Food Politics + Justice back to the start

Published on March 6th, 2014 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Chipotle Promotes Sustainable Food in “Back to The Start” Video

Chipotle's Sustainable Food Video

Thank you @johannaCAD who via Twitter pointed me to Chipotle’s awesome video Back to The Start video as an addition to the list of Top 10 Green Marketing Campaigns.

Its rare to see a big company promote sustainable food systems.  Even rarer to see them do it in an engaging and accessible way.  But, that’s what Chipotle has done with its short film Back to The Start. The film starts with country music legend Willie Nelson’s rendition of Coldplay’s haunting classic ‘The Scientist’ and makes use of awesome animation to draw the viewer in. Made in 2011, Back To The Start depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system and it has been viewed more than 8.2 million times on YouTube.

The film benefits The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation which is committed to creating a more sustainable and healthful food supply and to raising awareness concerning food issues. Over the last several years, Chipotle has contributed more than $2 million to help fund initiatives that support sustainable agriculture, family farming, culinary education, and innovation that promotes better food. The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Chipotle Mexican Grill to continue and strengthen its philanthropic efforts.

Over the years, Chipotle Mexican Grill has made significant contributions to help fund initiatives that support sustainable agriculture, family farming, culinary education, and innovation that promotes better food. This has included such beneficiaries as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Lunch Box, The Nature Conservancy, Niman Ranch Scholarship, Culinary Institute of America, The Land Institute, Veggie U, and FamilyFarmed.org. Their grant making focuses on supporting family farms who are committed to sustainable farming practices, organizations that are working to develop an affordable, sustainable pasture-based system of animal production, and organizations promoting better food through innovation or education.


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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .



6 Responses to Chipotle Promotes Sustainable Food in “Back to The Start” Video

  1. John L. Farthing says:

    It’s easy to become cynical about restaurant chains (and about large-scale food businesses in general). Unfortunately, there are far too many cases in which such cynicism is entirely justified: environmental and nutritional concerns, after all, are usually not high on the list of corporate priorities. So it’s refreshing to hear this good news about Chipotle—a welcome relief from the steady drumbeat of disclosures about short-sighted and inhumane practices in food-related businesses. Ms. Kaplan’s post has helped me make up my mind about where I want to take my wife for dinner tonight!

  2. I have always loved this commercial, and even though I have a background in advertising & marketing, I manage to get a little choked up every time I watch it. No large company is perfect; they are all works in progress. But at least Chipotle is making constant progress part of its corporate vision — that means something to me. Progress, not perfection.

  3. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle!

  4. Pingback: Chipotle Promotes Sustainable Food in “Back to The Start” Video - Garcinia Cambogia Trial

  5. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle! | The Food We Eat

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