Friday, September 13, 2013

I'll have a burrito with extra salsa, hold the bull****

I had every intention of taking a nap during my lunch break today, but I made the unfortunate error of clicking a link to Chipotle's new video promoting their "Scarecrow" game.

Sigh.

Once again, a restaurant chain is vilifying and grossly misrepresenting the way that most farmers raise food. I guess they have to manufacture enough contrast to make what they sell appear to be the far superior (both nutritionally and ethically) food that it really isn't. But I have to hand it to them, it's a good marketing strategy that really strikes an emotional chord. If I didn't know anything about agriculture and was willing to take their word for it, I'd probably buy in to their message.

Milking time at Gilmer Dairy Farm
I could probably spend two hours angrily pounding out a thorough rebuttal, but I have dairy cows to tend to and a crop to harvest this afternoon. While I'm doing that, I would encourage you to look around this blog, my farm's website, and our YouTube channel. You can follow me on Twitter, too! Then check out a few of the many, many other farmers who are sharing their stories over the internet and social media. Once you do, I think you'll see that modern agriculture and the way we go about the business of producing food looks nothing like the horror story Chipotle and others (I'm looking at you, Panera Bread) is trying to scare you with.

In closing, I have heard that Chipotle serves some really tasty Mexican food. I might give them a try someday and order a burrito with extra salsa...but only if they'll hold the bull****.

7 comments:

Fairhope Supply Co. said...

I clicked over to watch the video - it's beautifully made. I saw it a different way - that the scarecrow represented the real farmers and it was the industrial, commercial side of the market that was ruining food - not the farmer.
It makes you want to buy straight from the farm. Maybe we'll get more local markets opening again.

Glad you shared this with us.

Will Gilmer said...

I can see where you're coming from and agree that the food processing and distribution side of the equation is much more corporate and less personal than it once was. What really irked me was the way they negatively displayed the chicken and cows, which reflect back to the production (farmer) side.

And lest there be any confusion, I am fully in favor of companies selling what they want to sell and people buying what they want to buy. I'm just not a fan of marketing that seems to condemn "big agriculture" because "big ag" is at its core thousands of small family farmers who depend on modern technology, efficiency, and off-site distribution to sustain their businesses.

Rachel said...

I'm glad there are farmers out there like you that are assuring us that the propaganda is not necessarily true! I'm tired of hearing about how everything about my food is going to kill me.

Will Gilmer said...

Thanks, Rachel! Most of us don't sell the food we raise directly to consumers anymore, so we've lost that built-in line of communication. We farmers have to be proactive about using other channels (social media for example) to have conversations and answer questions about the way we are producing food.

Jennifer Topanga said...

I've visited your region and it is beautiful. I believe real country operations like yours are what the video promotes as the ideal. Sadly, the majority of Americans are eating rock-bottom priced foods produced in a fashion necessitated by said pricing. I've seen firsthand the mass-producing operations that the "cheaper bigger faster" industry requires and it is not pretty. Those are what I am reminded of by the Scarecrow video.

It looks like you practice real husbandry and that is what we need more of. I live in a state that has an economy bigger than many countries and we somehow manage to treat our farmlands and livestock like slop. Very sad.

But you look like the real deal and Chipotle should be buying from you.

Will Gilmer said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jennifer. I can say with a lot of confidence that any farm that doesn't focus on raising healthy livestock/poultry and sustainable land management won't be in operation for very long. We have to be efficient to increase our food production, but we can't do so at the expense of quality.

Ultimately, a farm's ability to produce safe, nutritious food isn't as much about its size or the way it looks from the outside as it is about the ability of the farmers to manage it.

Don Schindler said...

Great commentary, Will. It's tough not to attack things like this. Cartoons only last so long in people's minds and I'm happy that when they do reach out to find the truth about agriculture in their area, they'll get a thoughtful response from someone who cares about how they see his farm. Keep up the great work.