The Scientist

This video has been out for a while, but I only just saw it. It took me by surprise while I was at the movies a few nights ago. I was having a nice conversation with my roommate when this video came on before the previews, and we both fell silent. I was eager to see where the video was going, what the point of it was. I knew it had something to do with sustainable farm practices, ethical treatment of animals, or organic food or something. The suspense was daunting, but when the end finally came, I was confounded. I was expecting to see an advertisement for PETA or Slow Food, something of the sort, but instead, I saw Chipotle.

I always knew Chipotle was different from other fast food restaurants, but I didn’t know it was such an advocate for naturally raised food. I was intrigued. After visiting the Chipotle website, scavenging through their links, and reading through their history, I found out a few interesting things about Chipotle I hadn’t known before. Maybe you haven’t either.

The carnitas at Chipotle is probably my favorite item to order on the menu, and now I know why. Turns out Chipotle sources 100% of their pork from farmers who follow these guidelines: raise animals in a humane way, feed animals a vegetarian diet, never give animals hormones, and allow the animals to display their natural tendencies. To add to that, 85% of their beef is sourced from farmers who follow the same guidelines, and they won’t stop until they reach 100%. Chipotle also tries to buy locally (within 350 miles from the store) when it can. Overall, I was just very impressed as I read through their facts and philosophies. There are many other initiatives Chipotle is taking to make the world a better place. Take a look for yourself here.

I was equally impressed with the video as well. I felt it went through the evolution of industrialization of food in a simple and understandable manner. I especially liked the part at 1:10 when the video shows the farmer’s remorse of how he raised his animals. I’m sure a lot of farmers feel the same way and are conflicted between providing for themselves and raising good, respectable food.

I think Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle, is on to something good. Maybe his business model can act as a catalyst of change, and other restaurants will start doing the same. Until then, support your local Chipotle.

FYI: McDonald’s doesn’t own Chipotle. McDonald’s was an investor until 2006. Chipotle is now it’s own public stock on the NYSE.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Michelle says:

    Yes! Now I can love Chipotle even more.

  2. asiago says:

    What I think causes some controversy here is the language that ethical companies uses to sell their product. Sadly, we live in a system where language as obvious as “naturally raised” tends to be complicated and generally hiding something. Same applies to “raise animals in a humane way, feed animals a vegetarian diet”. Good to know that Chitpole defines “local” as 350 miles and about the McDonalds investment.

    Something great about the Chitpole on the Guadalupe Street is that they work with UT orgs to provide food for school.

    Looks like Steve Ells is trying to do it again but this time with South East Asian http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/chipotles-new-asian-shophouse_n_964747.html

  3. chrysanthemumm says:

    Of course, I failed to mention that definitions of “organic” and “naturally raised” are ambiguous and may mean different things to different people/companies. I guess the next to step to see if Chipotle’s claims are valid is to research the farms they source their meat from and see if those farms actually follow those practices.

  4. “I’m sure a lot of farmers feel the same way and are conflicted between providing for themselves and raising good, respectable food.”

    This a very thoughtful and provoking topic. I think you’re right that many farmer’s probably are conflicted and it’s useful to look at why they’re forced to feel as thought they can’t both provide for themselves and their family and grow food that they can feel proud of. Why is natural growing not as profitable as huge monocultures than can often be destructive in the long-run? To answer this question, I think it’s necessary to look at a few things: government subsidies and regulation, as well as the true nature of “sustainability” (which includes fact that sustainable necessarily means profitable).

    Just my two cents. Good post!

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