Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
When I got home from work the other day one of my roommates greeted me with a big smile and a very enthusiastic "You have to watch this!" I obliged and was not prepared for what I was about to see, in a good way. Chipotle has created a video series called "Farmed and Dangerous" which is a tongue in check revision of any action movie with an evil villain, explosions, and a hero willing to risk life and limb for a noble cause concerning us all.
Yes, a burrito chain has sponsored an episodic series about the dangers of questionable ingredients. This is the world we live in now- for better, for worse.
While all in good humor, this marketing campaign does have a good message. I'd even venture to say its one of the defining messages of the food justice movement- how our food is produced matters. It matters big time.
Despite the mixed reviews on the series and whether it really address issues (or whether it addresses the right issues) I think Chipotle played their hand very wisely. If for a moment we forget that this gives them even more brand recognition and is good for their bottom line, the issues discussed during the, frankly, strange videos are indeed worth while. Quality, responsibly grown meat and produce is key to the burrito joints success but shouldn't that be the case for all of our restaurants and meals? Shouldn't all restaurants be concerned about the quality of the ingredients they put on our plate? "You are what you eat" is a phrase everyone has heard at some point in their life. If most of were what we ate we'd likely be ashamed. Who wants to be a burger or a two-liter? I find it interesting that a country with a saying like "You are what you eat" continues to allow factory farmed meat and fertilizer laced produce into our bodies without much foresight into how these things are leading to disease of both man and planet. I say "without much foresight" because there are people who discuss produce integrity, if you will, and who fight the good fight but as a whole our nation has let agribusiness run the show. Its similar to letting the fox gaurd the hen house.
Our farming culture allows the majority of produce to be grown with pesticides and fertilizers that are made of unpronounceable compounds. Chickens and animals raised for meat are kept indoors all day with no access to grass or sunshine. The term "farmed and dangerous" is not far off. Its a cute play on words that carries a lot of meaning. The pesticides that are sprayed on acreage all across the country are harmful to those who spray them, the consumers who eat that produce, and the plants themselves.
I no longer want to put up with "farmed and dangerous" produce and protein. Its not a status-quo I am willing to literally swallow. How do we fight for "farmed and wholesome?"
If you'd like to watch "Farmed and Dangerous": http://farmedanddangerous.com/