Chipotle Mexican Grill announced a partnership with Slow Food USA to create or support about 100 schools gardens in 10 metropolitan areas across the country. Through hands-on discovery and an innovative school curriculum, the organizations hope to cultivate a generation of kids who care more about where food comes from and how it is prepared.

 “With this new partnership, we want to give children access to a hands-on learning experience at their schools, to teach them how food is grown, and the importance of cooking and healthy eating,”says Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing and development officer at Chipotle.

With the help of nearly $500,000 from Chipotle, the two organizations will work together to build or support 100 school gardens in 10 metropolitan areas across the country, including Austin; Boston; Dallas; Denver; Long Island, New York and northern New Jersey; Louisville; Miami; Orange County, California; Phoenix; and San

Diego. Local Slow Food USA chapters will provide a host of services to support each program including a customized curriculum, funding, labor, and other resources to match the needs of the individual schools and/or districts, while also offering in-depth technical assistance. Chipotle will provide funding through micro grants, in-restaurant fundraisers and hands-on support.

Chipotle has been a longtime supporter of educational gardens, and by focusing its efforts on the Slow Food USA School National Garden Program, the company can expand its involvement in this area. In the past, both Chipotle and Slow Food USA have supported school gardens, Chipotle having contributed more than $1 million to support about 50 school, community, and educational garden programs across the country in 2013, and Slow Food USA having started and/or maintained 313 school gardens nationwide, engaging more than 21,000 children in growing, preparing, and sharing fresh food.

"This partnership will dramatically increase the impact that our National School Garden Program will have by extending our reach deeper into communities and offering greater access to gardens and food education to children across the country," says Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA. "Chipotle is a company that is working to change fast food from the inside out, and we're thrilled to be working with them to take our Garden Program to the next level."

Both Slow Food USA and Chipotle share a belief in making better food widely available. Slow Food USA is committed to good, clean, and fair food for all, and Chipotle aims to change the way people think about and eat fast food by using ingredients that are raised with respect for the land, the animals, and the farmers. Separately, each organization has made significant strides in their respective areas, and together, they will work to improve the food culture in schools across the U.S.

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