Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today, I ate Chipotle.

I have a confession to make. Today, I committed a "cardinal sin". I did something I don't usually ever do. It made me feel so guilty I looked around to make sure no one I knew was watching me. 

I ate Chipotle for lunch.  

"Oh my gosh!" "Why would you do such a thing?" "Don't you love agriculture?!?!"

I have been anti-Chipotle for about five years now. It all started with some ill-worded billboards and a few nasty messages on the sides of take out bags. When Chipotle started touting the slogan "Pork from Farms, not Pharms", they lost this consumer. And honestly, Chipotle can say whatever the heck they want. But then again, I can choose not to purchase from them either because of what they say. 

Remember these puppies? 
I don't appreciate the fact that Chipotle tries to slander the agriculture community by saying that the majority of us are "factory farmers". I understand that this sells food, but it sure doesn't help public perception of modern ag. For that reason, I've made it a point not to eat there. 

So now we come back to today... 

Why are you so good?!?!?!
I had a craving! For chicken soft tacos. And it was a strong one. Usually I just make lunch at home. Not today. Today I drove into town feeling guilty as heck and went inside the new (I say it's new... I guess it's been there a year or so. First time I'd been inside!) Chipotle. I ordered three chicken soft tacos, an order of chips and a soft drink. I paid a ridiculous amount of money for those three items and I then I walked over to fill up my cup. 

Here's where it gets cool: 

I happened to be wearing my "I Dig the Pig" t-shirt. The one that I have like twenty of because of working the Ohio Pork Producers stand at the Ohio State Fair. And this is for real. Some guy saw the shirt and came up to me. He asked if I was a hog farmer. We started talking a little bit and ended up having a great discussion about public perception of modern farms. He said he'd never really understood how they worked and that the only "facts" he had about them were from companies like Chipotle. He just liked the idea of animals being happy and comfortable. 

The t-shirt :)

Conversations like these always boggle my mind because in my small town of Canal Winchester, I like to assume that everyone knows about modern ag. I don't like to think that many people are so far removed from the farm. I like to think everyone in my town knows where their food comes from. At least today I know that one more person does know. And maybe he'll tell his family. And they'll tell theirs. And so on and so forth... 

I guess maybe what I'm trying to say is, I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason. Last week I had the opportunity to attend the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 conference where reaching consumers and learning to speak their language was a huge point. And today I did something I never do and ended up reaching out to someone. Maybe Chipotle is evil. Maybe I broke the "code". But by being in that restaurant today, I got to share my story of agriculture and now that story can be passed on. 

And honestly, the tacos were delicious :)  

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