Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Saturday, 28 November 2009

'Freegan' Mark Boyle hosts a feast of foraged food

Mark Boyle
Mark Boyle heats his caravan with a woodburner using disused pallets

A meeting of self-styled "freegans" has taken place in Bristol, culminating in a meal assembled from waste food.

Freegan Mark Boyle marked his first year of living without cash with a festival of "freeconomics".

The event at Hamilton House, Stokes Croft, also featured the BBC's 'Roadkill Chef' Fergus Drennan and author Andy Hamilton.

Mr Boyle, who forages for all his food, said he had had "an amazing year". The waste food meal fed 250 people.

Mr Boyle said: "It's been the happiest year of my life, and I will continue indefinitely, so I do not see any reason to return to a money-orientated world.

I have no plans for using money next week or the week after
Mark Boyle

"It has been really liberating. It does have challenges but I do not have the stresses of bank accounts, bills, traffic jams and long hours in a job I don't enjoy."

"Freeconomists" say their way of life is helping to save the planet from climate change and pollution.

Mr Boyle, an Irish-born former businessman, lives in a caravan at Timsbury, near Bath.

He says he has no plans to return to the cash economy in the immediate future.

'Wasteful society'

"I have no plans for using money next week or the week after. I'm going to have to take some time out and think how I'm going to work this long-term," he said.

"We live in a very wasteful society and part of it is we have no respect for the value of everything."

He communicates from his caravan home via a solar-powered laptop with a wi-fi connection provided in return for doing odd jobs at a local farm.

The free meal - a three course banquet - was provided from food foraged from Bristol city centre's shops and supermarkets.

As well as the meal, the Freeconomics Festival featured music, films, healing practitioners and swap meets.

Some of the power was provided by pedal-powered generators.

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