When Lisa Ling visits The Oprah Show, you're likely to go someplace you've never been before. She has given viewers rare looks inside places as remote as North Korea and Uganda and as close as secretive polygamous communities in America.
But it's likely you've never seen anything like "freegans." This growing grassroots subculture is made of people who have decided to live outside consumer society. Freegans say our culture's emphasis on buying the newest products—and throwing away perfectly fine older things—is a waste of the world's resources. Instead, they focus on buying less and use only what they need. One of the main ways freegans do this is by salvaging food and other goods from the trash.
Three years ago, Madeline was an executive living in New York City earning a six-figure salary. After a six-month period of conversion, she says she became a freegan who gets almost all her food from what other people throw away. "I started thinking about what I was consuming," she says. "I started looking at how much I was consuming and how consumerism is really driven by corporations who make lots and lots of money by getting us to buy things."