Meadville Tribune

Our Health

September 21, 2012

To teach kids about food, put planters in the playground

(Continued)

"Learning Gardens are great for Chicago and for students, and I'm pleased that 60 more of these gardens are coming to our schools," Emanuel said via e-mail. "These gardens teach our kids about sustainability and help them learn to make healthy food choices in an engaging way. By developing healthy lifestyles and gaining the hands-on experience of working outside, the Learning Gardens improve the lives of thousands of our students and their families."

Musk left his native South Africa in 1991 for Canada. But he soon migrated down to Silicon Valley where, with his brother Elon, he started a software company called Zip2. The brothers sold it in 1999 to computer firm Compaq. That year, Elon started a new company called PayPal in which Kimbal was an investor.

With money in the bank, Musk headed to New York to explore his interest in cooking. He enrolled at the French Culinary Institute and graduated right before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In the weeks following, he cooked for firefighters and police working near Ground Zero.

"The energy I felt — that awful and incredible energy — made me want to open a restaurant," he says. "One with that sense of community I had experienced in New York."

The result was the Kitchen, which opened in 2004 in Boulder, Colo. It was a farm-to-table restaurant before the term became fashionable; supporting farmers was one way to build community. The Kitchen offered students cooking lessons and took them on farm tours. Soon, it started raising money for the Growe Foundation, a local school-garden organization.

Colorado might seem like an odd place to become radicalized about the threat of obesity. It is the leanest state in the country with an adult obesity rate of 20.7 percent. But the rate of childhood obesity is rising faster there than in any other state except Nevada, according to the National Survey of Children's Health. Musk thought school gardens could halt, and possibly reverse, those numbers. In 2011, he and his business partner, chef Hugo Matheson, established a nonprofit organization called the Kitchen Community to bring Learning Gardens to schools across the country.

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