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Chipotle Promotes Sustainable Farming

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One of the more surprising bits of television broadcasted during the Grammy Awards last night was not a hastily thrown together eulogy, nor was it some dance spectacle with religious and sexual overtones – it was an extra long commercial plainly advocating the practice of sustainable farming. Chipotle, the burrito dealing giant that introduced the suburbs to the concept of carnitas, decided to go big and bold with their first televised ad, and purchased themselves 2+ minutes of Grammy airtime to spin a little moral narrative about the pitfalls of industrial farming and the inherent virtues of small and sustainable farming, all sung to the tune of “The Scientist” by the grandfather of Farm-Aid, Willie Nelson (the song is actually a Coldplay cover that is done a great service by Mr. Nelson).

The ad (or short film, depending on how much recognition you want to give it) is titled “Back to the Start” and shows an evolution, of sorts, of farming in America: from simple agrarian animal husbandry to something inhumane, industrialized, and detrimental to everyone involved. See the video below:

The tone goes from cute and cuddly animation to something darker and more ominous that reveals how far off track we have strayed. This progression weighs heavy on the cute animated farmer, who is seen in the winter of his discontent, and who ultimately breaks free of the industrial farming treadmill to return to the simplicity and wholesomeness of sustainable hog farming (nary a vegetable is seen growing in this cartoon ad). There was something very reminiscent of artist Robert Crumb’s lesser-known “A Short History of America” series of drawings that reveal a similar progression, or downfall, of the American countryside. See below:

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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11:41AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

great thanks

5:52PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

The only way to go...!

11:27PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

Loves the video, thanks!!

1:05PM PST on Feb 19, 2012

great video thanks for sharing :)

8:43AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

Oh and I forgot to say that the prices are very reasonable at Chipolte. I go there all the time

8:39AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

I love eating at Chipolte!! Mostly organic food and fresh too! My kids love it and they are fussy. If they are good for the environment that is a plus but it is delicious food!

2:08PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

good start hope more companies follow.

12:20PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

I love Chipotle. Great food and good prices too. I do wish they'd serve a barley/quinoa mix or another grain instead of rice as a burrito filling.

9:40AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

That's great! I had no idea that Chipotle supported small farms. I've always thought they were pretty good for fast food (or at least the vegetarian options have always been healthy), but now I have more respect for them as a business.

8:16AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Pretty effective!

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people are talking

Thanks for sharing the info and tips.

Thanks for sharing.

Interesting and tough. 62% :( Thanks for sharing.

Here in my area in AU the farmer's markets are very popular.

I completely agree with Carol P, the risk exists and people should be aware of it, most aren't and t…


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