Feeding The 5000 Launches the First Disco Soup in the United States on September 20, 2013

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One day New York event and ‘Chopping Disco’ offers free meal for hundreds. Food surplus donated to the Food Bank for New York City and redistributed as part of campaign to fight food waste.

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To sign the Feeding the 5000 pledge visit www.feeding5k.org.

"In the United States 40% of food goes uneaten, equivalent to approximately 100 billion pounds of food a year, 3,000 pounds per second. Everyone has the power to help solve the global food waste scandal." - Tristram Stuart

Feeding the 5000 launches the first Disco Soup in the United States on Friday, September 20, 2013 at Pier 57 (Super Pier, 15th Street and West Side Highway), from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. More than 1200 kilograms (over 1,000 pounds) of food that would have otherwise been wasted will be rescued, prepared and shared among hundreds of participants, with surplus food donated to the Food Bank for New York City and redistributed to a network of charities.

Organized by Feeding the 5000, Disco Soup is an international grassroots movement that catalyzes action on food waste and works to “fill bellies not bins”. Over 200 volunteers and members of the public will come together to wash, peel, chop and cook fresh but unwanted fruit and vegetables that would have been discarded: blemished tomatoes, supersized watermelons, excess squash, peppers, onions, cucumbers, apples and other top quality produce. The meal will be prepared to music provided by DJs, encouraging a dance celebration while the community works to create the “Disco Soup” and “Disco Salad”. The food sourced comes from local farmers– enough food to feed more than 5000 people.

The goal of the Disco Soup event is to illustrate the unimaginable quantity of food that goes to waste in the world and empower the public to recognize positive solutions to the global issue. The anti-food waste phenomenon started in Germany, followed by a mass scale Disco Soup for thousands staged in Paris in October 2012. Within a few months, Disco Soup spread to more than 14 cities in France and events have since been held internationally in Holland, Belgium, Canada, Colombia and South Korea, serving thousands of meals to the sound of disco music.

In preparation for feeding the public, Society of St. Andrew, New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger and the Feeding the 5000 team will be gleaning at farms in New York and New Jersey, salvaging fruit and vegetables left on the field due to failing retailer’s strict cosmetic standards or overproduction. The effort will be directed by Feeding the 5000 founder, Tristram Stuart, winner of the international environmental award, The Sophie Prize 2011, for his fight against food waste. Culinary partner Paul Gerard, Chef and Owner of Exchange Alley in New York, will also participate in the gleaning efforts and manage food service and menu development.

"Feeding the 5000 is proud to help raise awareness about the global issue of food waste at Disco Soup in New York, which is the first event of this magnitude to take place in the United States," said Tristram Stuart. "Working with governments, businesses and civil society at the international level, Feeding the 5000 aims to inspire the global community to enact positive solutions to the issue of food waste. In the United States 40% of food goes uneaten, equivalent to approximately 100 billion pounds of food a year, 3000 pounds per second. Disco Soup is a culinary and community experience that involves gathering, sourcing, cooking and celebrating food. Everyone has the power – and the responsibility – to help solve the global food waste scandal and join the food waste movement."

Participants will be invited to sign the Feeding the 5000 pledge to reduce food waste in their own homes and businesses – saving money, helping communities and protecting the environment.

Feeding the 5000 works globally in partnership with the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP), Think.Eat.Save Reduce your Foodprint campaign, with previous events held in Geneva and Nairobi. In addition to the fruit and vegetables used at the Disco Soup event, Feeding the 5000 will be holding a groceries giveaway at UNEP's Champions of the Earth Awards Ceremony and Global Compact events on September 18 and September 19. Chef Paul Gerard will also be preparing canapes made from pig head terrine and surplus pita bread for attendees of the Food Waste Free NYC debate organized by Food Tank

"Feeding the 5000’s Disco Soup event is a fun way of dealing with a serious food waste problem," said Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the UNEP. "The event comes hot on the heels of a major new UN report that astonishingly shows that at least one third of all the food produced on this planet is lost or wasted and farmland equal to the surface area of China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia is being used for food that never arrives on anyone's plate. Think of all the wonderful forests and the habitats of rare and endangered species that are being cleared just for food wastage. If food wastage was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States and China. The good news – we can work together to reduce our Foodprint!"

"I am delighted to be involved with Feeding the 5000 and be part of the team that is bringing the first Disco Soup to New York City," said Chef Paul Gerard. "I have long been an admirer of the important work that Tristram Stuart does and have enjoyed collaborating with him this week on a number of interesting projects, all aimed at raising food waste awareness. I am looking forward to seeing New York come out to celebrate and support Disco Soup on September 20".

Other event partners include Slow Food NYC, Natural Gourmet Institute, Sustainable America and Food Recovery Network.

To sign the Feeding the 5000 pledge and learn more about how to participate, visit http://www.feeding5k.org and follow on Twitter @Feeding5k, #DiscoSoupNYC. To sign-up to volunteer at Disco Soup, click here.

About Feeding the 5000
Feeding the 5000 is a campaign that aims to empower and inspire the global community to enact positive solutions to the global issue of food waste. We work with governments, businesses and civil society at the international level to catalyse change in social attitudes and innovative solutions necessary to tackle food waste at the global scale.

Feeding the 5000 is also the name of the campaign’s flagship event where 5000 members of the public are given a delicious free lunch using only ingredients that otherwise would have been wasted. Held twice in London’s Trafalgar Square (2009 and 2011), replica events have since been held internationally - including in Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin – and are being rolled out worldwide. Feeding the 5000 are working globally in partnership with the European Commission funded EU FUSIONS project and UNEP’s Think.Eat.Save Reduce your Foodprint campaign. Feeding the Feeding the 5000 are also behind Gleaning Network UK and The Pig Idea, promoting two key solutions to food waste: salvaging "ugly" fruit and vegetables to feed people in need and feeding food waste not fit for human consumption to pigs as a way to turn food waste back into food.

Feeding the 5000 was founded by Tristram Stuart, winner of the international environmental award, The Sophie Prize 2011, for his fight against food waste. A renowned food waste expert, consultant and campaigner, Tristram is working in several countries to help improve the environmental and social impact of food production. His international prize‐winning book, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009), revealed that Western countries waste up to half of their food. Acclaimed by both popular press and academic journals, the book Waste has proved an authoritative reference work for more recent research and for ongoing independent work with governments, private enterprises and public organizations. For more information, visit http://www.feeding5k.org.

About Disco Soup
Disco Soup is an international grassroots movement to raise awareness of food waste. Inspired by the "Schnippel Disko" series of events in Germany, Disco Soup addresses issues of food waste through festive community gatherings where people peel, cut and prepare unwanted fruit and vegetables to the sound of dance music. The produce is turned into delicious meals, which are shared and redistributed for free. Since the beginning of 2012, the Disco Soup anti-food waste phenomenon has spread in France, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Colombia and South Korea, serving thousands of meals to the sound of dance music, sparking creativity, boldness and solidarity amongst people of all origins, ages and social backgrounds. For more information, visit http://www.Discosoupe.org.

Event Partners

Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 30 years as the city's major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. As one of the country's largest food banks, our mission is to end hunger in New York City by organizing food, information and support for community survival and dignity. As the city's hub for integrated food poverty assistance, the Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. There are 2.6 million New Yorkers who experience difficulty affording food — an astounding number and one that continues to increase as the donated food supply drops to an all-time low and food costs skyrocket. To address this issue, the Food Bank procures and distributes food to a network of more than 1,000 community-based member programs citywide, helping to provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. Website: http://www.foodbanknyc.org.

Society of St. Andrew
The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) is a national nonprofit hunger-relief ministry that rescues 30-35 million pounds of fresh, nutritious, excess produce each year that would otherwise go to waste for various marketing reasons. This food is then distributed to critical feeding agencies across the country at no cost to the agencies or the hungry people they serve. SoSA provides this food for a little over two cents a serving. More than 95% of all funds raised by the Society of St. Andrew are spent on the direct delivery of food and services to the hungry. More than 700 million pounds of food have been saved and distributed since SoSA began in 1979. Website: http://www.endhunger.org/.

New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger
New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger (FAH) is dedicated to collecting fresh fruits and vegetables from farms, groceries and produce suppliers and delivering to those in need through community organizations. Farmers Against Hunger is bridging the gap between food waste and food insecurity, by recovering over a million pounds of fresh produce annually and utilizing the help of over 1200 volunteers to glean, or harvest the excess, at local farms. Over 7,000 clients weekly enjoy the taste of fresh apples, squash and a variety of other crops similar to the donations today. http://www.njagsociety.org/farmers-against-hunger.html.

Slow Food NYC
Slow Food NYC is the New York City chapter of Slow Food, a non-profit, member-supported organization founded in 1989 to counteract the culture of fast food. Slow Food stands against the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Slow Food NYC works to create a food system based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability, and social justice—in essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair. We seek to move our culture away from the destructive effects of an industrial food system and towards the cultural, social and economic benefits of a sustainable food system, regional food traditions, and the pleasures of the table. Website: http://www.slowfoodnyc.org/.

Natural Gourmet Institute
Founded in 1977 by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., the Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI) is the leader in teaching health-supportive cooking as well as elucidating the relationship between food and health. NGI operates three programs: The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary Arts Chef’s Training Program, a comprehensive, mostly-vegetarian program that trains students for careers as culinary professionals who can prepare food that is not only beautiful and delicious, but health-supportive, as well; The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health, which offers excellent learning opportunities to the general public through a combination of cooking classes and lectures; and The Natural Gourmet Institute’s Friday Night Dinner Program, where NGI’s Chef’s Training Program students and instructors pour their expertise and enthusiasm into a three-course vegetarian dinner that is both innovative and beautifully presented. Website: http://www.naturalgourmetinstitute.com.

Sustainable America
Sustainable America is an environmental organization focused on the nexus of food and fuel and works to find solutions that will make the nation more efficient and resilient. Our goal is to reduce oil consumption by 50% over the next two decades and to increase food availability by 50% over the same period. Food availability includes more production from urban farms and alternative systems like hydroponics. It also includes activities that reduce waste. We are excited to partner with Feeding the Feeding the 5000 as part of that mission. We are working to help ensure all materials are compostable, and that any excess food waste from the event is turned to compost and from there used to help the soil and grow more food. Website: http://www.sustainableamerica.org/.

Shocking Facts on Food Waste


  • The world’s hungry – nearly one billion people - could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in homes, shops and restaurants in the US, UK and Europe.
  • More than a third of the world’s entire food production is currently wasted, contributing to rising food prices, resource over-use and global warming.
  • Hundreds of thousands of tons of unwanted food that could legally be fed to livestock are currently wasted. Diverting food that is unfit for human consumption and using it as livestock feed would reduce dependence on soya imports South America where its cultivation contributes to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Production of soya has doubled since 1990, with 80% of global soya production now being used to feed livestock.


  • 40% of food in the United States today goes uneaten- this is the equivalent to approximately 100 billion pounds of food a year, 3000 pounds per second. (source: NRDC, EPA)
  • This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for a large portion of U.S. methane emissions. (source: NRDC)
  • Most food waste is currently being sent to landfill, contributing to greenhouse gases and meaning that the food is not being used in other ways.
  • US per capita food waste has progressively increased by about 50% since 1974 reaching more than 1400 kcal per person per day or 150 trillion kcal per year. Food waste now accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and about 300 million barrels of oil per year. (source Hall et al)
  • Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. (source NRDC)
  • At the same time, less than 3% of food waste is recovered. (source EPA)
  • 48.8 million Americans live in food insecure households, including 16.2 million children. 14.5% of households (17.2 million) are food insecure and 5.4% of households are experiencing very low food security. (Source: Feeding America)

New York City

  • New York City buries 1.2 million tons of food waste in landfills every year.
  • Food waste comprises one-third of New York City’s more than 20,000 tons of daily refuse. Most food waste is currently being sent to landfill, contributing to greenhouse gases and meaning that the food is not being used in other ways.


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