnbc.com Photos Newsletter