I’ve given each of those people the same response – a family friend once told me that you should never send an email when you’re mad.
You can write the email, but then you should sleep on it, let someone else read it, think about it, etc… but never send it while you’re mad.
The way I see it, writing a blog post when you’re mad is even worse than writing an email. I started writing a Chipotle post several times but each draft was filled with anger and frustration so I decided to to wait until I wasn’t mad anymore.
Today, I decided to stop waiting.
I’m still mad.
No, mad doesn’t really describe it.
Farming, agriculture and the rural lifestyle all make up a major part of who I am.
It is ingrained deep in my soul.
It is a part of every childhood memory, every family function, every friend I confide in, every career decision I’ve ever made and every aspect of my life.
So whenever Chipotle decides to release another marketing campaign full of half-truths and exaggerations that smears the name of family farmers, I don’t see it as an attack on “big ag.”
I see it as an attack on my family and friends.
An attack on my dad who spends so many early mornings and late nights caring for the cattle and pigs on our farm and then goes to his “day job” and helps other farmers learn how to try new things on their farms to better care for their animals and land.
An attack on my mom, who has always worked alongside my dad on the farm, whether that means fixing fences in the summer heat or hauling feed buckets through the mud and snow to make sure our cattle are fed. A woman who taught three daughters to work as hard as any man and two sons to be compassionate and patient with a sick animal while nursing it back to health.
An attack on farm kids, like my siblings and I, who got up extra early before school to feed our animals. Kids who seldom got to sleep late on weekends or watch Saturday morning cartoons because we had farm chores to do.
An attack on young families like Aaron and I who are cutting coupons and saving every spare dime to someday have a farm of our own and chase our dream of raising our family on a farm. Families who know that the world is changing and growing but that we will always need farmers who are willing to dedicate their lives to feeding their communities.
An attack on my friend David (blog) and his family who raise chickens and never inject them with hormones (which is ILLEGAL, by the way!)
An attack on my friends Carrie (blog) and Emily (blog) and their families’ dairy farms. Emily’s family farm is organic and Carrie’s is not but on neither farm are cows locked in dark boxes like they are in Chipotle’s latest video.
I would love to go through the Chipotle videos and point out every exaggeration, misleading image and blatant lie.
Unfortunately, I’m still too hurt for that. If started writing today I probably wouldn’t be able to edit out the anger and frustration before Christmas.
Seriously, she does an amazing job with this post!
There were moments while reading it that felt like she had just written down my own thoughts on this issue.
Here’s my favorite part:
“The problem with this is that you can’t be kind of pro-farmer any more than you can be kind-of pregnant. You’re either pro-farmer or you’re not.
More than 98% of America’s farms are family farms. Most of them, a full 91%, are small family farms at that.
What most consumers think they’re getting behind when they support companies and initiatives that purport to fight against “factory farms” and the farms that are actually negatively targeted by most of the advertising these companies and initiatives do are two very different things.”
So whether you consider yourself “pro-farmer,” are disgusted by the complete disregard to ethics in Chipotle’s advertising approach or like me, you’re angry and hurt that Chipotle is attacking family farmers, I hope you won’t give Chipotle another penny of your hard earned money.
If you have questions about where your food comes from or how it is raised, I’d be happy to connect you to some family farming friends.
They’d love to answer your questions with their own photos and experiences (instead of cartoons and touchy-feely music).
Just ask in the comments, or drop me a note on the contact page.