Tyler Florence Signs on to S.F. Food Bank's New Hunger Challenge

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Chef Tyler Florence, soon to be surviving on food stamps.
Local Food Network personality, cookbook author, and Wayfare Tavern owner Tyler Florence has signed on to S.F. and Marin Food Banks' new Hunger Challenge, a week of living off of Food Bank groceries and a $4.50-a-day food budget. The Hunger Challenge, which is running September 9-13, is meant to simulate what it means for the more than 30,000 households that rely on Food Bank groceries to supplement their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. By signing on, TyFlo becomes the latest in a string of chefs and high-profile folks, including Mario Batali and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who have gone a week or more on food stamps.

See also: The Amazing Disappearing Supermarket: Building the 21st Century Grocery Store

"Food is the source of such great joy and creativity in the restaurant world, but there's a whole segment of the population in San Francisco and Marin that doesn't know where their next meal is coming from," says Florence, the newest member of the Food Bank's board of directors, in the press release announcing his involvement. "I wanted to challenge myself to experience that world so I can better understand what my neighbors go through every day and to spread the word about the Food Bank."

Central Kitchen chef de cuisine Ryan Pollnow and Mina Group corporate pastry chef Lincoln Carson have also signed on to the challenge.

Anyone can participate in the challenge alongside the chefs by signing up on the Food Bank website. From there, they can download a grocery list mimicking the food available at the Food Pantry every week -- those groceries are in addition to the $4.50/day budget. Participation is based on the honor system.

Along with bringing public awareness to the 57,000 people in San Francisco and Marin countries who rely on CalFresh (California's SNAP program), the Hunger Challenge has a timely hook: There's currently a proposal in Congress to cut the SNAP program by $40 billion.

We've reached out to TyFlo to see if he'll be blogging or Tweeting about his meals as the week goes on -- we'll let you know when we hear back.


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9 comments
Chad Jeremy Davis
Chad Jeremy Davis

4.50 a day! AmeriCorps NCCC Atlantic Region had me living on that for 2 years.

Anna Shoriak
Anna Shoriak

Um... I do it every week. My budget is 2.50/week.

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