Whereas Elon Musk is determined to colonize space with SpaceX, his brother Kimbal Musk is equally determined to leave the earth behind. But in Kimbal’s case, earth means the soil, not the whole planet. Kimball, a restaurant and sustainable foods entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is helping urban farmers grow soil-free crops — crops that grow vertically indoors in giant shipping containers, nourished by LED lights and nutrient-rich water instead of earth. Leafy greens, basil and other herbs are the crops.
In the fall, Musk and his business partner Tobias Peggs set up a shipping container farm complex in Brooklyn — creating small vertical farms that thrive in one of the least bucolic places on earth. Each farm is individually managed by selected farmers/entrepreneurs. The business is called Square Roots, and it’s as radical an idea as SpaceX or Tesla — and like Tesla, it really starts to work if the practice scales. The advantages are tantalizing. The farms are closer to the customer base in New York City. They save transport time and expense. They use less water. They grow year-round. And one container can produce as much in crops as two acres of land. If you want to know more about the kind of food Kimbal and Peggs believe in, check out The Kitchen.