Farm-to-table restaurateur Kimbal Musk, brother of Tesla founder Elon Musk, is a quarter of the way to his goal of establishing 100 “learning gardens” at Indianapolis schools to fight obesity and related health threats.
"Today, kids see food either as coming from a McDonald’s box or out of plastic wrap," Musk says. "They have no idea that it actually comes out of the ground. And by exposing kids to the growing of a carrot, and all they see is a little green sprout – and when they pull a carrot out – it’s like a magic trick,” he smiles.
One of the new “learning gardens” is at Paramount School of Excellence on the near eastside.
Paramount 8th grader Alexis Wilson, a self described “veggie person,” says she may try growing some food at home.
“Probably the main ones that I’d probably try to plant would be some carrots – 'cause I like carrots and tomatoes, 'cause my mom likes making stuff with tomatoes,” Wilson says.
The learning garden has raised beds, making it easier for kids to tend to the plants.
Musk’s goal is to establish 100,000 learning gardens at schools across the country. To date he’s launched 450.
“Real food is food that you trust to nourish your body, it’s food that you trust to nourish the farmer and it’s food you trust to nourish the planet," Musk says. "Industrial food has resulted in high calorie/low nutrient food distributed mostly to our poor and has resulted in rampant obesity and diabetes.”
Paramount 8th grader Mary Hebel says it’s all new to her.
“I walk past the Learning Garden on my way to recess everyday and it’s cool to just watch how – like – the plants grow every single day and how they change," Hebel says.
Hebel admits she’s not a big vegetable eater, but she has taken home some kale from the garden. She says what she's enjoyed the most is learning some plants have edible blooms.
Musk was in Indianapolis to speak at the TURN Festival. He's opening two restaurants in the city in 2018. Hedge Row on Mass Ave downtown and Next Door in the former Double 8 building at 46th and College.