Kimbal Musk is the brother of Elon Musk, who is known for his revolutionary approach to the automotive industry. Kimbal was an early investor in Tesla as well as a co-founder of other Musk ventures, but he has followed his own passion into the food industry. After Musk became disengaged from the tech world, he took classes at the International Culinary Center. After the terrorist attacks on New York City in September of 2001, Kimbal had an epiphany. He was delivering poached salmon to the weary firefighters and first responders and realized the healing power of food. Since then Musk has been a man on a mission. He started by moving to Boulder, Colorado and opening The Kitchen, which is one-part restaurant and one-part garden-builder.
The Kitchen’s non-profit arm helps start gardens in classrooms.The Kitchen has expanded to other cities, with Musk wanting to build more restaurants in the Midwest and South, where industrial farming methods have dominated. The Kitchen now has around 300 “learning gardens” around the nation, where at least 150,000 students learn about gardens and growing their own food.
Musk was initially frustrated with the slow-scale of restaurants. However, he eventually came up with a new concept called Next Door. The Next Door idea is to make pubs that serve fresh food throughout America, including in spaces like strip malls and suburbs where Friday’s and similar chains seem to dominate.
The goal is for kids to know the difference between factory-farms and real, sustainable food. Musk has now started Square Roots, a startup accelerator to help food entrepreneurs using the same model that Silicon Valley nurtures tech startups.
With Square Roots, Musk will inspire entrepreneurs by giving them vertical gardens made from shipping containers. The farms will be the equivalent of two acres of traditional land. The containers mean they will only occupy around 320 square feet. The climate controlled, hydroponic gardens should ideally promote an all-year growing season. They are also designed to use less 80 percent less water than a traditional, landed outdoor farm.
The purpose of these measures is to increase sustainability. The entrepreneurs, who will start in Brooklyn, will learned how to use hydroponic systems to grow food that is not genetically modified. They will have resources like Freight Farms, which makes tools that are used in the production of fresh food, and ZipGrow, which is a system to promote vertical farming. The end goal is to use the Brooklyn experiment as a takeoff point for other cities. Eventual Kimbal hopes to have anywhere from 10 to 100 container farms in every city, building community along the way.
Never satisfied with anything less than a full-scale revolution, the Musk brothers pursue maximum disruption in their chosen industries. Kimbal is aware that the relationship consumers have with food is complicated, one which is mediated by food industry lobbyists, factory farms, and politicians. Consequently, he hopes to also influence food policy in order to decrease the number of entities between the farmer and the person who eats the food. Kimbal will also draw on technology improvements to push the process further.
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Originally posted 2016-08-23 20:32:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter