On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” restaurateur, philanthropist, and social entrepreneur Kimbal Musk talks about getting more young people involved in food and farming for the health of their communities. “We’re training them to be in food—and to love it,” says Musk.
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Musk first became involved in food cooking for the firefighters working in New York after the September 11 attacks. “These firefighters would come in from these giant piles of melted metal, and we would feed them,” says Musk. “We were serving them real food, and they would come to life and connect with each other.” Musk reflected that from this experience, he realized that food made it possible for the firefighters to take a needed break from saving Americans’ lives. “I thought if I can do that with food, I would have to try and create a restaurant,” says Musk.
After relocating to Colorado, Musk co-founded The Kitchen, a restaurant that gathered tasty food from local farmers. “We found that tastier food was from our local farmers; it wasn’t that complicated,” says Musk. “We wanted to create this sense of community, connecting with one another and taking a break from the day.” After establishing this community and trust with the farmers, Musk opened restaurants like Hedge Row and Next Door.
Noticing declining numbers of farmers, Musk started Square Roots, an urban farming company that grows nutritious food year-round in Brooklyn, NY. Square Roots develops technology to make urban farming easier, while using the fewest resources possible—and it trains young indoor farmers to grow nutritious crops, conduct agricultural business, and get involved in their communities. “The program is all about young farmers: I wanted to solve this problem of involving more young farmers into the world, soil or indoor, it didn’t matter to me. I just wanted more farmers,” says Musk.