Miramar Disco Soup
Miramar remains a leader in sustainability and believes in its power to unite a community. The Disco Soup events allow Miramar to educate, train and entertain our community right in our community garden. I am pleased to know for generations to come that Disco Soup will leave a legacy in our city.Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam
The Miramar Disco Soup is a tasty initiative where participants “chop to the beat” to promote awareness about reducing food waste. It is a celebration where strangers came together to slice, dice, and boogie, transforming blemished veggies into a delicious meal. The initiative empowers participants to save money, energy, and the planet while having a lot of fun.
The need for the Disco Soup came from the emendable fact that food waste accounts for 15% of total municipal solid waste in the United States. Every year, an estimated 66 tons of food in the U.S. worth about $160 billion is wasted by retailers and consumers.
Held at the Miramar Intergenerational Fruit & Vegetable Garden, the 2016 Disco Soup drew students, seniors, veterans, and families who celebrated the delicious flavors of locally grown food. These educational events, which foster civic action and promote healthy living, also help create a sense of community. Just like participatory art installations, Disco Soup audiences become part of a collaborative culinary performance. There was an all-around good vibe at the Disco Soup, where community engagement was palpable!
The Disco Soup initiative promotes agricultural practices to establish a local food system while encouraging urban agriculture and reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to the transport of farm produce. It also supports local sustainable agriculture and economy by connecting farmers with local users such as chefs, schools and consumers.
The initiative was fairly quick to coordinate; it only took a few months to plan because the city already had an established network of stakeholders and a venue, the Miramar Intergenerational Fruit & Vegetable Garden at Fairway Park, which worked well for this type of program. With the assistance of city staff, the garden’s volunteers and other local businesses organized the Disco Soup.
The Disco Soup was held at the Miramar Intergenerational Fruit & Vegetable Community Garden, as part of the programming funded by the GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. The Garden is funded exclusively by donations.
The Disco Soup itself is a low-cost, easy-to-replicate, and very adaptable initiative. The event began with a budget of only $500 and expenditures went to the chef, who choreographed and assisted in the food preparation/tastings for 100 participants; a live DJ to bring the music to the disco; and other miscellaneous supplies. In-kind donations included burritos from Chipotle and Made in Miramar products from the community garden, which included kale lemonade, lemon grass tea, Sorrel tea, moringa tea, and herb sachets. A local artist also offered vegetable caricatures in exchange for a donation to the garden. Proceeds from the sale of some of the garden’s bounty tallied a grand total of $164, making the total cost of putting on the Disco Soup only $336.
With a slogan of “What do Lexicons, Carrots, and Travolta have in common?”, the Miramar Disco Soup offered a place for participants to dance to the beat provided by a live DJ while chopping and preparing delicious recipes directed by Chef Trina Spillman from The Need to Feed Foundation. Participants were treated to a multi-cultural culinary experience offering delicious beverages such as sorrel drink, ginger beer, lemongrass tea, kale lemonade, and moringa tea. A Lexicon of Sustainability Pop-Up Exhibit showcased key components of a vibrant local food system. Local farmers offered freshly harvested vegetables and master gardeners hosted tours of the garden.