Chipotle's Rose Parade float looks to fund young farmers

The reality is that the average age of American farmers is 58.

Chipotle Mexican Grill will sponsor a float in the Rose Parade on January 1 with a theme that honors farmers, as the restaurant chain continues to underscore ingredients in its marketing.

The Chipotle float, "Cultivate the Future of Farming," will feature a handful of farmers and an iconic red tractor amid mounds of raw peppers, lettuce and other produce featured on the menu and showcased in advertising. 

It will also be the first "post-to-donate" float at the Rose Bowl. Anyone who uses the hashtag #farmers on January 1, 2020 on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts will unlock a $1 donation to the National Young Farmers Coalition from Chipotle, totaling up to $250,000. 

"We’ve always been connected to farmers, they are critical to our supply chain," said Chipotle Marketing VP Stephanie Perdue.

Farmers are also becoming key to the greater marketing message. Chipotle’s ongoing "for Real" campaign by Venables Bell + Partners features employees chopping, dicing and cooking ingredients, which come to the stores from farms whole and not processed through a food-service company. The campaign will continue to run in 2020.

Along with the float post-to-donate fundraiser, Chipotle, based in Newport Beach, Calif., recently announced Farmer Fridays. During its first one on December 6th, every entree purchased on the website or through the app netted a $1 donation, also up to $250,000 to fund grants for young farmers. 

"We think it is important to start a conversation around supporting farmers," said Perdue. "We heard customers desire to keep this way of life going. People want access to real ingredients."

The reality is that the average age of American farmers is 58. Younger people who want to farm today often cannot afford the price of entry - land, equipment and time to grow. 

In addition to funding grants for young farmers to get started, Chipotle is awarding three-year contracts to some, to give young entrepreneurs a steady piece of a big business.

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