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Chipotle joins forces with Slow Food

Chipotle Mexican Grill is taking another unconventional marketing tack, this time in collaboration with a usual adversary of chain restaurants and quick-service concepts in particular, Slow Food USA.

Under what Chipotle termed a “partnership,” the burrito chain will provide $500,000 to build or sustain about 100 school gardens in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas. Slow Food will provide additional funding and a model curriculum for teaching youngsters about food.

“With this new partnership, we want to give children access t a hands-on learning experience at their schools, to teach them how food is grown, and the importance of cooking and healthy eating,” Chipotle CMO Mark Crumpacker said in a statement.

Chipotle’s claim of delivering “food with a difference” is the cornerstone of the fast-casual powerhouse’s marketing strategy. The message is delivered in a variety of unconventional means, including Chipotle-sponsored food and music festivals, the airing of documentaries that criticize the traditional food supply chain, and the use of YouTube videos to contrast sustainable agriculture with so-called food-factories.

Slow Food is an international organization that aims to promote the pleasures and rituals of a leisurely shared meal.  The emphasis is on savoring food, not convenience and speedy consumption.

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