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Chipotle Cultivate Festival

October 2, 2011

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Chicago, perfect for the Chipotle Cultivate Festival! Cultivate is “a festival celebrating food, ideas, and music, that brings together farmers, chefs, thought leaders, artists, musicians, and participants like you, on a journey toward a world of more sustainable, wholesome and delicious food.

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The first tent I came upon was the beer and wine tent, also called Brewers Hall. All the beer companies were Midwestern and the wines were local and sustainable. This was a great tent to start with because the attitude was fun and uplifting – everyone was there to have a good time and enjoy the festival!

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I was about to test out a beer when I saw some champagne bottles! I love champagne (big Andre fan in college… does anyone remember that stuff??) but rarely drink it, so I thought this would be a nice treat!

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When I told the woman working at the booth that I preferred sweet, she suggested the Donface Rose. It was delicious! Haha reminded me of that strawberry Andre… but considerably better.

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Walking across the park, I saw the children’s section in the middle. It was full of crafts (all for free!) to entertain the kids, while also trying to share some interesting facts about sustainable and local food! I secretly wanted to decorate my own t-shirt too…

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There were also two different Chef’s tents at the festival, each featuring a cooking demonstration throughout the day with various chefs. This was Chef Bruce Sherman, who is the Chef at Lincoln Park’s North Pond. I’ve always wanted to go there since it’s right on a small pond in the middle of the park! However, I looked it up and it’s a bit pricey for me!

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Next I passed by the main stage, where they had various bands playing throughout the day. Don’t worry, this isn’t a particularly bad band that no one wanted to listen to. They were re-setting the stage for the next band to come on in a bit.

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One of the last tents I visited was the Artisan’s Hall, which was filled with Chicago area food companies. IT was so neat to walk around and see the great products being made right here! I had a sample of some salsa, but didn’t end up buying any food since I had eaten lunch before I went (an attempt to save money!).

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Since the festival was put on by Chipotle, there was also plenty of Chipotle food to go around! They had several tent set up, each serving a different dish from their restaurant.

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The event also had several sponsors, who had tents set up around the festival as well, and were handing out some free stuff! I snagged some Organic Valley Strawberry milk and cheese. I had a few sips of the milk (which was delicious!) but saw it had a lot of sugar so left it at that. I also took a bit of the cheese and it was good as well! More flavor than I expected!

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The other tent that I went by was Honest Tea. Since I love tea, I thought I’d give it a try!

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I snagged a bottle of their Orange Mango to try later (sorry, still unopened!). I’ll probably end up bringing it to school with me this week.

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There was also a Vitamin Water tent, but for some reason I just hate the taste of any kind of flavored water (including poweraid, gatoratde, sparkling water or anything of the sort!).

Another great aspect of the festival was that they had tents set up around the festival where you learned various things about Chipotle and sustainable farming. In each person’s brochure that you were handed when you entered there was a page for getting stamps. If you went around to 4 out of the 5 stations then you could redeem your stamps for a coupon for a free Chipotle entrée! Obviously, I was all over this. I’m glad I went and talked to all the employees too, because it really reminded me of how horribly livestock is treated and how many hormones and antibiotics are in the meat we eat!

Some interesting facts:

  • In 1930, 85% of agricultural production came from family farms, whereas today only 27% comes from family farms.
  • The FDA estimated that 29 million lbs of antibiotics is giving to livestock in the US annually
  • On average, food in the US travels 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to table. At Chipotle, locally sourced food must travel 350 miles or less from farm to restaurant.
  • Chipotle’s Meat: 100% naturally raised pork, 100% naturally raised Barbacoa, 85% naturally raised Chicken, and 80% naturally raised steak.

Is anyone else interested in more sustainable and local foods? What kinds of things have you learned?

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