Like the original Diggers of the 15th century the San Francisco Diggers began their existence in 1966 with the offering of free food. The original leaflet passed around in Haight-Ashbury by the two original Diggers Emmett Grogan and Billy Murcott stated:
FREE FOOD GOOD HOT STEW
RIPE TOMATOES FRESH FRUIT
BRING A BOWL AND A SPOON TO
THE PANHANDLE AT ASHBURY STREET
4 PM 4 PM 4PM 4PM
FREE FOOD EVERYDAY FREE FOOD
IT'S FREE BECAUSE IT'S YOURS!
It was the ultimate affront to the hip merchants of the burgeoning hippie scene. It made the Diggers famous and while there are several famous SF Diggers the Free Food service was a continues daily struggle that took most of the day and the labour involved came almost exclusively from women whose names are never remembered, or so Grogan tell us in his autobiography. The food itself was mostly stolen and often wilted or otherwise unwanted. Hence stews. Meat was considered an essential ingredient. Like with the original Diggers the simplicity of the Free Food program transferred an obscure group of disenfranchised lay intellectuals into a media phenomena everybody could relate to. Pictures from Charles Perry's 'The Haight Ashbury'.