ARIZONA–Carnivores rejoice! As part of its ongoing commitment to helping family farms, on Tuesday, August 29, Chipotle Mexican Grill will donate proceeds from sales of items made with naturally raised pork, beef, and chicken to Farm Aid, a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes family farming and sustainable agriculture. Chipotle will contribute up to $50,000 to Farm Aid.
Since the early 1980s, family farms have been disappearing from Americaâ€™s rural landscape, often replaced by factory farms or CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) that house animals in high density in tiny pens where copious amounts of antibiotics are needed to prevent disease. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, pork producers alone use three times the amount of antibiotics as are used to treat human illness to keep confined hogs from getting sick.
In contrast, family farms usually promote more sustainable farming practices, such as providing ample pasture on which to graze, disallowing the use of antibiotics and added hormones, and favoring vegetarian feed for livestock. Family farms tend to preserve more traditional ways of farming, and produce better food because of it. Like Farm Aid, Chipotle understands the important role of family farmers and that helps guide the decisions we make in sourcing food.
Chipotle began its quest to serve better food in 2000, when it became the first restaurant chain to buy only naturally raised pork â€“ pork that comes from pigs that are raised in a humane way, on open pastures or in deeply bedded barns; that are never given antibiotics or added hormones; and fed a pure vegetarian diet â€“ from a network of family owned farms.
Chipotle had always used only fresh ingredients in its food, but its review of pork rearing practices prompted the realization that fresh wasnâ€™t enough. To buy the best ingredients, the company began taking a hard look at the way animals are raised and vegetables are grown to be sure it was using only the best ingredients it could find. Chipotle calls this vision — Food With Integrity — and today it extends well beyond just pork. In fact, Chipotle now serves more naturally raised meat than any restaurant in the world, including 100 percent of its pork, more than 70 percent of its chicken, and nearly half of its beef.
In addition to naturally raised meats, Chipotle has begun sourcing organic beans (about 25 percent of all of the beans it buys this year will be organically grown) and using dairy products that are free of the synthetic hormone rBGH.