From an idea to a reality, food has become an integral part of our daily lives in the U.S. Since the start of the Great Recession, millions of Americans have been struggling to make ends meet.
But what if, instead of starving themselves, they could help the food system?
That’s what the Food Hustle movement is all about.
The Food Hustler Project, created by a group of high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area, aims to bring the best of local food to hungry students and students around the country.
As the name suggests, the team is dedicated to serving the students and teachers that are struggling the most, and then creating an exciting, food-themed adventure to help the students in their communities.
The group’s motto is, “Food Hustlers Are the Solution to Hunger.”
That’s not a new slogan.
Since 2010, students at the University of California, Davis, have been creating their own food-related stories for the school’s students.
And in January, the group announced the formation of its own chapter of the California chapter of Food Not Bombs.
But for this project, the students wanted to create a brand new food-based reality show.
“The idea was to put food on the map,” said one of the team, 19-year-old Sarah Givens, an architecture student.
“What if there was a show about the people in your neighborhood that could inspire you to change how you eat?”
The Food Heroes of America program, as it is called, was inspired by the film “Food, Inc.,” which starred Julia Child, and its television show “The Food Guys.”
In the film, the characters of three characters — “the chef,” “the manager” and “the boss” — spend the show discussing how they got their jobs, how they became famous and how they were so successful.
But this season, the filmmakers chose to show the characters from a different perspective, specifically the Food Heroes’ struggles with the food they eat.
“Food Heroes of the world have been doing this for the last 25 years and have the greatest impact on our communities,” said Givins, who has a degree in anthropology.
“And to see it as a show was really exciting.”
The Food Hacks, an alternative reality show based on the Food Hero program, premiered on the first day of class.
“I’m just trying to get the show out there,” said 19-old Kadeel Brown, who studies business administration.
“This is a way for me to give back and show my students that they can make a difference and not just go out and make food.”
The first season, which was filmed in San Francisco and Los Angeles, was filmed on an iPad and streamed live online.
In the second season, students in San Diego, Santa Barbara and New York City took part in the program.
In total, the Food Hacking Project filmed over 600 episodes.
“I feel like we have a lot of hunger in the country,” said Kadeal, who is also a member of the food team.
“But I feel like the people who are really struggling the least are those who can’t get enough.
And we have to show those people what they can do to make a positive difference.”
The food team has spent the past year working on the series, which has been filmed in schools, churches and colleges, including the Uptown Food Academy in Los Angeles.
This year, they had the opportunity to film in a food truck and to meet students from across the country and the world.
The Food Heroes, who have been filming for six months, have had to learn to cook, clean, cut food, make cookies, make pies, cook pasta and bake bread.
The food-hungry students also learned about the logistics of getting their food on a plate and the logistics around getting the show made.
“It’s been a really difficult time,” said Sarah.
“We don’t really have a budget, so the food has been really hard.
It’s really expensive, but we’ve gotten it done.”
The Food Hackers, who are not affiliated with the Food League, have donated over $10,000 to local charities, including Feeding the Homeless and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“If there’s a show that’s a little bit more positive and can give a little more awareness, we want to do it,” said student Kasey Johnson, who also works in the food industry.
“If we could do it for the kids, it would be really awesome.”