Elon Musk's Brother Wants to Bring #RealFood to 100,000 Schools Across America
Kimbal Musk's nonprofit organization, The Kitchen Community, is expanding into a new, national nonprofit called Big Green, to build hundreds of outdoor Learning Garden classrooms across America.
Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating and garden skills through experiential learning and garden-based education that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science and literacy.
The Kitchen Community has built Learning Garden classrooms in hundreds of underserved schools in six U.S. cities, reaching more than 100,000 students every day.
"Our big vision to change food in America to impact all kids, and particularly the most underserved with healthy, vibrant futures, is becoming a reality," said Musk.
Coinciding with the launch of Big Green, Musk is announcing the program's expansion into its seventh city, Detroit, and his commitment to building outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in 100 schools across the Motor City. Teachers and principals across Detroit can now start applying for a Learning Garden at their school, with construction beginning later this year.
"We are also eyeing Colorado Springs, Colorado, Louisville, Kentucky, Long Beach, California, and San Antonio, Texas for expansion to build 100 Learning Gardens in each of those cities," said Musk.
Big Green's entrance into new cities across America will help stimulate new, local jobs and a growing network of teachers, parents, and communities passionate about growing and eating real food. Their nutrition curriculum, Garden Bites, developed in partnership with nonprofit Common Threads, is accompanied with teacher training to further support teachers and students in using Learning Gardens cooperatively and respectfully.
With more than 100,000 schools across America, Musk is prioritizing the schools and communities in greatest need of food and gardening literacy programs.
"I am focusing, first, on impacting high-need and underserved students because sadly, these communities bear the brunt of obesity-related diseases. Eventually, we will reach every kid in all 100,000 schools in America because every child deserves to thrive in healthy environments that connect them to real food," affirmed Musk.
This ambitious goal will require a collaborative culture of corporate, government and community members, as well as a significant investment of resources and funding. Musk is calling on business executives, governors, superintendents, parents and teachers across the nation to support real food education.
"Reaching 100,000 schools in our lifetime is not something I can do by myself," said Musk. "We must all try to make a Big Green effort to be part of the real food solution."
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An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
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Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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