Chipotle Mexican Grill announced Feb. 8 at its national employee meeting the formation of the Chipotle Local Grower Support Initiative, a new program to help smaller, local suppliers meet its heightened food safety standards. The company will commit up to $10 million to the program, which focuses on three areas: (1) education and training, (2) financial support and (3) developing new partnerships with local suppliers.
“We have supported local farms around the country for a number of years because we believe it is the right thing to do,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, co-chief executive officer and chairman. “We recognize that it may make it difficult for some local farms to comply with our heightened standards, but we are looking to help local farmers comply with our standards and to continue our support for local farms and rural communities around the country.”
The initiative will provide the support and education necessary to meet the company’s high standards and help offset the costs of enhanced testing and food safety practices for some smaller farmers.
Additionally, financial assistance will be provided in the form of grants or premiums to help cover the higher costs of enhanced food safety practices. The company will also look to develop new partnerships and seek out farmers using greenhouses and other technologies around the country that meet Chipotle’s food safety standards.
“Our commitment to Food With Integrity is stronger than ever,” the company stated on its website. “We believe that the safest and most delicious food comes when the best ingredients are prepared simply, using classic cooking techniques.”