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Taking personal responsibility and doing something about the problems of our society can be both empowering and intimidating. Voting for the best candidate or giving money to your favorite charity are worthwhile activities, but many people want to do more. What to do and how to get started are hard to discover, especially with social problems as large as homelessness, hunger, and militarism. This handbook will assist you in getting on a path toward taking personal direct action on these issues. 

Above all, the Food Not Bombs experience is an opportunity for self-empowerment. In addition to the obvious political message we try to convey, the two major components of Food Not Bombs' day-to-day work are the recovery and redistribution of surplus food, and the feeding of the hungry. Political organizing is more rewarding if it produces both greater political awareness anddirect service. 

At every step along the way, you will face many choices; some we will describe in this handbook, but others will be unique to your situation. You will need to make decisions that are best for your local operation. We can tell you from our experience that it will be both hard work and a lot of fun, and we will try to share with you those things we have learned that might both assist you and help you to avoid the problems we have already encountered. This handbook is a beginning from which to take off on your own adventure, and is based on more than ten years of experience, but that does not give us all the answers. Every day brings more challenges and new learning opportunities. The Food Not Bombs experience is a living, dynamic adventure that expands with every person who participates in it. Even today, as more and more Food Not Bombs groups start in other cities, we are discovering that each group brings with it new ideas, new visions, and new ways of developing its own identity. This handbook contains only the most basic information necessary for you to start your group on its way.

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