The Scarecrow: A View Of The Future, Or Attack On Family Farmers?
A three minute video released by Denver-based Chipotle is ruffling feathers of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Featuring a scarecrow, the animated short was released by the restaurant chain to promote a video game highlighting the company's 'commitment to food with integrity.'
“The ‘Scarecrow’ campaign perpetuates two of the greatest fallacies of modern food production,” Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said in a prepared statement.
One, Nelson said, is “the myth of the American ‘factory farm.’”
The other is that “people involved in raising food care only about profit and do so at the expense of their animals and our natural resources.”
Speaking to USA Today, Chipotle’s Chief Marketing Officer Mark Crumpacker says the short is trying to educate people about where their food comes from. Another Chipotle Spokesperson, Danielle Winslow says it's a “symbolic cautionary tale that depicts a future world where all food is processed and the ingredients come only from industrialized sources.”
Farmers say as the number of farms decreases, they need to be as efficient as possible in order to ‘feed the world.’ And that sometimes means using technology like genetically modified seed and pesticides.
According to Charles Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, "U.S. farmers have a tremendous sense of pride in the fact that they've been able to help feed the world."
The Center is trying to combat videos like The Scarecrow by building consumer trust in big farming.
They say their hope is to dispel “growing skepticism about today’s food.”
However, that may be hard to do. Arnot says in a Center for Food Integrity focus group, many people asserted if feeding the world means more industrial-scale farming, they're not comfortable with it.