I like Chipotle just fine. I eat there on occasion. I wouldn’t call myself a devout Chipotle lover, by any means. Every so often, I crave it & then I’ll head over to my neighborhood Chipotle and order a cheese quesadilla (you can order those without ordering from the kid’s menu, you know..) & a bag of chips with guacamole.
However, I do have a little, how should I say it, pickle, with Chipotle. Most of the world by now has seen
A clip from Chipotle's "Back to the Start" video. The full video can be found on their website.
Chipotle’s sweet, tender commercial called, “Back to the Start.” In this commercial, Willie Nelson sings a depressing rendition of Coldplay’s song, “The Scientist.” Meanwhile, the commercial introduces viewers to an animated farmer whose farm starts out simple, but eventually evolves into some atrocious “factory farm.” After some deep thinking, the farmer has an epiphany and decides to free all of his animals from their captivity and quit polluting the earth, etc, etc. All of the while, Willie Nelson is blaring, “I’m going back to the start…”
How romantic, isn’t it? The thought of farmers going back to the start. The thought of a red barn, open land & animals just frolicking around. I agree. The thought is a blissful one. To be honest, it’s the reason why I decided to move back to my hometown when I was living in Los Angeles. The feeling that the concrete jungle left me a bit empty inside and I yearned for open land and the smell of cow manure. So, I moved back and received just what I had been missing.
Let’s mention the topic of hypocrisy for an instant: If farmers are expected to go back to the start, then why doesn’t the rest of the world go back to the start? You see, it can’t just be an effort made by farmers to go back to the start. The rest of the world can progress & get cooler, better, faster technology, but we want our farmers to stay the same. And while cities continue to expand & build more and more, farmers are in the middle. Farmers are caught in what seems to be a lose-lose battle. The rest of the world needs more land for more business buildings and more housing developments, but yet they want farmers to produce more food for more people. Just out of curiosity, how are farmers supposed to give their animals more room to roam around & graze on when cities are closing in on their farm land? It makes no sense for the rest of the world to be allowed to move forward while the farmers produce our food with technology & the mindset that they are living in the 1900’s still. Even if they wanted to, it wouldn’t work. Farmers do not live in some separate utopia from the rest of the world. They have to be able to roll with the time changes, just like I do and just like you do.
My fiancé told me the other day, “We could go back to the start. Man made his own food years ago. Why couldn’t we?” Touché, my dear. But the hardest part would be that everyone would have to become farmers again. We might have to kill a few people off of the earth to lower the population. We’d have to demolish most of the cities that we’ve built up to free up some farm space. Has anyone else noticed lately that earth does not look the same as it did back at the start of it all? And unless the good Lord brings another flood to this earth (which, He promised He never would), I don’t see how some people plan on starting over with our food production system.
That was just my rambling on the fact that I just think that this notion of the world magically transforming into how it looked a century ago is absurd. Today’s farmers and ranchers are the product of generations of people who have produced food for the world. They still hold the same values that their parents held, the same values that their grandparents and great-grandparents held toward the land, animals & people. Chipotle wants agriculture to be “sustainable.” The dictionary definition of sustainable is the following:
2. pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse: sustainable agriculture. Aquaculture is a sustainable alternative to overfishing.
Based off of the official definition of the meaning behind something being sustainable, I can tell you right now that agriculture is more sustainable now than it has ever been before. We are producing more food with less animals, less water, less land….so how are we not being sustainable in what we do? Sure, animals create a little pollution, but what about you and I? Cars…they’re everywhere. Big cars, little cars, they drive near & they drive far. If people want to fuss over pollution, they can give up their car-driving privileges and then I’ll listen to their complaints. But until you’re willing to make changes in your own lifestyles, don’t turn around and point your fingers at the people who are working hard to produce food for you & me.
So Chipotle, I’ll eat your food. I’m not an extremist who will boycott your product because I think you’re not on the right track. I will tell you that I’m quite fascinated with your ability to give off the impression that you’re practically anti-meat, but yet you serve a great deal of meat at your restaurants. And I wish that you would do your homework a little bit better on the farmers who work so hard to produce the food that keeps the world alive.