The program will support companies that are working to break down the barriers that stand in the way of young farmers’ success
American farming is at a crossroads that needs solutions to overcome its great challenges. Whether it’s about growing food, seeking land or purchasing a composting system, farmers are burdened with debt overload. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm debt is pushed to hit a record of $416 billion, up almost 40% since 2012. Most small and mid-size farmers committed to farming in an ethical and sustainable way need help to have a chance to succeed – both for the sake of the future of real nutritious food and the communities that rely on those farms. Chipotle Mexican Grill, an American chain of fast-casual restaurants in the U.S., announced the Chipotle Aluminaries Project 2.0, an accelerator program aimed to support ventures that are advancing innovative solutions to empower the next generation of farmers across the country.
To make real food accessible
It began in December when Chipotle decided to implement a scalable solution to farm challenges via three-year contracts through approved suppliers, seed grants and increased local sourcing. Within a month, the Company has donated over $385K to the National Young Farmers Coalition to help farmers during this steep agriculture downturn.
From today until March 11, 2020, farmer-focused companies can submit applications to join a new cohort of ventures that will receive eight months of customized support, including mentorship from industry leaders.
The project is seeking applicants (both for and non-profits) that provide a solution to one of the top challenge areas faced by young farmers, including access to land, finance, and labor. The selected applicants will receive solutions in AgTech, education, and wellness-focused for the next generation of farmers.
To encourage next generation of farmers
The selected ventures will receive support and mentorship from renowned industry leaders, including Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea; Ken Meyer, Former Global VP of Whole Foods Market; Robyn O’Brien, co-founder of rePlant Capital; and Brian Irving, Chief Marketing Officer of Eventbrite; as well as Chipotle executives.
Ventures will participate in a five-day, in-person summit hosted by Chipotle in Newport Beach, Calif., with direct access to mentors who will focus on key areas of scale-like strategy, leadership, finances, and systems.
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.
“The Aluminaries Project is the first accelerator program we’ve seen that emphasizes the accelerations of sustainable business practices. As mission-driven entrepreneurs, we believe this program helped us strengthen our value and stay true to our purpose,” said Eugene Wang, Founder of Sophie’s Kitchen Plant-Based Seafood (One of 2019’s selected venture)