Kimbal Musk, Co-Founder of The Kitchen, will be speaking at the inaugural New York City Food Tank Summit, “Focusing on Food Loss and Food Waste,” which will be held in partnership with Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) and with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and The Fink Family Foundation on September 13, 2017.
Kimbal received the 2017 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Schwab Foundation, a sister organization to the World Economic Forum, for his impactful, scalable work to bring Real Food to Everyone.
The Kitchen is a growing family of businesses that pursue an America where everyone has access to real food. His family of restaurant concepts, including Next Door and Hedge Row, offer food at a wide range of price points and source food from American farmers, stimulating the local farm economy. His nonprofit organization builds permanent, outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in hundreds of underserved schools around the U.S., reaching more than 200,000 students every day. His urban, indoor vertical farming accelerator, Square Roots, seeks to empower thousands of young entrepreneurs to become real food farmers.
Food Tank spoke with Kimbal about his passion for food and how that has inspired his mission to pursue an America where everyone has access to real food.
Food Tank (FT): What originally inspired you to get involved in your work?
Kimbal Musk (KM): I’ve always loved food and loved connecting with my family by cooking for them. I still do today, for my fiancé and kids. Food is my passion. My personal mission is to pursue an America where everyone has access to real food. I’ve co-founded three real food companies to make this mission a reality.
FT: What makes you continue to want to be involved in this kind of work?
KM: The amazing people around the country who are dedicated to real food and making change in their communities.
FT: Who inspired you as a kid?
KM: My mother, who worked tirelessly as an entrepreneur (still does) and always made sure she was there for the family.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
KM: The biggest opportunity is moving away from industrial food to real food. I define real food as food we trust to nourish our bodies, our farmers, and our planet. It has been amazing to watch the consumer demand for real food grow over the past decade.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero who inspired you?
KM: I have many food heroes. American farmers who are dedicated to growing colorful, delicious, real food. The teachers at each of our Learning Garden schools who work with kids every day to teach science and math through the growth of real food. All of the real food entrepreneurs that are part of our Square Roots program. Those are my everyday, real food heroes.
FT: What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?
KM: I’d like to see the majority of American farmland being used to grow real food rather than commodity crops like corn for ethanol and high-fructose corn syrup. It’s a tragedy to the consumer, these farmers are the most unhappy, and it’s a disaster to the planet.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
KM: Cook wonderfully delicious real food at home with their families.
The NYC Food Tank Summit is now sold out. Register HERE to watch the livestream on Facebook. A few tickets remain for the Summit Dinner at Blue Hill Restaurant with a special menu from Chef Dan Barber. Apply to attend HERE. If you live in New York City, join us on September 14 for our FREE outdoor dance workout led by Broadway performers called Garjana featuring many great speakers raising awareness about food waste issues. Register HERE.