Urban Farming

Elon Musk Revolutionized Cars. His Brother Wants To Do The Same For Food.

NEW YORK Last month, Elon Musk laid out his “master plan” to transform Tesla into a clean vitality monster. In a 1,483 -word blog post, he outlined plans to meld his automobile corporation with SolarCity, the country’s largest solar installer, to create a one-stop shop for electric cars, batteries and solar-panel roofing.

He’s not the only Musk with a grand eyesight. For the last 14 years, Kimbal Musk, Elon’s younger brother, has been quietly waging his own battle against industrialized meat. While Elon constructed a tech empire in California, the younger Musk moved to Colorado and founded The Kitchen, an ambitious household of restaurants committed to bringing sustainably developed, locally sourced, healthfully prepared meat to the American heartland. His empire of eateries whose menu includes homemade kale microchips, quinoa growing on Colorado and lamb sourced from Boulder’s Crego Livestock farm stretchings from Boulder and Denver in Colorado, to Chicago. By the end of August, it will include a brand-new spot in Memphis, Tennessee.

The younger Musk sits on the board of trustees of the Chipotle, whose fresh ingredients have forced McDonald’s to rethink the grub it sells. With his own restaurants he’ll have 11 by the end of the year he aims to do the same to the Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s of the world proving a immense empire of farm-to-table restaurants in the various regions of the areas of the country sometimes teased as “flyover states.”

In his next move, he plans to take on agriculture, too.

On Tuesday, Musk announced the launch of Square Roots, a new company that will invest in startups developing fruits and vegetables in cities. The so-called accelerator aims to provide mentorship and resources to bootstrapped urban farmers, who will operate out of Square Roots’ specially designed shipping containers equipped with hydroponic growing towers. The firm, formed under The Kitchen LLC umbrella, is slated to open its first spot in Brooklyn sometime this autumn.

“The Kitchen’s mission is to strengthen communities by bringing neighbourhood, real meat to everyone, ” Musk, 43, wrote in a Medium post published Tuesday. “Our goal[ with Square Roots] is to ensure that a whole new generation of real meat entrepreneurs, ready to build thrive, responsible business. The opportunities in front of them will be endless.”

The Kitchen
Leafy dark-greens develop in one of freight charges receptacles Square Roots plans to use at its “campuses.”

Urban farming seems ready to take off. Roughly 800 million people worldwide grow vegetables, fruit or animals in cities and develop about 15 percent of the world’s meat, according to a recent United Nations report. But people are increasingly concentrating in urban areas; an anticipated 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. And all those people need to eat.

In developing countries, urban farmers develop meat for subsistence. In the U.S ., the urban agriculture scenery searches more like a movement than an industry. Metropolitans like Chicago, Detroit and Washington , D.C ., have started programs encourage members of the public to grow develop on unoccupied heaps and rooftops. Michelle Obama, who stirred healthy eating and practice one of the foundations of her legacy as First lady, has touted community farming as a do-it-yourself answer in blighted urban communities where fresh develop is hard to find.

Kimbal Musk visualizes a system of his corporations in major cities across the U.S ., particularly in the South and Midwest, where industrial agriculture and fast-food chains have the strongest grip on mainstream diets.

The Kitchen, for its part, has been dipping its toes in these waters for some time now. The company’s nonprofit limb, The Kitchen Community, operates about 300 “learning gardens” in more than 50 our cities and cities, where an estimated 150,000 schoolchildren tend harvests and, ideally, forge deeper connections with their meat. Even skeptics who debate urban farms’ environmental benefits and potential to produce enough calories to feed whole cities agree that they steep people with a greater appreciation for food.

“We want our communities to know what real meat is. We want kids in communities to know real meat, and we want them to have a alternative between real meat and industrial meat, ” Kimbal Musk told The Huffington Post in an interview last-place month, on the day after two brothers released Tesla’s updated “master plan.” “Right now, for many of them, it’s industrial meat, fast food or nothing. We want to bringing education back so kids know they have options.”

Around the world, a growing number of tech-minded startups are tinkering with agriculture. A supermarket in Berlin installed a small indoor farm earlier this year, developing fresh dark-greens in the middle of the store. In Japan where the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster piqued paranoia about irradiated develop the world’s largest operating indoor farm yields 10, 000 heads of lettuce per day in an deserted Sony factory. And in the U.S ., there are corporations like Aerofarms, which is developing kale, arugula and other leafy dark-greens out of an old paintball arena in a run-down vicinity of Newark, New Jersey.

The Kitchen
A beet burger served at one of The Kitchen’s Next Door locatings.

Square Roots markings Musk’s entrance into this emerging industry. Conceived of as a startup accelerator Silicon Valley-ese for a firm that renders space and resources to entrepreneurs the company injects The Kitchen’s restaurant line with a dosage of the tech-industry mindset the Musks are known for.( Kimbal Musk serves on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX Elon is CEO of both and is his brother’s trustee for the two companies .)

Both Musks, who are originally from South africans, have a storied history in tech. They cofounded Zip2, a startup that helped newspapers build online metropoli guidebooks, in 1995. They sold the corporation is Compaq for $300 million in 1999. Elon Musk used that money to found the online payments startup PayPal and invest in Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX.

The younger Musk used his payout to gratify his passion for cook. He moved to New York and began taking world-class at International Culinary Center, where he examined French cook. His has said his logic on meat initiated to take shape after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, where reference is volunteered to feed the firefighters pulling torsoes from the gnarled dust of the World Trade Center. Musk said he had an epiphany while driving an ATV loaded with a cool of poached salmon to the gymnasium of local schools near ground zero.

“You watch these giant pilings of still-molten metal in front of you and you watch these firefighters coming out of the most traumatic environment you can possibly imagine to sit down in these gymnasiums and feed which is something we cooked for them, ” Musk told HuffPost last-place month. “That sense of community that I felt was just profound to me. It was an absolute epiphany, but it was actually like a blow to the psyche. It was so intense. I left that experience mentioning,’ I merely have to open a restaurant.’”

He expended the next year roadtripping in the various regions of the U.S. with his( now former) wife, and eventually set up within Boulder. There, apparently by fate, he satisfied Hugo Matheson, an English cook. As Steven Levy wrote in a profoundly reported 2015 profile of Musk in Backchannel:

A week after arriving, Musk’s dog stole off the leash and snuggled a mortal enjoying coffee at a neighbourhood store. This was Hugo Matheson, himself a recent arrival from England, who was about to take a task as executive cook in a neighbourhood restaurant. Matheson invited Musk and his wife to a dinner, one that Musk would never forget. The menu was simple-minded and honest: grilled fish with eggplant, the scalp charred to a crisp but the inside moist and buttery. The dinner was topped off by a straightforward panna cotta.

“It was completely different than what I learned in New York, where you’d spend six hours devising and cooking something, ” supposes Musk. “Hugo probably started thirty minutes before we feed. It was a more casual, simple-minded direction of cook, with incredible-quality ingredients and a very simple but intense technique for cooking.” Musk asked Matheson for a task in his restaurant, and for the next year “hes working” there as a line cook–ten dollars an hour–absorbing such an attitude and technique.

In March 2004, Matheson and the Musks [ Kimbal and his wife] opened their own restaurant in that mode. The epithet showed the current lack of pretention: The Kitchen.

The pair opened another restaurant, The Kitchen Upstairs, which applied the same culinary logic to a cocktail lounge concept. But a year later, Musk grew restless. Restaurants don’t quite scale the direction application corporations do, and it stirred him experience listless and frustrated. He left Matheson to the move the store and took a task as chief executive of a social networking startup, OneRiot.

It was familiar floor for him, and he toiled away there for five years as they try to carve out a niche in the social mapping space. He lost interest, but bided on out of loyalty to the company’s investors. He missed the meat incident.

“If you’ve ever done something you desire and start do something you like, ” Musk mused, “it’s like chewing on sawdust.”

Fred Prouser/ Reuters
Elon Musk( L) and two brothers Kimbal Musk( R ), co-founder of The Kitchen Community, appear on a panel with interviewer Jeff Skoll, chairman of Participant Media and the Skoll Foundation.

A near-death experience shook him from his funk. On Valentine’s Day 2010, he interrupted his neck tubing down a ski slope on a family vacation in Jackson Hole. He was paralyzed for three days, and braved a risky surgery to install a section of metal spine in his neck. He expended two months healing. He enlisted his friend Tobias Peggs who is now the co-founder and chief executive of Square Roots to take over OneRiot so he had been able to return to The Kitchen.

Musk came back with a clearer, more focused mission for his corporation: to build communities through meat. They launched a brand-new concept, Next Door, to bring The Kitchen’s fresh meat to the masses with pub-like restaurants that serve burgers and other classic American menu. That has now grown to five locatings in Colorado. Another Next Door is scheduled to open in Memphis next January. Musk wants to keep expanding the chain throughout the country, targeting the shopping mall where casual-dining eateries like TGI Friday’s and Chili’s reign supreme.

“People still have to sit down at TGI Friday’s because that’s all they’ve get, ” Musk said. “We’re hoping to come in and provide a solution to landowners that’ll complete the picture, where you’ll have a Next Door, a Chipotle and a Whole Foods privilege next to each other. Or a Next Door, a Chipotle and a Walmart that has a ton of fresh meat in it.”

In many modes, he ascertains Next Door as his version of Tesla’s Model 3, the auto company’s $35,000 electric car that stirred history when it notched nearly half a million pre-orders earlier this year. When Elon Musk first outlined his long-term plan for Tesla ten years ago, he envisaged whetting the public’s palate for an electric car with a flashy luxury sedan, the Model S, before rolling out a simulation for the masses. In following through with that design, he effectively resuscitated the long-dead electric car, and prompted virtually every major automaker to scramble to make competitors.

“People craved the electric car for at least two decades, then Tesla came along and depicted them how it’s done, ” Kimbal Musk said. “The Kitchen is doing that for real food.”

If Elon Musk is constructing a clean vitality empire, then Kimbal Musk is constructing the sustainable meat empire to equal.

Asked on Monday whether The Kitchen would consider buying one of the startups that go through Square Roots’ accelerator program, the younger Musk said the firm is “always looking for new ways to expand its impact and farther its mission.” In other terms: Perhaps!

Of course, “theres” an obstacle to modernizing the restaurants sector industry with a chain of farm-to-table restaurants. TGI Friday’s has 1, 100 restaurants and Applebee’s has 2, 033, to name a few.

And Tesla, too, continues to come up against hurdles, facing two federal probes and repeatedly missing delivery targets. But as investors have learned time and time again, it’s rarely smart to pot against a Musk.

“There are some restaurants already doing this, and the idea is catching on faster than I would have envisioned, ” Dickson Despommier, an emeritus professor of microbiology at Columbia University who hosts a podcast on indoor agriculture, told HuffPost. “But the Musks of the world, thank God, they’re able to cobble together enough money to make a difference.”

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