Our most asked question -> Who is in charge?

We have no leader! Each San Francisco Food Not Bombs day is semi-autonomous, run by consensus. The organization has no central leadership and we are not a well-oiled bay area 501c3. You will probably find many opinions as there are FNB volunteers. Anyone can participate or even start their own food sharing! This site lists actions under the FNB banner from various contributors.

How can I help?

We are always looking for more volunteers as well as new sources of food. Check out our serving schedule and find a day or two that would work for you. Show up to a serving and talk with the folks there or get in touch via listed contact information, or by emaling sffnbvolunteers at riseup dot net. Or just start cooking and serving veg food on your own, let us know, we’ll list it on the site!

If you would like to donate supplies or monetarily email sffnbvolunteers@riseup.net. Some of our specific needs are outlined later in this FAQ.

Where does FNB cook?

Most SF FNB servings prepare their food in ordinary household kitchens.  Food is delivered by foot, bike cart, and occasionally public transit to the sharing site.

Where do you get your food/supplies?

A central part of Food Not Bombs is that we use food that would otherwise be thrown away or go to waste. We collect food from many places including sidewalk fruit trees, farmers, restaurants, grocery stores and dumpsters. Much of it is organic and local. A few items such as oil or flour are donations or purchased.

What about food safety and sanitation?

Though we typically cook in private kitchens, we take proper precautions when preparing our food, including washing of hands, equipment and collected food, cooking at high temperatures (including use of pressure cookers). We use knives and chopping surfaces free of meat and other “high risk” foods.

Is your food vegan?

The vast majority of our food is vegan. Sometimes we receive donations or come upon food that is not and we choose to include that in our serving rather than see it go to waste; it is really at the discretion of the serving. Most often non vegan items are bread or pastry — and we try to be very clear about any items with dairy. Ask the folks at the serving if you have any questions or concerns. Everything is vegetarian and largely fresh, we will try our best to accommodate allergies & dietary needs.

Are you a bunch of “anarchists” ? Are you all Vegans? Do I have to be one to participate?

People from all walks of life do Food Not Bombs.  Some members may consider themselves anarchists or vegans, but certainly not all by a long shot.  We generally try to be pretty relaxed and welcoming of anyone who would like to participate.

Does FNB need anything, do you take donations?

There are a few things we always dream of having or would love to have more of, if you’ve got them handy feel free to email us (sffnbvolunteers@riseup.net) or bring them by a serving!

– compostable bowls, plates, cups and utensils

– bike carts

– very large pots + pans or portable drink coolers

– fruit + veggies

– rice, beans and oil

– $ for provisions

– propane stoves, burners and ‘turkey fryers’

– light-weight canopies and other structures for serving in the rain

Do you have an email list?

Yep, we sure do! Check out this page to sign up!

Can Food Not Bombs serve at my event?

SF Food Not Bombs does not see itself as the solution to the world’s problems – rather we see ourselves as one piece in the greater struggle and movement. Therefore, we recognize and value the work of other groups and we often provide food in solidarity with our comrades at demos, rallies and events to show our appreciation of the work they are doing.

Please leave us a voicemail message or email sffnbvolunteers at riseup dot net with details of your event and we will try to do our best to accommodate your request.

Can I do an interview, school project, photo/video documentary on SF Food Not Bombs?

Feel free to leave us a voicemail or email sffnbvolunteers at riseup dot net with what you’d like to do and we’ll send it out to folks!

Can I complete my [insert institution here] community service requirement with  SF Food Not Bombs?

Sure, many people do. There is no need to ask, come on by a serving and start helping. You can usually find someone in the group to sign off on necessary paperwork.

Can I donate prepared food? Can you do regular pickups from me?

Yes! We are happy to accept vegan and vegetarian prepared foods. And yes, we can usually work out regular food pickups. Please email or call us to arrange details.

Who can use the Food Not Bombs logo/name?

According to the FNB handbook the Food Not Bombs name and logo are copyleft, so anyone can use them. Read about our core principles, and if you are interested we encourage you to join an existing group or start your own chapter. If you are already serving veg food in SF let us know, we can list you on our site and coordinate! If you’re looking for copy of the logo, try here.

If you have specific questions around copyright/copyleft you should email the good folks at FoodNotBombs.net.

How would SFFNB deal with a serious disaster or crisis?

Food Not Bombs has a long history of serving hot food in times of crisis and need. From the 89 earthquake in San Francisco to 9-11 in New York to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Food Not Bombs chapters have been among the first to step up to provide food support and solidarity to their communities. After a dicussion, the SF FNB chapter has consensed to meet at UN Plaza to plan further activities should any catastrophic circumstance arise. 

How can I start a Food Not Bombs chapter in my city? Is there a FNB guidebook or manual out there?

FoodNotBombs.net has an excellent tutorial, 7 steps to starting a FNB chapter. There is also a ‘Food Not Bombs Handbook’ written by FNB founders that you can buy or borrow from your library with a lot of great strategies, stories and information. Or there is this free & nifty food not bombs manual (pdf) put together by East Bay Food Not Bombs and the Long Haul.

Very summarized process: Get an email address, voicemail # and web site. Announce that you are forming a FNB group at local organizations, with flyers and online (local indymedia). Hold a meeting for interested volunteers to coordinate efforts. Ask around at local health food stores and bakeries to see if they have any left-overs, arrange regular pickup. Scavenge large pots and cookware from yard-sales, thrift stores and personal collections. Pick a public and visible place to serve and then get the word out about your serving. Cook, serve, rinse and repeat.