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1st Annual Cultivate Chicago Festival

By Shantrell Rogers, Staff Writer
On October 26, 2011


Chipotle Mexican Grill hosted its first annual Cultivate Chicago festival in Lincoln Park on Oct. 1 celebrating music, food and local farming; musical performances included The Cave Singers, Mayer Hawthorne & The County, as well as headliners Calexico.

   Known for its commitment to making better food from more sustainable sources, Chipotle hosted Cultivate Chicago to raise awareness about food and issues pertaining to certain foods .In partnership with Chipotle's Cultivate Foundation, proceeds from items sold at the food stands went to, a Chicago based, non-profit organization whose mission isto expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of Chicago communities.

   Cultivate Chicago featured food demonstrations by world-renowned chefs with ingredients sourced from farms from in the Chicago area, includinghighly acclaimed chef Michael Chiarello, of Bravo's Top Chef, and Amanda Freitag, star of the Food Network. Representatives of four local farms were present, including Kankakee-operated Three Sisters Garden, whose nine-acre farm produces vegetables like heirloom tomatoes, summer and winter squashes, and huitlacoche mushrooms. The Marengo, Illinois farm, Nichols Farm & Orchards, provided the tomatoes that were used in Michael Chiarello's Tomato Strozzapretti recipe.

   With ample food available, Cultivate Chicago also put the spotlight on several regional breweries including Regional Great Lakes Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, and Chicago's own Goose Island Beer Company. In keeping line with Chipotle's goal to raise awareness, attendees were encouraged to check out the five "experience" tents—those interested enough to visit at least four of the five tents earned a free Chipotle burrito.

   At the Cinema Tent, guests could see short films about food, farmers, and the environment; viewers of films in the Animals Tent learned about the differences between animals raised in confinement and those raised more naturally. In the Food Tent, festival attendees learned about sustainable farming and ingredients.

   To learn more about the FamilyFarmed and its mission, visit www.familyfarmed.organd

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