Chipotle, the fast casual restaurant known for using local and fresh ingredients got in on the lime light during Sunday’s Grammy Awards too. The Mexican chain aired a two minute commercial depicting the harsh realities of food production and food distribution in the United States. Animated scenes illustrated how the once healthy family farm has turned into a manufacturing plant with bloated unhealthy animals processed more like car parts than food.
The commercial is set to the tune of Willie Nelson covering Coldplay’s song, The Scientist. The chorus lyrics state, “I’m going back to the start.” This also narrates the scene when the farmer is fed up with modern practices and begins to return his farm into what it once was; open fields, not cages, with healthy animals, not medicated overgrown products.
While the message is stark, the ad itself isn’t off putting. The soft song mixed with cute, little, animated animals makes you stop and think without grossing you out or scaring you into vegetarianism. Chipotle has always taken a positive stance with their food. The company’s motto is even “food with integrity.” Chipotle’s sales for 2011 were up 11.2% and net income was up 20%.
Other recent ad campaigns regarding health have recently come under fire for scaring and bullying people into eating healthier. A New York Department of Health ad campaign linking large portions to type 2 diabetes and amputation really got people talking (us included.) Another health campaign by Strong4Life in Georgia started major backlash on Twitter. The obesity ads depicted overweight children with slogans like, “WARNING: It’s hard to be a little girl, if you’re not.” These ads were meant to motivate with fear and even a little sadness.
October is National Farm to School Month, which was enacted by Congress last year. The concept centers around creating and promoting strong relationships between local farms and schools.
A national grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meant to provide support for not just schools, but businesses and other institutions in promoting the use of locally-grown produce in their cafeterias. The latest school to take advantage of this healthy initiative is the University of Missouri. The state of Missouri has 78 school districts that use locally grown produce. (more…)
By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com
1. In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.
2. They’re free of neurotoxins-toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.
3. They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies. Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults. Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).
The demand for chicken in the US is down, and we can only speculate as to why. Many argue that tough economic conditions have caused Americans to decrease their meat consumption and opt for lower-cost foods. Chicken inventories are 13.1 percent higher than they were a year ago, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
In response to the gap between product and demand, the U.S. government is making a special purchase of 40 million dollars worth of chicken products, which will be distributed to school lunch programs and soup kitchens.
“Thanks to prevailing price trends, the government is getting a bargain on high-quality food to help meet the nutritional needs of the clients of these programs, while the industry is getting some relief from excessive inventories,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also praised the deal, saying “it will also provide support to the broiler industry and the many small independent poultry growers that depend on the industry for their livelihood.”
Something is not ripe with the tomato industry, according to Barry Estabrook’s book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Estabrook examines the corruption and hardships of the red and juicy fruit that is often seen atop many salads.
The fruit best known for being fresh in the summertime finds its way to the produce section each winter thanks to warm, sunny Florida weather. Estabrook writes that approximately one-third of the U.S.’s tomato supply comes from a state where tomatoes do not naturally grow. Florida’s environment is often difficult with a lack of nitrogen in the soil, insect pests, and bacterial and fungal diseases that can threaten the life of a plant. To make up for these disadvantages, tomato growers often spray the tomato farms with chemicals and pesticides, according to Estabrook.
These chemicals are very harmful to the hard-working tomato pickers and their families, who can get sick or have children with several birth defects. Not to mention these chemicals are extremely harmful to consumers, who may be at risk when ingesting the tomatoes. In addition, tomato pickers work very long and taxing hours in the brutal sun. The workers get no paid vacation and no benefits, and some have even been forced into slavery.