Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson, known as pioneers within the video blogging community, launched Ryan is Hungry in May 2006 to showcase the stories of individuals and organizations that are making a concerted effort to “go green!” The couple are popular for their web-based projects and constant campaign to connect people to the world of video blogging. They are involved with several other vlogging endeavours including NODE101, an international network of videoblog classrooms, which they co-founded. Additionally, Hodson is one of the creators of FreeVlog.org, an online tutorial site designed to encourage the public to jump on the webcast bangwagon. She has also co-authored “Secrets of Videoblogging.” Dedman, a former journalist at CNN and educator at MNN, has co-authored the book ” Videoblogging” and actively takes part in the Yahoo! Videobloggers Group, which he moderates. Both were broadcast professionals before making the switch to web-based television programming in 2004. Ryan is Hungry combines their two passions – videoblogging and the environment. The site found an immediate following and Dedman and Hodson licensed the content to PodTech Network in December 2006 in an effort to expand online distribution.
Rather than take cues from the mainstream news industry – which tends to focus on stories that involve Brad Pitt’s interest in green starchitecture, or Orlando Bloom’s environmentally friendly London home – Ryan is Hungry focuses on individuals making simple changes with earth consciousness in mind. Like the better parts of Amanada Across America, videos generally consist of 3 to 10 minute profiles of everyday environmentalists and entrepreneurs who have made it their mandate to be kinder to the earth. Conservation initiatives are explored all across the country, but because the creators are based in San Francisco the large majority of interviews take place in and around the Bay Area. Hang-out in urban permaculturist, Kevin Bayuk’s San Francisco backyard where he grows his own food, raises ducks, and captures rainwater. Or grab some green tips from James Burgett, founder of Alameda County Computer Resource Center, a company that turns junk computers and equipment into new usable resources. And if you’ve ever wondered why sunny Las Vegas is not powered by solar energy, Bob Boehm from The University of Nevada’s Center for Energy Research will explain it to you.
The site highlights the breadth and diversity of environmental movements and initiatives that alone can blow your mind. But add in the generally great video quality and the two affable and informed hosts, and Ryan is Hungry can’t help but make you want to plant something.
It’s hard to pick just one, but the May 29, 2007 episode featuring Keith Thompson, aka “Skeeter,” who lives in the New Mexico wilderness on a completely self-sustained plot of land is a fascinating look into an unorthodox, Thoreauian lifestyle and provides some insight into just why a man would decide to skip-out on civilization as we know it.