Last week here at the oldest HUB in the world, we gathered round the kitchen, sang happy birthday to ourselves and then celebrated by gorging on fast food. Not a pretty sight you might be thinking, but thanks to Chipotle Restaurant, a US Mexican chain we were gifted a birthday feast that we could munch down with the consciences of smiling Buddhas.
Like many fast food outlets, Chipotle is trying to prove that fast food doesn’t necessarily mean junk food. But unlike most chains, Chipotle has actually translated this into enough sustainability leg work to make it worth talking about.
Localism, for example, has been an important value for Chipotle, and they can proudly say they are one of the only US chains to actively try and source from nearby small farmers (within 350 miles) – meaning less food miles, stronger rural communities and fresher food. That floats our boat here at the HUB where we are also thinking a lot about our sustainability influence through supporting small, independent organisations and local economies – whether it’s our members, suppliers or neighbours.
Happy, healthy animals in your burritos is another commitment Chipotle are working on. It’s no fun being reminded that much of the meat we buy is pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, but their point that “we think arsenic [for chickens] sounds a lot like poison” is a serious one. Even Chipotle has struggled over the years in the face of mainstream farming practices to fulfil their commitment of sourcing animals with integrity. So being scrupulous consumers and supporting those businesses that are trying to do right by animals is essential for change. And you can be sure of that here in the UK too, where Chipotle has been given two Compassion in World Farming awards for its efforts.
Chipotle captured the hearts and minds of consumers with their tv ad “Back to the Start” in 2011 against factory farming practices. So I’m including it here to fill you with joy even if you can’t get down to one of their six London outlets to fill yourself with burrito anytime soon. If you’d like to find out more about their sustainability commitments, check out their “Food with Integrity” pages.
So thanks very much to the Chipotle gang in Angel Islington for your random act of birthday kindness, and if readers are looking for a quick food spot in London you can find Chipotle restaurants at:
334 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1
114-116 Charing Cross Road WC2H
101-103 Baker Street W1U
181-185 Wardour Street W1F
334 Upper Street N1
92-93 St. Martins Lane WC2N
40 Wimbledon Hill Road SW19