NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced it is partnering with college student-founded The Farmlink Project and establishing a goal to donate 10 million meals to food banks this holiday season. Chipotle has engaged its supply network, employees and guests to partake by donating their excess crops, volunteering their time, or providing resources to help ensure that food doesn't go to waste. Guests can also support The Farmlink Project by using Chipotle's real change feature and rounding up their bill to the next highest dollar amount when ordering on the Chipotle app or Chipotle.com to contribute.
Food Insecurity in America
The global pandemic has magnified and accelerated the crisis that farmers face around the country, destroying millions of pounds of fresh food due to decreased demand with the closures and capacity restrictions on restaurants, hotels and schools. At the same time, the lines at food banks are becoming increasingly long as nearly 24 million Americans face food insecurity, up by 6 million due to the pandemic*. Founded in 2020 in direct response to this crisis, The Farmlink Project is a nonprofit grassroots movement that connects farms with food banks to feed those in need while supporting essential jobs. The organization fundraises externally to collect surplus produce from farms and suppliers and pay transportation costs in order to deliver fresh food to communities in need.
Comprised of students from colleges and universities across the country, the organization is engaging farmers, including Chipotle's network of suppliers, expanding their reach with over 14 million pounds donated to-date, a goal they hope to nearly double through the partnership.
"As we head into Thanksgiving, we want to express our gratitude to the farmers, truckers, volunteers, contributors, and now everyone in the Chipotle community," said Maxwell Goldman, co-founder of The Farmlink Project. "Together we understand the absurdity of food insecurity in the U.S. and have developed a plan to address its short term challenges this holiday season while also building important farmer relationships and inspiring fan engagement that will benefit our mission for years to come."
"It's incredibly inspiring to know that a group of college students saw a problem and immediately built a scalable solution that will help people in need and reduce waste," said Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer, Chipotle. "We are excited to partner with The Farmlink Project and utilize our network of growers to accelerate their mission of feeding the hungry this holiday season."
Real Change Fueled by Real Food
With 52% of young adults currently living with their parents** and more migrating back home on their college breaks, Chipotle is encouraging young people to support their communities during their down time through The Farmlink Project.
One of Farmlink's most impactful recruiting tools is their growing Instagram channel (www.instagram.com/farmlinkproject). Once prospective volunteers and donors are immersed in Farmlink's content that highlights the severity of food insecurity in the United States, they often seek out ways to get more involved. Starting today, Chipotle is calling upon its massive Gen-Z following to learn more about Farmlink's incredible work and its network of motivated college students. For every 1,000 new followers on The Farmlink Project's Instagram page, Farmlink will drop 1,000 free burritos from their channel, courtesy of Chipotle, up to 5,000 burritos. Chipotle's owned Instagram content will also drive followers to Farmlink's profile and give them an inside look into the organization's efforts and volunteer opportunities.
For more information or to support The Farmlink Project, fans can visit: https://www.farmlinkproject.org/copy-of-get-involved. Farmlink has volunteers throughout the United States, including students from more than 70 different universities. Volunteer opportunities include joining Power Hours, launching a Fundraising Campaign, or being part of Farmlink's internal team.
Chipotle's Commitment to the Ag Community
The recent partnership is another example of Chipotle's continued commitment to the agricultural community. Earlier this year, Chipotle launched a virtual farmers' market on Shopify, powering digital commerce for select supply partners, as well as partnered with Tractor Beverages, donating a percentage of every sale back to farming related causes. Chipotle is also empowering the next generation of farmers by offering education, scholarships, grants, and three-year contracts to young farmers. Chipotle and the CHIPOTLE CULTIVATE FOUNDATION have contributed over $500,000 to-date to support the next generation of farmers through the NATIONAL YOUNG FARMERS COALITION. In 2020, 50 diverse young farmers were awarded $5,000 grants to begin or grow their business, 78% of which represent minorities in the industry. Additionally, Chipotle and Chipotle Cultivate Foundation are helping growth stage ventures across the country to advance innovative solutions in farming through the accelerator program, CHIPOTLE ALUMINARIES PROJECT 2.0.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle had over 2,700 restaurants as of September 30, 2020, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants. With more than 94,000 employees passionate about providing a great guest experience, Chipotle is a longtime leader and innovator in the food industry. Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone while continuing to be a brand with a demonstrated purpose as it leads the way in digital, technology and sustainable business practices. Steve Ells, founder and former executive chairman, first opened Chipotle with a single restaurant in Denver, Colorado in 1993. For more information or to place an order online, visit WWW.CHIPOTLE.COM.
SOURCE Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.