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This Is What a German Vegetable Disco Looks Like

How do you serve thousands of people who have gathered together to demonstrate against industrial agriculture? The German organization Wir haben es satt (“We’ve had it”) came up with an unconventional solution: making a gigantic stew out of a ton of...
January 26, 2015, 6:00pm
Photos by Maria Dorn.

How do you serve thousands of people who have gathered together to demonstrate against industrial agriculture? The German organization Wir haben es satt ("We've had it") came up with an unconventional solution: making a gigantic stew out of a ton of vegetables that otherwise would have been thrown in the garbage.

Near the big red brick buildings that would soon house the Berlin Fashion Week shows, people gathered in front of two circus tents to make burgers on a portable grill. It was the night before the Wir haben es satt demonstration, where 50,000 were scheduled to unite with one common goal: improving the quality of food.

At the entrance of one tent, people were asked to wash their hands, narrowly avoiding bumping into other volunteers who carried vegetables that were supplied by local farmers and labeled as unmarketable.

Loud soul and funk music boomed out of the tent, inside of which hundreds of volunteers—mostly young and hip, along with a few older people—were seated in row after row of benches, all cutting vegetables. Others danced in the middle.

Guys with dreadlocks, flared pants, and wide-brimmed hats continuously filled 400-liter pots with the vegetables. Sitting beside a group of eagerly slicing-and-dicing vegans, three bearded guys discussed butchering and sausages. One of them gallantly waved a salami as if it were a flag.

Meanwhile, various people took the stage to describe what they thought is wrong with today's agriculture system. Alongside them stood Wam Kat—a punk musician with 40 years of demonstrating and soup kitchen experience—who stirred beet soup in a gigantic pot.

The idea of the Schnippeldisko (literally the "Snipping Disco") arose four years ago in the Slow Food Youth Network, part of the Slow Food movement, as a way to serve thousands of people a warm meal while making a statement against wastefulness—and having lots of fun. It's already been adopted in São Paulo, New York, South Korea, India, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and France—a global snipping movement, so to speak.

The topic of the debate affects vegans and omnivores alike: We want food that tastes great and was properly grown.

On the day of the protest, long lines formed at food distribution spots in front of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. After the freezing, four-hour demonstration, the disco stew sold like hotcakes, raising the spirits of the demonstrators.

Instead of causing angst and a gloomy mood, the debate around sustainable farming and against industrial agriculture, trade without restrains, and food waste is brightened with cheer and an extra dose of vitality.

This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Germany.