Orlando Food Not Bombs shares food and literature

Venice Food Not Bombs volunteer arrested while filming Food Not Bombs on the Venice Boardwalk


The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Section of the Constitution read by Representative Gabrielle Gifford on the floor of the U.S. Congress Thursday January 6, 2011 two days before she was shot in Tucson, Arizona FOOD NOT BOMBS DEFENDS IT'S RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia will hear the Orlando Food Bombs First Amendment case the week of February 14, 2011.

"There has to be some kind of (police) action. At this point its seems to be a political statement on their (Food Not Bombs) part not a food give away issue." San Francisco Police Public Relations Officer Jerry Senkir on the reason for the 1988 arrests of Food Not Bombs volunteers

People's right to peaceful protest in the United States is under serious threat. Food Not Bombs volunteers have been struggling to defend their right to free expression since 1988 when police first started making arrests of those sharing food with the hungry in San Francisco. City officials made it clear the problem was not that volunteers were sharing food but that the message groups message was not allowed and that they could feed the hungry if they would take their meals inside out of view of the public. Authorities in St. Petersburg and Orlando Florida and Rapid City, South Dakota are currently resisting efforts to silence them.

On the week of February 14th the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia will hear the Orlando Food Bombs First Amendment case stemming from the April 4, 2007 arrest of Food Not Bombs volunteer Eric Montanez in the cities effort to silence the groups message.

Activists in Russian have been holding protests on the 31st of each month calling on the government to respect Russia's right to Free Speech under their constitution's Article 31. Many activists including Food Not Bombs are also struggling to protect their right to Free Speech in the United States. Americans could organize "Strategy 1" protesting on the first of each month in support of the right to free expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

There is a proposal asking all Food Not Bombs groups to share free vegan meals outside local Federal Buildings, U.S. military Bases or U.S. Embassies on Valentines Day, February, 14, 2011. We might also want to start organizing Strategy 1 Actions that day after the Strategy 31 Actions in Russia.

"They don't want to feed the hungry they just want to make an anarchist type statement and we aren't going to allow it." San Francisco Police Captan Dennis Martel on the 1989 arrests of Food Not Bombs

STATEMENT OF FEDERAL JUDGE BARKET IN SUPPORT OF FOOD NOT BOMBS In the dissent, Judge Barkett contested that the group's activities are expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. The members of Orlando Food Not Bombs ("Food Not Bombs") began conducting weekly demonstrations in 2005 at a public park located in the heart of downtown Orlando in order to draw attention to society's failure to provide food to all and express their opposition to war. They did so by displaying signs and wearing buttons and t-shirts with the Food Not Bombs' logo and anti-war messages while simultaneously distributing free food to hungry and homeless persons. Under well-established Supreme Court precedent, Food Not Bombs has readily demonstrated that this conduct constitutes expressive conduct entitled to First Amendment protection and, therefore, I dissent.

More details on efforts to silence Food Not Bombs in the United States
First ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals - Atlanta


Activists have organized the Strategy 31 campaign for the right to peaceful protest in Russia holding protests on the 31st of each month in support of Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. Article 31 is Russia's version of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The article below shows that Russian authorities use the same tactics to silence peace full protest in their country as are used by officials in the United States to suppress protest.

Strategy 31 campaigns for the right to peaceful protest in Russia

Strategy 31 campaign for the right to peaceful protest in Russia
 Russian police detain 130 in anti-government protests
Article 31 Protest at Russian Embassy in London
Food Not Bombs could organize acions like this on February 14th outside the U.S. Embassy in each country.



Please email us the details of your local action to menu@foodnotbombs.net - thanks

Saint Petersburg Food Not Bombs among groups targeted for arrest for feeding the hungry

Rapid City Food Not Bombs told to move to less visible location.
Organizations at odds over free meals to homeless

Great news: the Eleventh Circuit has VACATED its July opinion in favor of the City of Orlando and granted rehearing en banc.
Homeless advocates win new hearing in Lake Eola park-feeding case

Jackie Dowd of Legal Advocacy at Work in an exclusive interview discusses the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals making the rare judicial move of throwing out the earlier decision of their own 3 judge panel overturning the victory of Food Not Bombs vs the City of Orlando's Group Feeding Ordinance and granting a new hearing in front of the entire panel of judges.

11th Circuit to Reconsider Homeless Feeding Permits

A ruling from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals bars the city from enforcing a 4-year-old ordinance that regulates group feedings in public parks. Read Ruling Against Food Not Bombs Right To Free Expression that was vacated.(Click for pdf of ruling)

RICHMOND FOOD NOT BOMBS - Resist attempts at pushing homeless out of Monroe Park!

This is in response to the recently unnveiled plans for renovations of Monroe Park in Richmond, Virginia, as well as comments about the park from Charles R. Samuels who is the City Councilman for the 2nd district where Monroe Park is located. This is written by a longtime member of the Richmond Food Not Bombs organization, which has been serving a weekly meal in the park for over 16 years.
Resist attempts at pushing homeless out of Monroe Park!
Group decries plans to gentrify Monroe Park

There have been many attempts to shut down local Food Not Bombs groups by claiming they need a permit to share free meals and that volunteers need to cook in a licensed facility. After first arresting San Francisco Food Not Bombs on August 15, 1988 because they were "making a political statement and that's not allowed" the city started claiming that the group needed a permit from the parks department and when that didn't work they told the public that Food Not Bombs needed a Health Permit. Even though California state law clearly stated that no one was required to have this permit unless they were selling or making money from distributing the food the police made over 1,000 arrests. San Francisco Food Not Bombs is not only still sharing free meals but the arrests inspired people all over the world to start their own Food Not Bombs groups. Each time a government threatens to stop a local Food Not Bombs group their actions cause the creation of new chapters. State officials in Arizona, Florida, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Connecticut have also tried to stop Food Not Bombs in the past couple of years. You can support Ann Arbor Food Not Bombs. Share food with them or organize an action in solidarity with their right to share free food and literature in protest to hunger, poverty and war. Please return to this page to find out additional ways of supporting Ann Arbor Food Not Bombs.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Against Food Not Bombs Right To Free Expression.

"We accept that Orlando Food Not Bombs had the requisite expressive intent, but we believe that the feedings in this case present at most an ambiguous situation to an objective reasonable observer...Just feeding people in the park is conduct too ambiguous to allow us to conclude that a great likelihood exists that an objective reasonable observer would understand that the feeders are trying to convey a message. "
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Edmondson, Barkett, and Baldock - July 6, 2010

Orlando, FL: Do NOT Feed the Homeless or Else...
Group Feeds Homeless In Protest - WESH tv
Orlando Food Not Bombs defies federal judge's ruling, continues to feed homeless

Issued July 14, 2010

Orlando Food Not Bombs is not going anywhere. We will not slink out of Orlando because a court ruling goes against us. Some accuse us of being "outside agitators" with a covert agenda, but we freely admit that our purposes are both humanitarian and political. Many of us live here, and it is our city, too. We will continue to share food at a location in or near downtown Orlando twice a week, as we have for more than five years. We do this because thousands of hungry people desperately need the food that we provide and because we truly believe that food is a right--not a privilege.

The City of Orlando, from Mayor "Buddy" Dyer on down, has provided ample evidence that it believes that food and human survival are mere privileges. They have repeatedly criminalized homelessness and dehumanized the poor and the homeless. Some of their more outrageous actions have included creating an undercover Orlando police unit to nab panhandlers and arresting an FNB member for the heinous crime of ladling out stew too many times (this involved 15 police officers!). We would love to know how many of our hard-earned tax dollars Dyer and his minions have squandered harassing the hungry, and opposing those who provide them with aid (without using one penny of public money).

Orlando Food Not Bombs can not and will not stand down and allow an apartheid-like system of injustice based upon socio-economic status to go unchallenged. The court ruling was only part of one battle; our struggle for a freer, more equitable and compassionate society continues. We have partnered with other groups and individuals to organize and advocate in our community around issues such as poverty, jobs, support for the rights of workers and immigrants, gentrification, affordable housing, social services, and police accountability.

We will hold local public officials accountable for how their decisions affect everyone--not just corporate and business interests and wealthy campaign donors. We will demand that they recognize that the greatness of a city is not measured by how much it can lavish on arenas and performing arts centers, but by how it treats the least among us. We will make the powerful listen and we will make them act.

In closing, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our lawyer, Jacqueline Dowd. It is only due to Jackie's tireless efforts on our behalf that we have been able to share food at Lake Eola Park these last four years despite the City's anti-homeless food sharing ordinance. We esteem Jackie for her commitment to this cause and to the people with whom we share and to everyone in our community who is disadvantaged.

orlandofnb@ orlandofoodnotbombs.org


Two days after America celebrated Independence Day the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta found that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution does not protect Food Not Bombs and The First Vagabonds Church of God's right to free expression. The Eleventh Circuit Court judgement against Food Not Bombs joins the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and the Federal Fifth Circuit ruling against the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in showing a disregard for the public good on behalf of corporate greed.

Eric Montanez, one of the Orlando Food Not Bombs volunteers arrested two years ago, helped carry on the group's regular Wednesday night feeding at Lake Eola Park as scheduled and pledged to continue doing so regardless of what happens.

'The city is criminalizing homelessness and poverty and criminalizing individuals and organizations in the community that are trying to address those problems,' Montanez said.

Orlando City Attorney Mayanne Downs said at a news conference earlier Wednesday that enforcement won't begin for at least 20 days- the amount of time that Orlando Food Not Bombs and other homeless activists who sued the city over the rules have to go back to court. The ordinance requires anyone hosting a "large group feeding" in the downtown district to first get a permit. Each individual or group is limited to two permits annually per district park.

Food Not Bombs is not "Just feeding people in the park" but is seeking to express in the most effective means possible that America should redirect it's resources from military spending towards food, housing, education, healthcare and other basic needs. Providing free food to the hungry in the most visible location possible under the banner Food Not Bombs is the most effective means of expressing this message. The court ruling will not stop Food Not Bombs from continuing to provide free meals in protest to war and poverty.

Federal court censorship of Food Not Bombs at this point in history is particularly disturbing considering that U.S. military spending and homeless and hunger are all at record levels. It is more important then ever for the message of Food Not Bombs to have as much impact as possible on American taxpayers by sharing free meals with the hungry under the banner Food Not Bombs in the most visible locations possible. U.S. taxpayers were asked to pay at least $663.8 billion this year for their military as 40 million Americans require Food Stamps, millions of people are waiting for unemployment checks and A record 3 million homes received foreclosure notices in 2009.

Orlando Food Not Bombs can expect world wide support if threatened again with arrest. Volunteers from all over the United States are likely to travel to Orlando to risk arrest. Food Not Bombs has an eastern United States Gathering planned for November in Washington D.C. where the subject of coordinated global actions will be discussed. Orlando Food Not Bombs will ask full appeals court to rehear the case.

Requiring permits to feed homeless in parks upheld
Orlando Can Restrict Homeless Feedings
Orlando Can Restrict Homeless Feedings
Appeals court sides with Orlando on food ban
Orlando group defies federal judge's ruling, continues to feed homeless
Homeless advocates decry court ruling restricting feedings in parks

Fight over homeless feeding site heats up in Fort Lauderdale
Ordinance Would Regulate Feeding Miam's Homeless
Miami Florida considers anti-homeless feeding law
Diablo Food Not Bombs Succeeds in Feeding the Hungry!

Good People Break Bad Laws

State officials tried to stop Food Not Bombs in New Mexico. New Mexico is ranked as "America's Hungriest State" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with near 17 percent of our people going without food each month. New Mexico is not the only state trying to stop Food Not Bombs. State officials in Arizona, Florida, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Connecticut have also tried to stop Food Not Bombs in the past couple of years. Arizona Food Not Bombs groups in Flagstaff and Prescott were told they could continue if they "didn't publicize" our meal. The city has been telling Flagstaff Food Not Bombs to move, stop and threatening arrest for several months. Middletown Food Not Bombs has been trying to work with the city but local officials started ticketing and arresting volunteers in late April. Both the States of New Mexico and Connecticut ordered all chapters to stop in letter they sent to the Food Not Bombs office in Taos, New Mexico. Connecticut finally created a new law that lets everyone share meals with the hungry. Sharing free meals and literature in an unregulated activity like all other offers of help. Food Not Bombs has been sharing free vegetarian meals since 1980 and is providing free meals and literature in over 1,000 cities around the world. Not one person has reported being made ill by eating our vegetarian meals. As would be expected the food is shared in the three hour period determined safe by all state laws. Several cities have tried to stop Food Not Bombs. San Francisco spend ten years and thousands of dollars arresting and beating volunteers. The group still shares meals nearly every day in San Francisco, California. Orlando Food Not Bombs was arrested but found innocent and the city was ordered to pay $200,000 to our lawyers. The city of West Palm Beach was ordered to pay our lawyers $100,000 after trying to restrict our efforts. So far the United States is the only country that has tried to stop Food Not Bombs from sharing meals with the hungry. Police did arrest the Utrecht Netherlands chapter but gave a formal apology.

Food Not Bombs has also been listed as a domestic terrorist group in the United States. Federal agents have a national campaign of infiltration and disruption of local Food Not Bombs groups. The U.S. government has framed nearly 20 volunteers on charges of terrorism. Many are in prison today. For more details about the U.S. governments national campaign against Food Not Bombs VISIT www.foodnotbombs.net/spy.html

We are urging a global day of action is solidarity of all groups under threat by government officials. Our eight cooks are also facing long prision sentences in the RNC 8 case. Their trial is set for this summer. If you live near any chapter facing repression please attend their next meal and consider risking arrest. Defense of our right to share meals without government interference could not be a more important right to protect as the global economy fails and millions are going hungry.

Permits can be a big problem as we saw in San Francisco where the city deleted the permit process as a way of justifying their arrests after the government was pressured by corporate leaders to drive us from public. We divided our meals into thirds in San Francisco so that the police would steal the first amount and arrest the servers then return to take another share of our meal and a few more volunteers but after that they never took our third attempt and that way everyone was fed. We felt that if we gave in this would give future governments the idea that they could require permits and that when ever a government thought they needed to restrict our work they could point to the permits as justification.

Food permit laws are designed to regulate the distribution of meals where there is an economic incentive to cut corners in the preparation or serving of meals. Food Not Bombs is an all volunteer project sharing free vegetarian meals and literature in protest to war and poverty. Efforts to stop Food Not Bombs is based on political considerations and has nothing to do with food safety as no one has ever reported being made ill in the nearly thirty years we have provided meals to the hungry.


Hey Friends and Supporters, On Friday, May 8, 2009, Food Not Bombs Albuquerque was notified that we are facing an injunction in court to stop sharing food anywhere that the state of New Mexico requires a permit. The motion filed by the New Mexico Environment Department cites Mike Butler, Patrick Jaite, and Several Unidentified Members of FNB as "John Does", as defendents. We are currently going to be talking with lawyers and figuring out what our next step is. We are still looking for any lawyer that will do pro-bono work to defend us. (our contact info will be below).Please spread the word about the repression that is happening and know that we will continue to share food to all that are hungry. Sincerely, Food Not Bombs Albuquerque fnb_505@yahoo.com and leave a message for us @ (505) 842-5697


Food Not Bombs meal cut short by cops

Middletown Group Issued Summons For Violation

Dozens Enjoy Middletown Food Not Bombs Meal, Police Issue 2 Tickets

Middletown Police Ticket Food Not Bombs

City Hall urges Food Not Bombs to obtain permit

In Orlando, a federal judge has ruled that sharing food with hungry and homeless people in public spaces is protected First Amendment activity.

You can read the court's decision here: Federal Court Order Protecting Our Rights
Meal program for homeless faces ban

Arrest is first under homeless-feeding law/ Orlando Sentinel
One day after Las Vegas officials close Huntridge Circle Park, four people jailed

Civic Center and Houston Food Not Bombs was told they would be arrested if they didn't stop feeding the hungry.

Food Not Bombs
P.O. Box 424, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA

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