Are big chain restaurants part of the problem or can they be part of the solution when it comes to local foods?
That's the key question at this month's Local Foods Happy Hour hosted by Common Roots next Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. (the presentation beings about 5:45). Chipotle marketing consultants Mike Fuller and Ben Mattson will talk about Chipotle's efforts to source local ingredients and discuss the pros and cons of large corporations sourcing local ingredients.
Chipotle has embraced a "food with integrity" philosophy in which they strive to use ingredients that are unprocessed, seasonal, family-farmed, sustainable, organic and hormone-free. The website says 100 percent of Chipotle chicken is naturally sourced and 50 percent of their beef--a feat, so far as I know, no other major chain restaurant has accomplished.
As far as local sourcing, some aspects are impossible (who's growing avocados in Minnesota?), but I understand that Chipotle has made some progress with meats and dairy products. Will local foods activists souse the Chipotle crew with Surly taps or break (organic) bread with them? Find out on Tuesday.