Tech billionaire Kimbal Musk has already conquered Silicon Valley along with his elder and more visible brother, Elon. However, the 45-year-old’s focus is on food and not space travel. This is why Kimbal has made the bold move of buying hundreds of acres of former farmland that he believes are ripe for a food and agriculture revolution.
In true Musk tradition, Kimbal is also ruffling some feathers in the industry – mostly people who don’t believe in “scaling” as much as the Musks do.
The Musks grew up in South Africa; while Elon set his eyes on the stars, Kimbal’s gaze is turned toward growing food and agriculture. Real food, Kimbal says, should nourish the body, as well as the farmer and the planet. His passion is on food and in eventually developing healthy, local food which are all grown in chemical-free farms.
He’s also campaigning for a boycott of sorts on “industrial food,” using his umbrella brand called The Kitchen. The amount of money being thrown in to develop a portfolio of food-related projects and creating partnerships with foundations and governments in various cities is significant enough to make him get noticed.
Musk’s non-profit organization has already opened 425 teaching gardens in schools all over Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Colorado. His ex-wife Jen Lewin helped design the modular curved plastic planters that are placed in the schoolyards. They come with instructions and can be used to teach kids science. The Kitchen community has been installing such schoolyard gardens since 2011.
Passion for Food
Kimbal Musk is a successful tech billionaire thanks to the influence of his brother, Elon. Together, they scored their first win when they sold Zip2 to Compaq Computer in 1999. The company helped create online city guides and this was sold for $307 million. He also has investments in PayPal, Tesla, and Space X.
However, he was the one who grew up in the family kitchen, making meals for their family since he was 12. Their mother Maye was a model and dietician while their father Errol was an engineer and pilot.
So when Kimbal had enough money and experience from the tech industry, he went back and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute. Living in New York City at the time of the 9/11 attacks, Kimbal volunteered as a cook for firefighters and rescue workers for six weeks. At this point, he discovered the connection between food and the community.
By 2004, Kimbal opened The Kitchen in Colorado. The restaurant boasted of farm-to-table cooking and became an instant success. Despite his feats, it was after an accident during a family vacation in Wyoming that he decided that his life would be devoted to growing food and educating people on how to grow it sustainably.
Kimbal set up another branch of his restaurant at Shelby Farms, Memphis. However, he insisted on buying 300 acres of former cotton farm lands. His plan is to transform it into a thriving organic farm, coupled with smaller takeout spots that will sell meals made from locally-grown produce at really affordable prices.
In true Musk tradition, Kimbal is also ruffling some feathers in the industry – mostly people who don’t believe in “scaling” as much as the Musks do. There are also some comments that Kimbal’s new farming approaches don’t really let him get his hands dirty since they use technology and innovations.
In spite of all these, Kimbal carries on with his food and farm dream with bold ideas and moves, and cares very little for anything else.