On the sunny morning on Friday, October 20th , Kimball Musk, a successful entrepreneur and innovator drew the attention of students from all over campus with his Ted Talk on the future of food. Though many students in the audience were skeptical that his speech would be a pitch and advertisement for his upcoming projects, many were pleasantly surprised. He began the speech by telling the story about how he discovered his passion for food after an extreme accident which paralyzed him for a short time and how he managed to concur the many roadblocks he has faced throughout his career.
Not only is Kimball Musk the brother of Elon Musk, investor and creator of Tesla, but a prominent name in the Boulder community because of his involvement in the culinary arts. Kimball Musk is the founder of The Kitchen off Pearl Street and prides himself on providing nutritious and renewable food for the community.
People seemed to walk away from the event with a renewed excitement for the idea of food entrepreneurship. Many were especially inspired by Musk’s story about his own trouble trying to expand his business while trying to maintain his food sources. The trouble was that even though he was ready to expand, the farmers and ranchers where he sourced his food from did not have the capability to expand their own production. When it came to beef for his burgers, he decided to solve this problem by mixing mushroom into the burgers to create a 50/50 burger. This new mushroom burger allowed him to still support local ranchers while creating a healthier product for his consumers. This is only one of the few examples he provided to the audience of his innovative thinking.
The program lasted about an hour and was broken up into two sections. For the first half hour, Musk spoke about his projects and passions regarding food. He had worked on creating kid-friendly and accessible gardens so elementary students can learn about the benefits of fresh produce. One of his goals as an entrepreneur and innovator is to improve relations between restaurant owners and local food producers. For example, he spoke about a local cattle farm in Northern Colorado who he sourced his beef for burgers from.
For the second half of the hour, Musk answered questions from the audience. Some asked about realistic applications of outdoor gardens as a learning tool for elementary school children and about the future of GMOs. Others tried the pitch their own entrepreneurial ideas.