NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., May 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) announced today the second class of ventures for the Chipotle Aluminaries Project 2.0, an accelerator program designed to support growth-stage ventures from across the country who are working on solutions to address problems facing today's young farmers. The industry-leading program is sponsored by the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in partnership with Uncharted, both nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. The seven-month annual accelerator program will connect ventures to the people and organizations they need in order to scale their solutions including mentors, funders and partners.
According to a survey conducted by the National Young Farmers Coalition, farmland access is the number one challenge facing young farmers and ranchers. The U.S. is in the midst of a major transition of farmland, with nearly 100 million acres predicted to change hands in the coming years. This trend is likely to persist as the average age of farmers continues to rise. Once land changes hands there is no guarantee farming on the newly sold soil will continue as land is often lost to non-agriculture use. With the additional unprecedented challenges for farmers due to the coronavirus, support has never been more critical.
"As a company dedicated to cultivating a better world and preserving the future of real food, Chipotle is committed to strengthening the farming community and empowering young farmers," said Brian Niccol, Chairman & CEO of Chipotle. "By investing in innovation through our accelerator program, these eight ventures will make a significant impact across areas of need for the farmers of today and tomorrow."
As farmland continues to diminish and the barriers young farmers face continue to increase, all eight selected ventures offer a product or service to empower farmers and make it easier to succeed in today's agriculturally challenged world. From the ability to access land, financial or legal guidance, connections to equipment and education, each business offers a unique solution.
The selected ventures include:
Agrarian Trust: Agrarian Trust is launching a network of Agrarian Commons in communities across the country to acquire and hold farmland in trust, providing farmers with equitable, affordable, secure land access through long-term leases.
American Farmland Trust: American Farmland Trust helps new farmers gain access to land through national and localized networks and services in order to transfer farms from one generation to the next and keep farmland in farming.
Demeter Mobile: Demeter Mobile is bringing the shared economy to agriculture. Pairing growers and service providers, Demeter Mobile is helping connect the farming community with a few taps on an app.
Farm Commons: Farm Commons provides the proactive legal resources that sustainable farmers need to become the stable, resilient foundation of a community-based food system.
F.A.R.M.S: F.A.R.M.S. provides legal services to small farmers while reducing hunger in the farmer's community.
Rogue Farm Corps: Rogue Farm Corps trains and equips the next generation of farmers and ranchers through hands-on educational programs and the preservation of Oregon's farmland.
Viva Farms: Viva Farms empowers aspiring and limited-resource farmers by providing bilingual training in holistic organic farming practices, as well as access to land, infrastructure, equipment, marketing, and capital.
"The Chipotle Aluminaries Project 2.0 ventures are poised to have a major influence on the future of farming. Growing these organizations by focusing on areas of scale, like strategy and leadership, will lead to the growth of our young farmer community," said Caitlin Leibert, Head of Sustainability at Chipotle. "Bringing together the best and the brightest in the industry with a common goal of furthering access and innovation for young farmers is truly inspiring."
For the next seven months, the farmer-focused ventures will receive customized support, including mentorship from industry leaders including Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea; Ken Meyer, Former Executive Vice President of Operations at Whole Foods Market; as well as Chipotle executives. Ventures will also receive individualized investor introductions throughout the program and Chipotle VIP cards, which will provide real food to fuel work sessions all year long.
Chipotle is also empowering the next generation of farmers with increased local sourcing, offering education, scholarships, grants, and guaranteed three-year contracts to young farmers across the nation. Chipotle and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation have contributed over $500,000 to-date to support the next generation of farmers.
ABOUT CHIPOTLE 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 2,600 restaurants as of March 31, 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 85,000 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.
ABOUT THE CHIPOTLE CULTIVATE FOUNDATION Chipotle Mexican Grill established the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in 2011 to extend its commitment to making real food accessible for all. Since its inception, the foundation has contributed more than $5 million to like-minded organizations committed to cultivating a better world through food. For more information, visit WWW.CHIPOTLECULTIVATEFOUNDATION.ORG.
ABOUT UNCHARTED Uncharted is a social impact accelerator that builds coordinated movements of people to tackle problems from all angles. They partner with corporations, foundations, and governments to launch initiatives that connect those working on the same problem and help them go to scale. To date, Uncharted has helped social entrepreneurs raise $315 million, create impact in 96 countries, and benefit 55 million lives. For more information, visit WWW.UNCHARTED.ORG.