DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced a partnership with Slow Food USA to create or support approximately 100 schools gardens in 10 metropolitan areas across the country. Through hands-on discovery and an innovative school curriculum, the organizations hope to cultivate a generation of kids who care more about where food comes from and how it is prepared.
“With this new partnership, we want to give children access to a hands-on learning experience at their schools, to teach them how food is grown, and the importance of cooking and healthy eating,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing and development officer at Chipotle.
With the help of nearly $500,000 from Chipotle, the two organizations will work together to build or support 100 school gardens in 10 metropolitan areas across the country, including Austin, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Long Island/northern New Jersey, Louisville, Miami, Orange County, Phoenix and San Diego. Local Slow Food USA chapters will provide a host of services to support each program including a customized curriculum, funding, labor, and other resources to match the needs of the individual schools and/or districts, while also offering in-depth technical assistance. Chipotle will provide funding through micro grants, in-restaurant fundraisers and hands-on support.
Chipotle has been a long time supporter of educational gardens, and by focusing its efforts on the Slow Food USA School National Garden Program, the company can significantly expand its involvement in this area. In the past, both Chipotle and Slow Food USA have supported school gardens, Chipotle having contributed more than $1 million to support approximately 50 school, community and educational garden programs across the country in 2013, and Slow Food USA having started and/or maintained 313 school gardens nationwide, engaging more than 21,000 children in growing, preparing and sharing fresh food.
"This partnership will dramatically increase the impact that our National School Garden Program will have by extending our reach deeper into communities and offering greater access to gardens and food education to children across the country," said Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA. "Chipotle is a company that is working to change fast food from the inside out, and we're thrilled to be working with them to take our Garden Program to the next level."
Both Slow Food USA and Chipotle share a belief in making better food widely available. Slow Food USA is committed to good, clean and fair food for all, and Chipotle is changing the way people think about and eat fast food by using ingredients that are raised with respect for the land, the animals and the farmers. Separately, each organization has made significant strides in their respective areas, and together, they will work to improve the food culture in schools across the U.S.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and Responsibly Raised™ with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates more than 1,700 restaurants including eight ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates two Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.
ABOUT SLOW FOOD USA
Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network of over 100,000 members in more than 150 countries. Slow Food is the only grassroots organization working locally, nationally and internationally to link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to community and the environment. With our National School Garden Program, we are teaching the next generation how to grow, prepare and share food responsibly.