Southern California environment news and trends

Happy cows: Chipotle to use dairy products from outdoor cattle

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Photo by matt northam via Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this year, popular chain restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill made a splash in media, music and environmental circles with “Back to Start,” a 2-minute short animated film promoting sustainable farming featuring Willie Nelson performing a cover of Coldplay song, “The Scientist.” After being showcased during the televised broadcast of the Grammy Awards in February, the clip went on to win the top award at the 2012 International ANDY Awards, a prestigious advertising recognition.

Continuing on that path towards more sustainable corporate practices, Chipotle announced this week a commitment to use dairy products made from the milk of pasture-raised dairy cows. Starting this month, 100 percent of the sour cream served in Chipotle restaurants will come from such pasture-raised cattle, which will be fed vegetarian, plant-based diets and never be given antibiotics or hormones, including recombinant bovine growth hormone. 65 percent of Chipotle’s cheese will meet the same standards.


Chipotle brings ethical farming to the Grammys with help from Willie Nelson

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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

How about those Grammys? Last night’s bombastic awards ceremony was a typically over-the-top affair highlighted by Adele’s well-deserved clean sweep and shadowed by the sad specter of Whitney Houston’s sudden and unexpected passing over the weekend.

Amidst the glitz, glamour and whatever Nicki Minaj was going on about, popular food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill showcased an emotional extended commercial spot promoting the idea of ethical and more sustainable farming practices.

Featuring long-time U.S. farmer advocate Willie Nelson (above) covering Coldplay song “The Scientist”, the 2-minute video by filmmaker Johnny Kelly (entitled “Back to the Start”) shows how quickly a small farm can grow into another cog in the corporate machine, and the concessions made along the way. The clip ends with a mention of Chipotle’s non-profit Cultivate Foundation, which has already donated $2 million “to help fund initiatives that support sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education.”