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Family farmers (as in "Farm Aid") are a favorite cause of Our Hero and Smoked Saint Willie Nelson. Chipotle Mexican Grill joins him in the cause to raise up to $1 million to benefit small family farmers through its annual “Boorito” Halloween fundraiser. Customers visiting any Chipotle restaurant on Monday, October 31st from 6 p.m. to closing, dressed in a costume inspired by the family farm (hey, try an old plaid shirt and straw hat) , will be treated to a burrito, order of tacos, salad, or burrito bowl for only $2, and Chipotle will donate proceeds (up to $1 million) to Farm Aid and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

I know (from many past email squabbles) that many readers lump in Chipotle with the other fast-food outlets, but I've always been pretty pleased that founder Steve Ells never gave up his ideals, even when he sold the company to Mickey D's -- he did so with lots of stipulatons in the contract to preserve his idealistic thrust. And so it still goes, with Niman beef and pork and a "we do it your way" menu that allows you to eat healthy IF you want to.

Now comes a benefit, called "boorito," to benefit small family farmers nation-wide. All ya gotta do is dress up a little and eat a little. Customers visiting any Chipotle restaurant on Monday, October 31st from 6 p.m. to close dressed in a costume inspired by the family farm will be treated to a burrito, order of tacos, salad, or burrito bowl for only $2, and Chipotle will donate proceeds (up to $1 million) to Farm Aid and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

Boorito 2011 also features an online costume contest. To participate, customers dressed in a costume inspired by the family farm — such as humanely raised animals, family farmers, or locally grown veggies — must take a photo of themselves visiting a Chipotle restaurant on Halloween, and upload it online at Chipotle.com/Boorito or by texting “COSTUME” to 888222. One grand prize winner will receive $2,500, and five runners up will receive $1,000 each. Twenty honorable mention winners will receive a burrito party for 10 guests.

A short film released earlier this month by Chipotle and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation depicts the scary reality facing many family farms. Each week, 330 family farms are deserted, bringing frightening consequences to rural America. The film encourages people to “Show Family Farmers Some Love This Halloween” by participating in Boorito, and features an acoustic cover of “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” made famous in a duet by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and sung by Karen O, lead singer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The film can be seen at www.cultivatefoundation.org.

Oh, talking of fast food, and unlike Chipotle's, this stuff is NOT good for you -- Popeye's Fried Chicken is poised to open nearly 40 more shops in SoCal, concentrating on SD.. I hope they find a space for one in my neighborhood. "They're awful, they're terrible, take 'em away, I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say". as the old blues goes -- BUT they've maintained a regional identity of N'awleans, so they're not just another blob of vanilla in the mall like most others. Also, for awhile they hired my friend Stanley Jackson (ex-Commander's Palace) to come in and remake their menu. (I also nearly like Denny's, for its distinct southern slant especially at breakfast, except that repeated complaints of racial discrimination from its customers hint that too many branches still tend to the bad old times kind of southern.)

Anyway, go have fun on Halloween and help small farmers with your burrito at Chipotle.

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