The third installment of the Slow Food Youth Network’s (SFYN) annual World Disco Soup Day took place on April 27th.
Like previous years, we saw a phenomenal effort by local organizers and members of the public who are fed up with a global food system that sees a third of all edible food produced be thrown away. All in all, approximately 14,000 kg of food that would otherwise have gone into landfills was rescued by 800 dedicated grassroots volunteers.
With the help of other local volunteer organizations, they turned it into 25,000 free meals at 83 diverse events across five different continents.
From Sierra Leone to Switzerland, Tehran to Tokyo, there were again plenty of big smiles, empty bins, and full bellies all across the world on World Disco Soup Day. Latin America was a hub of activity, with Brazil, Mexico, and Peru hosting the most events per country – 4,000 people turned out for events in Curitiba and Cusco alone, while in Asia, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, hosted a Disco Soup for 1,500 people.
The events came in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colours, and sounds.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, they had live marimbas, a movie screening, and a poetry slam at a community garden, while the Durban group teamed up with Greenpeace to host, at an outdoor public pool, a day of swimming, dancing, cooking, and painting a giant Slow Food snail on the wall of a community food garden. SFYN Japan got a group of digital musicians and local food artists on board for a live performance, creating a beautiful mandala out of food items under the fluorescent projections of a digital light show set to music.
This year, however, more than in previous years, special emphasis was placed not only on the issue of food waste, but on taking a more holistic approach. Attacking the problem within the broader context of the global food system as a whole. With this in mind, this year SFYN coordinated month-long campaigns kicked off or closed by World Disco Soup Day to raise awareness on various other issues specifically targeted to the global regions of Asia/Oceania, Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
Many World Disco Soup Day events also emphasized the importance of education and learning. Not only formal workshops and lectures, but hearing from farmers, small-scale producers, and those on the front line of food production, who are not often given a voice.
In Puerto Rico, the Disco Soup in Orocovis took place on a farm that is part of an innovative agro-ecological project, and the agronomist who runs the project was on hand to explain the importance of healthy food production and environmental conservation. In Azov, Russia, people heard presentations and discussions directly from artisan farmers, cheesemakers, and bakers about the problems associated with industrial food production and the need to support better alternatives. And in Manila, SFYN Philippines combined their Disco Soup with a full-day schedule of expert seminars on everything from growing your own food and solid waste management to a sustainable seafood tasting.
Other events encouraged the inclusion of people on the fringes of society, who are too often excluded from the conversation and left out of decision-making processes.
At a language school in Reykjavik, a dozen students donated pre-cooked meals to a canteen for homeless people. In Paris, France, and Lüneburg, Germany, Disco Soups were held with refugees, and in Rome the Disco Soup organized at a social hub working for better societal and cultural inclusion was attended by citizens from a total of 18 different countries. In Ayaviri, Peru, the event at a home for disadvantaged children was part of a broader initiative to tackle anemia and child malnutrition in southern Peru, and in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, the Disco Soup brought together members of local indigenous and non-indigenous communities.
All these beautiful events highlight that World Disco Soup Day is not only about fighting against food waste. It is also a celebration. A moment to enjoy the brilliant diversity of food and culture in the world. It is also a time to show that young people are willing to join together in order to help ensure that this wonderful diversity will not disappear, but will continue for future generations to enjoy.