Monday, September 16, 2013

Don't Pick on Me, Chipotle

“Tom, don't let anybody kid you. It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of s*** every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell..."
Mario Puzo The Godfather

That's my reaction to the new Chipotle cartoon/video game.  Not subtle, but then, there is nothing subtle about the advertisement either.  Winsome but troubled knight with a peg nose and straw hat rebels against the 'Man'...or the 'Birds'(Hitchcock anyone?) and forges his own way, finding true happiness and the moral high ground simultaneously.  This general theme is no more original to advertising than it is to literature.  It finds its way into commercials quite often;  the latest incarnation being the Infiniti 'Factory of Life' assembly line. These appeals to our independence and individuality enlist us to be 'we few, we happy few, we band of brothers.'; which of us sees himself as just another guy waiting in line for his 100 percent beef-ish?  Whose life long dream is to belong to the Machine?

Well, trust me when I tell you that my friends, Romans, countrymen out here in outer rural Missouri see themselves as the rugged hard working independent minded stewards of God's green earth and practitioners of sustainable husbandry for the plants and animals under their care.  When they see the label 'BIG FOOD' and the derisive and ironic billboard proclaiming

they will be dismayed, offended, and wonder why a BIG FOOD company like Chipotle is picking on them.  We can't all be local providers as Chipotle would desire. And we don't have to squeeze into the narrow  but deliberately nebulous definition of an acceptable type of agricultural operation to be real farmers and ranchers contributing not just food and fiber to our society, but stability, tradition, and yes, initiative and  even entrepreneurship. Some of us are indeed bigger than others, but even farms with sales similar to the average Chipotle restaurant.(1.8 million dollars) are operated overwhelmingly by family farmers, not whatever shadowy boogieman BIG FOOD is supposed to be.

Don't get me wrong: Chipotle has attracted gobs of attention from all sorts of media outlets.  The site garnered 450,000 views in its first day.  And that's big business in anyone's book.  Goodness knows this little screed won't measure a blip on the Scarecrow's radar.  Nonetheless, I would like to rebut the idea that we are faceless nameless Crow-bots out here.  I don't have a production company but I do have a camera.  So here you go:  

PeeWee showmen at the county fair

Keeping the greenhouse safe

Helping Grandma seed

New piggies arrive
Production manager and smiley face

View west, summer sunset
Family farm circa 1980

Where mud is a toy I

Hand labor

A boy and his wheels

Short crop 2013

Suppertime harvest style

Typical bean sunset

Heading to the garden

Quality family time

Where water is a toy

Winter maintenance above ground

Flower child
View west winter wind

Where mud is a toy II
April showers


Birthday party in the field, October

Whistle while you work

A teaching moment

West view with cornflowers 

Sure, I know its nothing personal.  Its just business. Still....

Don't pick on me, Chipotle

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