Photos By John Hoff
Connie Nompelis (NO-bliss) is glamorous and financially successful in her real estate profession, which causes Connie to spend a lot of time in North Minneapolis. Connie has also kicked around lots in Honduras, so she's appalled by the wasteful habits of Americans after spending time in the Third World. This happens to almost everybody who spends any amount of time in the Third World.
As odd as this sounds, me and lovely Connie have gone dumpster diving together. She's had me sign copies of the two books I've written on the subject of "proactive urban scavenging." She's fed me a delightful crock pot stew from turkey we salvaged together I-won't-say-where-exactly. (The photo above is part of our haul that night) Connie has read most or at least many of the writings of the "Simplicity Movement," which thrived back in the heyday of Clintonian prosperity. My first book on dumpster diving is one of those writings, albeit some have characterized those writings as part of the "fringe" of the Simplicity Movement.
Turns out Connie read my first book YEARS ago, before I ever ran into her in North Minneapolis. I really wish Connie would turn into an obsessed fan and stalk me. I wouldn't try to get away. Honest.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up...
...has little to do with Connie or North Minneapolis, but I am determined to, as it were, go through the literary motions of tying everything to North Minneapolis. So there.
Through my blogging efforts, I met a young Harvard student named Deolinda Martins. When I say I "met" Deolinda, well, I've never actually spoken to her, let alone met her in person. (Which is a shame, as a Google image search reveals she is, well, HOT) It turns out Deolinda and myself share an incredibly arcane and obscure public policy passion: we are both obsessed with the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.
Well, actually, our mutual obsession is even more RARIFIED than this obscure, relatively unpublicized law which could feed every hungry person in America if only the law were better PUBLICIZED.
How can this one law do so much, you might ask? I'M GLAD YOU ASKED.
Grocery stores and restaurants produce obscene mountains of food waste, but pointlessly obsess over "liability issues" when it comes to food donation to, for example, food banks. But the Bill Emerson law basically protects stores and restaurants from liability. Only one problem with the law: it's not very well publicized. The Clinton administration was publicizing it shortly after passage but then a minor matter came up: a certain JEZEBEL WHORE named Monica Lewinsky.
But I digress.
Anyway, it turns out both Deolinda Martins and myself are obsessed with why the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act isn't better PUBLICIZED. That's how Martins located me in the blogosphere world. I had written a few things about this law and how the lack of publicity about the law basically thwarts the PURPOSE of the law.
Though Deolinda is only an undergrad, I've proofread a doctoral thesis or two in my time and let me just say I'm amazed by the quality and effort which went into this "undergrad" paper, which reads more like something written by a PhD candidate.
At a certain point quite early in the development of her paper, Deolinda communicated with me and I encouraged her, brainstormed with her and--many times--tried to rally her in moments of discouragement by telling her how IMPORTANT a paper like this could be, especially if the idea of JUST PUBLICIZING THIS LAW got into the heads of the Obama administration as a measure to help Americans avoid the terrible pain being caused by this recession, until we get through it.
(Whether recession is such a "bad" thing, however, particularly when landfill waste is down approximately 30 percent, is a more complex topic. I would argue that a sustainable green economy can't run on Keynesian economic principals--which appear to rely on perpetual growth rooted in extraction of natural resources. Clearly, new "green economy" models are needed)
All the same, Americans being in need while dumpsters overflow with perfectly good and PERFECTLY SAFE food is another matter entirely, and our government should respond. One easy and economical way to respond is to simply publicize the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donations Act, producing massive resources to feed the hungry--whoosh--out of THIN AIR.
(Take a look at red hot Connie, in the picture above. Does she look like she's keeling over from food poisoning? Publicize the law, I say! SAVE THE GOOD FOOD THAT'S BEING TOSSED IN DUMPSTERS!)
Deolinda sent me her paper in the form of PDF files, and I've put these on the Johnny Northside PDF support website, click here, for those who want to curl up with an academic paper which is many, many pages long. But somebody will care about this paper, I think--I already sent it to some old friends at Real Change newspaper in Seattle--and I am very hopeful Deolinda's academic masterpiece will have a positive social impact and miraculously feed the hungry, like Jesus making loaves and fish just...replicate, like...WHOOSH!!!! Wow, dude, where did all this FISH come from?!!! Yummy. Yummy miracle fish!
Oh, by the way, my books on dumpster diving are NOT listed as sources in the paper. Generally, books with a cartoon in every chapter don't get cited in academic papers.
But do such books have an impact on society? Oh, yes, they do...just like a blog does.