In light of the COVID19 pandemic, the Slow Food Youth Network has had to make a tough decision to cancel all public events planned for World Disco Soup Day 2020. However, that doesn’t mean that the world’s funniest fight against food waste is not taking place!
World Disco Soup Day (WDSD) 2020 is still happening – just in a different format. This year, instead of hosting dozens of public events around the world, SFYN’s passionate WDSD hosts will now be chopping, cooking, and dancing in their own homes while streaming it live online. That’s right, this year World Disco Soup Day is going digital!
This change in format provides a new way to connect with others around the world, at a time when our social interactions are being limited, and our patience tested. It’s a prime opportunity to remind everybody that we are all in this together, that although we are diverse and unique, we share common goals and challenges that we can only overcome together.
In many ways, nothing has changed – World Disco Soup Day is still a day to celebrate positive actions we can take to combat big issues like food waste, starting with choices we make in our own homes and kitchens. By moving the focus from a group to an individual level, the new format of WDSD may actually help to highlight how many factors that contribute to the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that gets thrown away annually begin at home: with our purchasing, cooking, and eating habits, plus those of people immediately around us, outside of our SFYN bubble, but in our own circle of influence such as family members, close friends, and neighbors.
Our best hope for slowing and overcoming the COVID19 crisis, and coming out of it as best as we possibly can, is to join together as a community; not only on the local level but as a global community. The digital World Disco Soup Day provides an opportunity to do that.
The SFYN is lucky to have an amazing international network of passionate young people who are dedicated to making the world a better place through food, celebrating the power of good food and improving the food system for the good of human, environmental, and social health and well-being. They are putting that global community to work on this digital World Disco Soup Day. No matter where you are in the world, whether you are stuck at home or not, everybody can take part in the events, as it will all be live-streamed through social media like Facebook, Instagram & YouTube throughout April 25th, covering all time zones and geographical regions.
In some ways, the COVID19 crisis may actually present an opportunity: this is a time for people to slow down and think about what is really important. It is a time when we have been forced to realize that we are vulnerable, and this vulnerability will only become more relevant down the line as the consequences of climate change and ecological breakdown become more intense. So, now may be as good a time as ever to make people listen. Really listen.
Furthermore, the COVID19 crisis – and its impact on elderly populations – is particularly relevant to the thematic focus of the Slow Food Youth Network this year, which is Re-Generation.
Months ago, the WDSD Taskforce decided that they wanted to use the opportunity and publicity of WDSD to encourage the youth to connect more closely with older generations, allowing a sharing of knowledge in both directions. With this in mind, they started their #RecipeForChange campaign, where young people would gather recipes from elderly people in their community that actively help to reduce or avoid food waste.
Many older recipes and techniques were more about using up every bit of food you could find, making it last longer and go further than they are today. It was hoped that this project would give elderly people a sense of self-worth, making them feel valued and listened to, and let them know that they are playing a positive role in helping to bring about a better (food) future for their descendants. From the young people’s perspective, it was about capturing precious knowledge and stories before they disappear forever. Overall, it was about bringing these generations closer together and having fun. And that has not changed.
Although they are no longer encouraging young people to visit elderly relatives, neighbors, or local retirement homes given the adverse health risks, the SFYN sees it as crucial that the campaign keeps going. Whether calling on the phone, writing letters, communicating through healthcare workers and caregivers, or yelling and singing at each other from different buildings, SFYN members are still finding creative ways to connect with their elderly relatives and neighbors throughout the COVID19 crisis.
Instead of sparking fear and division, let’s make the shared challenge of COVID19 a chance for us to show the power of helping each other, and a step in the right direction for building a better food future. Isolation doesn’t mean loneliness. Separation does not mean sadness. In the internet age, we have a chance to remind ourselves that we are part of a global community, one in which we should care for one another, share our creativity, and celebrate our diversity, in order to build ourselves a better future. So let’s do it!
You can join in on the WDSD events on your own and the SFYN social media channels (@worlddiscosoupday and @slowfoodyouthnetwork) on April 25th, by watching or streaming your own disco soup. Find the details on the digital WDSD toolkit.