A few weeks ago, I walked into the new Chipotle in town for the dozenth or so time, as always, admiring their LED lighting and commitment to natural food.  When I reached the checkout, burrito in tow, a manager approached and asked if I, the guy who has brought in the same Chipotle bag 15 times for re-use, would like to join their Farm Team.  It’s a journey only a few have the opportunity to take (20 per location), so I was in with a grin.

Farm Team – Why Me?

I’m no more special than the next guy, girl, or kitty who cares a whole lot.  Sure, there are standard perks to the invite.  I got a free burrito.  But I don’t think that’s why they chose me.  It’s not a simple thank you for being a frequent patron.  To start, the manager asked me “why do you come here?”  I just pointed at their mission and said I loved it – in many ways, it is also my mission.

Farm Team, and the journey it unlocks,  is Chipotle’s way of saying “see all this sustainable farming stuff we support?  We rock.  You should tell everyone we do, too.”  I’m a little bit convinced so far.  There’s a long way to go, lots to learn, and share.

The Design

Farm Team’s a big, sweet application packed full of goodies.  There are four full chapters of content, each split into three parts.  A new part unlocks each week, which means it’ll take me over 70 days to experience everything.

Farm Team Main PageEach part is stocked with five different things to do:

  1. Points of information (which I can share on Facebook or Twitter) about problems with many modern farming practices (did you know that industrial cows produce 2 billion pounds of poo a year?  And that no one knows what to do with it, so it sits around in poo ponds that stink up the place and leak into groundwater?  Yikes.  Makes you wonder how much poo pond space remains.)
  2. Questions (which test my knowledge about farming practices – for example, how much light do factory-farmed pigs see each day?  None.)
  3. Polls (like, how hot do I like my salsa?  Super mild, of course.  I’m weak-tongued.)
  4. Games (the tile flip game is too complicated to explain here – ask me about it if you’re curious)
  5. Videos (the first was about Nimen Ranch, a sustainable meat grower who is also committed to rebuilding the heartland’s native grasslands, 99.9% of which have been eradicated)

While learning lots of new stuff, I earn badges for a variety of things (many of them involve sharing content).  I can review my progress and stats, or review previously explored information.  I’m digging it a whole lot so far.

The Journey

According to their founder, Chipotle wants to redefine fast food.

They recently opened the first LEED Platinum certified restaurant (of any type) in the United States.  Here are some of its specs, if you’re interested.  Their commitment to forward thinking design appears to be formidable.

As my journey in Farm Team continues, I will gradually watch the industrial landscape you see in the photo above shift into what they believe the land should look like – green and vibrant.

By offering this opportunity, they have asked me to join in making their vision a reality.  In many ways, their journey is our journey, just on a different level.  I firmly believe that this experience will greatly, in ways I cannot even yet imagine, enhance our ability to make this epic transition.

I am scared – jelly and jittering inside.  But I’m even more excited, leaping to a powerful Irish jig.  The thought of each new day, of life, puts a fat smile on my face.

‘Cause a bunch of really smart, dedicated, clever people got my back.  And, in a weird way I can’t feel at all moments, I’ve got their back(s) as well.


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