A Disco Soup is a gathering of people who cook with produce that is considered waste. The produce consists of perfectly good vegetables, fruit, and bread that grocery stores, farmers markets, and home gardeners can’t sell or use because of spots, bruises, or other cosmetic reasons (crooked or misshapen), or “sell by” expiration dates. Confusing expiration dates are to blame for billions of dollars in uneaten food. An estimated $900 million dollars worth of food is thrown out every year in the US.
The fact is grocery stores throw out perfectly good produce at a rate of 40%, while consumers throw out even more at home. We as a nation produce too much, and we throw out too much. We waste too much. Disco Soup is an answer to this, and much more.
Disco Soup Sonoma on March 20, 2016 was a blast. It was a party, with music and laughter, and it was fun. I met so many wonderful people. It was great comradely and education for all of us to make a communal meal with food that otherwise would have gone to waste. We made several soups, a fruit salad, and lots of croutons and bread with olive oil.
Basically, a handful of people brought food that was in the trash or ready for the compost pile. Jennifer from Laguna Farms brought produce that didn’t get sold at the farmers market, but was already washed, and wrapped. Susan went to Oliver’s and dug in the trash outside behind the store. Wendy and myself brought extra produce from our home gardens, overplanted excessive produce we couldn’t eat. Paula brought homegrown cooked beans. One person brought day-old bread from a local bakery that was wonderful.
This Disco Soup event was organized by Slow Food Russian River and our partners Laguna Farm, CROPMOBSTER™ – San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sonoma County Grange Credit Union, with support by the Ceres Community Project, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.
Some more statistics:
- # of people who got educated about food waste, had soup and may have shaken a leg: 180+
- # of folks who came back for another bowl: at least 75!
Disco Soup is something we should all be doing. It is a way to cut down on food waste, and create healthy meals in a fun environment. And make new friends!