Nine Gallons: True Stories of Food Not Bombs
by Susie Cagle
Susie Cagle addresses issues of volunteer burn-out, misguided agendas, and activist in-fighting. Hers is the story of San Francisco Food Not Bombs (specifically, for this issue, the underdoggy Civic Center lunch.) Over the course of 32 packed pages we get Susie dealing with her roommate just not getting it, fellow activists offering critiques but not solutions, and working hard with little help. But it's also fun—and funny—and Susie gives both a conversational insider look and a brief biographical sketch of the (non)organization. It's a struggle the whole way through while Susie looks for inspiration, answers, and hope, and runs up against nine thousand gallons of contradictory activist philosophy. An important moment comes late in the zine when Susie chats with a friend over email who tells her, “It's not about doing it, Susie. It's about doing it better.” Part Food Not Bombs primer, part clear-headed look at volunteer ethics and philosophy, 9 Gallons' second issue is above all a great well-drawn story, a relevant discussion, and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Susie Cagle lives in Oakland and blogs regularly at thisiswhatconcernsme.com
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