For every patron of Chipotle Mexican Grill who orders a side of guacamole during Farmers’ Market Week, the Farmer-Veteran Coalition will grow a little bit greener.
The restaurant chain decided to team with the coalition for two reasons, Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s director of communications, wrote in an e-mail.
“More than 300 farmers walk away from their land each week,” he said. “And at the same time, many veterans are looking for work. Providing opportunities for them to begin farming is a great alternative.”
This is the first time the coalition has worked with Chipotle, but Michael O’Gorman, coalition executive director, said he hoped the partnership continues.
The goal of the veteran coalition is to develop "real farmers," O’Gorman said.
“We’re seeing young men and women who we think are going to be real (assets) and become leaders to the industry," he said. "The more we hook up with people who are successful leaders in the industry and hook them up with our people, it will be just tremendous.”
The 4-year-old coalition works with military veterans who seek agricultural careers, whether they want to start farming themselves or work for a farm or allied industry, said Sasha Klein, fellowship fund coordinator.
It also sponsors conferences and other educational programs, offers small-scale grants and serves as an information database for veteran-farmers.
Chipotle goes through about 97,000 pounds of avocados a day, according to a news release.
Altogether, the chain consumes about 4% of California’s annual avocado harvest, according to the release.