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Tufts 'dumpster diver' looks to open cafe to serve discarded food

Posted by Your Town  March 26, 2013 12:40 PM

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A Tufts University student that searches dumpsters behind grocery stores and makes meals with what he finds wants to open a 24-hour cafe to serve the food for free.

Maximus Thaler is the founder of The Gleanor's Kitchen, which prepares meals most nights a week at the Craft House, a cooperative living house on the Tufts campus. Thaler has launched a Kickstarter in the hopes of raising $1,500 to open a cafe this summer, which would host events like academic lectures, crafts workshops, and poetry, Thaler says in a video accompanying the Kickstarter. And, of course, there would be a daily meal made from the items discarded by grocery stores.

The Gleanor's Kitchen name comes from Ruth, a character in the Old testament who gather bits of grain left behind in fields for her family to use.

"In today's modern, industrial, capitalist society, gleaning takes on a new meaning," Thaler says in the video. "Some of us call it dumpster diving."

The video shows Thaler and others rifling through a grocery store dumpster in the night, finding a box full of fruit and vegetables, a carton of 11 eggs, yogurt and sealed coffee grinds.

"The things we find, are jaw dropping," Thaler says.

Anything unusable is discarded, while edible items are cleaned and prepared to be served.

In an interview with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH radio, said any donations -- along with the Kickstarter, Thaler also accepts donations at his dinners at the Craft House -- will go to opening a cafe.

"If you're donating to me you're donating to the space I'm creating, not the commodity I'm producing," he said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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