A big, collaborative and passionate effort went into putting on another great Disco Soup at the Skip Garden in September, this time for Urban Food Fortnight. The teaming of Feedback, Plan Zheroes, FoodCycle, This is Rubbish, Global Generation, all our wonderful volunteers and attendees proved that too many chefs don't have to spoil the soup, but can make great curry and snacks out of ingredients that would otherwise spoil!
The idea behind Disco Soup is that organisers intercept perfectly edible food that would otherwise be wasted - whether due to cosmetic standards, because a few of an item in a crate are past their best, because their best before date is up or they're nearing their use by date and won't be sold in time, they're surplus to requirement... a multitude of reasons, many of which are a bit silly and illogical. Then people come together and "chop to the beat" of the DJ's disco tunes while collectively making a completely free community meal.
Realising that 5 food waste fighting charities are better than 1, we pooled our efforts and went a few steps further.
People queued up at the bar for espresso martinis with donated Sqaure Mile coffee beans and Toastale, a beer made with surplus bread.
Amy Cooper from Secret Seed Society ran a free sauerkraut making workshop, all using gleaned cabbages.
We had what might just be the first Disco Soup pizza station: with donated flour that had gotten a bit damp at the bottom of the bag, donated dented tinned tomatoes from Mr Organic for passata, donated cheese from Capital Growth's Harvest festival the day before and some from Borough Market, donated squash from Capital Growth's allotment that became squash passata, and, of course, all surplus veg for toppings.
Delicious smoothies were also made with all the juicy, sweet, ripe (but deemed overripe) fruit.
FoodCycle put on a Ready Steady Cook-off between their different local groups. Look up your local Foodcycle if you'd like to volunteer - they're a national charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. They used intercepted veg to show just what can be done with veg forgotten at the back of the fridge in just a short space of time.
We had an upcycled jewellery making workshop with This Is Rubbish providing the know how and materials like inner tubes for feather earrings.
There was a free food market of raw ingredients that even we wouldn't get through on the day, as well as was wonky veg twister, veg face-painting and dancing a-plenty.
And that was all excess to the usual chopping and prepping to make our delicious meal: Mickey brought it all together to make a wonderful North Indian inspired bean and veg curry with rice (kilos of par-boiled rice that had been deemed unsellable, and lots of tins of beans from Mr Organic), but not before platters of onions bhajis and chilli dipping sauce had circulated in the garden for all the hungry food waste fighting champions.