Breaking up with My Burrito (Bowl)

No more of these for me.
I have a secret to tell's kind of embarrassing but here it goes....

I'm a closet Chipotle eater.

It's out. Yikes.

As someone who is involved in the agriculture industry and seen the "scare-tactics" Chipotle has used in its marketing efforts I should have known better than to eat there. However, my love for chicken burrito bowls and that guacamole (yes I know its extra) keeps me coming back for more. See Chipotle won me over with their good food, not where it came from or how it was produced. I just think they have yummy burritos.

But I won't be eating them anymore.

You see Chipotle has infuriated me. In fact I am downright pissed at them.

It wasn't the fact that they launched a video series called Farmed and Dangerous, spreading misconceptions and lies about people in the industry that I love.

It wasn't that they made a video game and insanely capturing commercial portraying agriculture as a terrible factory.

It wasn't even their commercial showing animals in "jail" pumped full of drugs as a representation of modern agriculture.

There is so much wrong with the picture
Chipotle paints of agriculture.
It's that they claim to want to change the food system by having meaningful conversations with the people who produce our food and then they refuse the leaders in agriculture who try to engage them. (read the story of Agriculture Proud author Ryan Goodman's experience here).

It's that they have simply disrespected the hardest working, most values based, integrity laden industry and people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

It's that they claim to want food with integrity when they seem to have none of their own.

You want food with integrity?! Come out here to the heartland, Chipotle, and check out the ranchers who love their cows more than you love your money. Spend one day with one of the dairy farmers that produce your cheese and see how much harder they work than your brilliant marketers. Visit a row crop farmer who produces your ingredients and hear the story of how his family has farmed that land for over 100 years (without you telling them how to do it).

As a budding young advocate for agriculture, I am all about having conversations with the people who don't understand our food system. I am open ears to hear how you want us to change what we are doing. We want to provide people with the safest, most-environmentally friendly produced food that we can. We want to give you what you want and how you want it, I promise. And we want to talk to you about it!

But when someone comes after the people who taught me my values,

When someone insults the rancher I interviewed this morning who told me about how much he cares for his animals and the reasons he uses thing like hormone implants and antibiotics,

When someone calls farmers lazy after a beef producer just finished telling me how he feels like it is a gift from God to get (to work harder than anyone in Chipotle does every day) to get to put food on your table,

I get madder than a wet hen.

Seriously, momma bear claws out, teeth gnashing sort of angry.

Because they did something worse than insult me. They insulted the people who feed us all more than three times every day.

I don't want to fight about how our food is produced. And I don't think there is one right way or one wrong way to produce food and I love to talk about and answer any questions about agriculture. But when others refuse to even have a conversation, there is nothing that can be done.

I would love to tell you about the agriculturalists I work with on a daily basis. I would love to introduce you to the people who grow your food. I would be more than tickled to tell you the stories of all the producers I have had the pleasure of meeting and the stories of their family operations.

But if you aren't willing to actually have a conversation and listen to what I have to say than why the heck should I put up with you trashing the very thing that I love?

I won't anymore. Chipotle won't see another damn dollar from me. I hope they won't from you either.

So good bye to my treasured expensive guacamole and you delicious burrito bowls. Maybe if your restaurant had just reminded me how good you were instead of telling me how bad your producers are we could get together for lunch today. 

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