He is looking to create small urban farms of the future with an outdoor growing space of 320 square feet.
“Real food is the new internet,” commented Kimbal, “means young entrepreneurs getting into food today, where they’re bringing real food that just taste much better.
“That’s food that you trust to nourish your body, trust to nourish the farmer and trust to nourish the planet is the opportunity of our generation.”
He is aiming to replace high-calorie foods with healthier ones. He said: “I graduated from cooking school just before 9/11.
“I woke up to the sounds of the planes hitting the building. I lived very close to the World Trade Centers and looked out the window, saw the towers fall, escaped that area was really intense and one of the hardest things I’d ever been through.
“But in that process I got invited to volunteer to cook for the firefighters,” Musk said.
It taught him the power of community, how food brings communities together and how real food can revitalize people.
With his business partner, Hugo Matheson, Musk opened his first restaurant, The Kitchen, in 2004. It expanded to the Kitchen Restaurant Group, serving up high-end dining at Hedge Row and affordable farm-to-table dishes at Next Door.
“Local to us primarily means knowing your farmer and trusting where your food comes from. And for us that Next Door that means a farmer gets to know us directly. So the drive here we get to know them we visit their farm,” he said.
Musk is trying to make urban farms a reality with his Brooklyn startup Square Roots, which turns shipping containers into vertical urban farms that fit two acres.
In 2011, Musk co-founded his non-profit Big Green, bringing edible and educational nourishment to schools that need it most.
“The idea behind the learning gardens is to connect kids to real food. … They’ll take that back to their home. They may get their parents to buy more nutritious food at the grocery stores but they’ll make better decisions for the rest of their lives around real food.” Musk said.
Big Green is currently serving 460,000 students in seven states and the hope is to reach 1 million children by the year 2020.