Supporting local farmers close to Chipotle restaurants has been an important part of our commitment to Food With Integrity for many years. Last year, for example, Chipotle restaurants served more than 30 million pounds of produce sourced from local farmers around the country, including tomatoes, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, red onions, avocados, and more.
However, it may be difficult for some of our smaller suppliers to meet Chipotle’s new food safety standards. Small- and medium-sized growers of fresh produce often do not have access to the financial resources, personnel, and technology required to implement Chipotle’s sophisticated new food safety program.
These are big challenges for small farmers, but we want to keep serving their produce at Chipotle, and we are ready to help them. That’s why we have created the Chipotle Local Grower Support Initiative. As part of this initiative, Chipotle plans to commit up to $10 million to help these farmers meet our food safety standards—and make more local ingredients available at Chipotle restaurants around the country.
These funds will enable us to continue sourcing produce from some of the best local growers around the country, from small- and medium-sized local farmers to farmers that use greenhouses and other farming technologies. We’re going to be partnering with many of the farms that have been in our program for a while to ensure they have the training and testing programs they need, while also seeking out new partners.
This initiative will focus on three key objectives:
- Education and training: Provide the food safety support and education necessary to meet our standards and help offset the costs of enhanced testing and food safety practices for some smaller farmers already involved in our local produce program.
- Financial assistance: Provide financial assistance in the form of grants or premiums to help cover the higher costs of enhanced food safety practices.
- Develop new partnerships: Seek out farmers using greenhouses and other technologies around the country that meet Chipotle’s food safety standards.
Chipotle’s Produce team is currently working to develop this exciting initiative. We will make more information available as it develops. In the meantime, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.