Chipotle Proves Farmers Need to be Advocates for Agriculture Like Never Before

We have run many different stories and interviews talking about the need to be an agricultural advocate in the past. I hear from many readers that they feel being a advocate for agriculture is a complete waste of time and not a practical role for a farmer.

Just watch the below video being promoted by Chipolte and see how your industry is being depicted.

If you cannot see the below embedded video, Click Here to view on YouTube

As a farmer does this video upset you, frustrate you or are you indifferent?

Farmers need to wake up to what is going on here. Companies like Whole Foods and Chipotle that make a fortune from selling consumers on “natural” and “organic” are better, are shaping the image of our industry over and over again.  The irony is that companies like Chipotle want to attack the big corporate monster of agriculture but its okay that Chipotle has a market capitalization of 13.1 billion US dollars.

This video and other like it show that we need to support programs like the AgChat Foundation,  Ag More Than Ever.  These are just two example of organizations trying to spread the correct more accurate message to the consumer by helping farmers get engaged in the process.

See another viewpoint on the Chipotle video

In reality it is the farmer, producer, grower or whatever title you give them, to step up and start getting more involved.   Don’t roll your eyes, start getting involved.  Too many times farmers have this notion that their only role is to produce food but underestimate the importance to lobby and fight for the industry they love so much.  Every individual voice from farmers matters.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4PM est.

@shaunhaney

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16 Comments

Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com]

I finally forced myself to watch this after hearing about this video from various agvocates. What an appalling advertisement. Wanna know why it’s animated? Because agriculture isn’t like this and they wouldn’t be able to find people in the industry to depict this. Panera and Chipotle’s attacks on agriculture are despicable. I am ignorant, mind you, to the animal farming aspect of agriculture because we are grain farmers…but from what I’ve heard from the beef/poultry farmers on Twitter, etc. they aren’t terribly happy with this depiction of the industry either. When will these companies learn not to bite the hands that feed them?

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Lyndsey Smith

This makes me furious — and it’s a great point you make about it being animated. This is pure fiction. But it’s also what agriculture is up against. How do we, as an industry, fight against this? Also, consumers need to use some critical thought…a tall order?

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Karen Ross Fulford

Love it! Seems pretty darn accurate to me, someone who sees “Big Ag” turning our food into something that doesn’t even resemble real food. I think it’s hilarious that Big Ag is afraid of a video promoting small farmers!!! And I’ll add that I don’t/won’t buy one single product from Panera or Chipotle.

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Shaun Haney

I believe that the video also knocks small family farms as well. Not a very accurate depiction of agriculture at all no matter what size of farmer you are.

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Sandra Williams

Before you knock Chipotle, you may want to do a bit more research by visiting http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/fwi/animals/animals.aspx. I know, it’s their site, but they do buy pork from Polyface Farm, for crying out loud. Here’s what Joel Salatin has to say about the evolving relationship with Chipotle Mexican Grill. http://grist.org/sustainable-farming/protein-we-only-serve-white-meat-here-excerpt/ It’s not perfect, but it’s a beginning.
I am one of the founders of Cognito Farm in Starke, FL, a pasture-based farm that follows the Polyface/Salatin model. I’ve also been politically involved in changing Florida state regulations to try to bring locally grown food to the consumer. The biggest joke for me is that the sad farm worker goes back to the big city with a truck full of produce and starts to feed the city dwellers without jumping through any regulatory hoops or licensing or training classes. Truly fantasy.
This issue is so much more complicated than anyone can imagine. At the end of the day, it’s the consumer that drives demand, and the consumer that drives the market and how animals, plants and fuel are raised. Everyone, not just the overworked, underpaid farmer is responsible for changing the situation. Vote with every bite you take. Just for fun, grow a little of your own food and see how it is to be a farmer.

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Shaun Haney

Thanks for the comment Sandra. I believe that consumers drive the market but I believe strongly that this video does nothing to inform consumers but instead misleads them. Retailers and producers should be educating consumers but with a more accurate honest message than Chipotle.

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Marilyn

It’s not just a video/commercial — it’s ad ad for a free game app for iPad and iPhone. I downloaded it on my iPad and played it for a while to read all the “education” they put in the game text. It’s a “tilt and run” game that kids are likely to want to play … made me dizzy after a while and I had to stop, but it gets into “caged” animals and animals that don’t have a choice to stay away from drugs in factory farms etc. So while many more people will see the video, those people and children who play the game will be inundated over and over with some very questionable information and will feel trapped in a rather dark world.

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Contrarian

It’s not so much that they prey on and feed the sheer ignorance of the consuming public with misleading cartoons, it’s that they try to sculpt my child’s future purchasing decisions with misleading cartoon fantasy, and video games.

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Majorlucas

Love the message. Corporate Agriculture is polluting our water, soil, food and the gene pool of plants we depend upon for food. The sooner government quits subsidizing these pirates, the better off we’ll all be. Time for lunch, Chipolte sounds good right now…

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Shaun Haney

So corporate agriculture is bad (your pirate reference) but a food company worth 13.1 billion is just great and always perfectly honest……. Not sure I get your reasoning.

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D'Arcy

I’m enjoying this discussion a great deal but I don’t understand how a large market capitalization is indicative of environmental or other destuction. Could you elaborate on the connection between the two? Or explain the problem with large market capitalizations in general?

mrs bimms

interesting, thoughtful, some reality.. the message is good = better food.. i think much of the food produced today is simply about highest profit and lowest effort.. yall may like those results, but that doesnt mean it is good/better, i prefer good/better.. i think many people are like children and want to eat crap all day, but that doesnt mean it is good for them, i choose better.. thanx

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Jim Boak

well.. it was pretty easy to pick who you were going to back in the movie “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
Not so easy now.
We are marketed to death with our own money regarding how we should farm. The word “technology” is almost synonymous with “conveyor” as in convey your money into someone else’s pocket.
Having the advantage of looking at the evolution of ag from 1949 until today – all I see is fewer and fewer farmers working harder and harder with ever increasing risk for less and less return per acre.
Meanwhile the number of people who harvest the farmer are growing like fungus with no natural enemies.
The word “efficiency” has frightened us into a box from which there is no escape when farmers really have the intelligence and ability to perform not only outside the box but to say “what box?”
In 1969 my preferred institution of learning offered me the option of leaving that institution or rewriting my essay on the evolution of political doctrine. I had summed my essay by saying that “the end result would not be communism, democracy or socialism but rather we would be ruled by capitalism.”
To my shame, I rewrote the essay; thinking of course that it really didn’t matter, that I didn’t want to disappoint my parents and embarrass my friends and most of all thinking that it would never happen in my lifetime.. mmmmm Well, it may not be happening on the surface but it sure as hell is happening and it doesn’t matter if the message is coming from Chipotle or DuPont or Monsanto we are just as much a puppet of the system.
We can either dance to the pull of the string or decide to get out of the box they have put us in.
Hey – I’m just an old fart with an opinion but write this down.. “Either we change the way we think and do as farmers or become extinct.” ( o hey – what is your definition
of a farmer?)
Jim Boak

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Part Time Farmer 16

The Chipotle video is a telling story of today’s status of agriculture. Like it or not, perception is reality..A lot of people d o not understand how food is produced and supplied to consumers.; but after 40 years of “cheap food policy” driving the market place, consumers are waking up to the idea of “food quality” and supporting local producers instead of global giants and the mass produced gluttony whichthey use to further increase their market share. Confusion creates opportunity for those who want to seize the moment.

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Guest

Ag More Than Ever is a great campaign- but for farmers, not the consumer. Many consumers don’t understand what “Ag” stands for. I showed my sister(who grow up on a farm but now lives in the city) an “Ag More Than Ever” sticker and asked her what ‘Ag’ meant…she didn’t know. When I told her ‘Agriculture’ a light when on and she got the gist of the campaign, but when I asked if any of her friends would know, she laughed, of course not! This is a great campaign to get farmers and those involved in the Ag industry excited and coming together but does not reach the consumer. This campaign is marketed at and for the Ag industry, It would be great to take it to the next level, the public and consumers at some point….It could help combat horrible commercials like this one. Thanks for posting.

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Roxsen

Consumers don’t need to be educated about where their food comes from. They are figuring it out for themselves via new learning approaches like SPIN-Farming.

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