Steve Ells, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s founder, chairman and CEO, has been named to the board of directors of The Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to addressing sustainable agriculture issues.

“Chipotle is changing the way the world thinks about and eats fast food by making gourmet food, made with more sustainably raised ingredients, available to everyone,” Ells says. “Our mission is very compatible with the work of The Land Institute, which is working to develop an agricultural system with the ecological stability of the native prairie and a grain yield that is comparable to annual crops. In different ways, both the Land Institute and Chipotle are working to profoundly and positively change food culture.”

“We’ve always admired Steve’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and how Chipotle is dramatically improving the quality of food that is available to people in this country,” says Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute. “We value his leadership and his vision of ‘Food With Integrity,’ which works in concert with our goal of building ecologically stable agricultural systems.”

Food With Integrity is Chipotle’s constant process of searching for food that is raised or grown with respect for the land, the environment, the animals, and the people who produce the food. This vision has led Chipotle to serve more naturally raised meat (from animals that are humanely raised, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet) than any other restaurant company, more than 52 million pounds in 2008.

In addition, all of Chipotle’s dairy products are made with milk from cows that are not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), used to stimulate milk production in dairy cattle. Chipotle is also purchasing an increasing quantity of organically grown beans, and exploring opportunities to source locally grown produce.

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