Chipotle Funds Community Garden In South Central

On November 14, A Place Called Home (APCH) will host a dedication ceremony to unveil its newly renovated community garden, funded by a $10,000 donation from Chipotle Mexican Grill. The garden is one facet of APCH’s Urban Garden Oasis project, aimed at integrating nutrition and gardening education into curriculum at the center and in the greater South Central community. The festive event will kick-off at 4 p.m. and include speakers from APCH, Chipotle, and the L.A. City Council, discussing the new partnership, programs, and impact on the local South Central community. To further commemorate the launch, APCH members will plant a raised plot with items featured throughout Chipotle’s menu, including onions, cilantro, tomatoes, tomatillos, romaine lettuce, and jalapeño, poblano, and green bell peppers.

APCH is a safe haven for underserved youth in South Central Los Angeles, with members ranging from 8 to 21 years old. The center is dedicated to enriching the community through educational programs, counseling, and mentorship. The mission of the Urban Garden Oasis project is to teach APCH members, during after-school programs, about nutrition and healthy eating, growing produce locally, and how to cultivate the on-site community garden. The project kicked-off with a renovation of APCH’s on-site garden, planting new raised beds to be cultivated and harvested by APCH members, offering hands-on learning from starting with the seed.

The Urban Garden Oasis project will also focus on integrating the community surrounding APCH by looking for new plots throughout the neighborhood. Additionally, donations to the project will help fund the annual Food & Garden Expo, a wellness day where the whole family can visit APCH for health screenings and nutrition and gardening education.

“We value the work that APCH does within the community, fostering productive and inspiring after-school curriculum that now includes gardening,” says Libby Balsiger, Chipotle Marketing Strategist. “This program will help to teach the next generation about where their food comes from, and why local and sustainable food sources are important.”

“We are excited to join Chipotle in this amazing opportunity to influence food culture in the South Central community on an intergenerational level. Our initiative to inspire our children, parents, and the local community through urban gardening, nutrition, and education is fundamental,” says Director of Programs Tarabu Betserai Kirkland. “It roots power in the hands of our communities so they have the resources to lead a healthier lifestyle, gain access to fresh, locally grown food, and gain a deep understanding of the care and well-being of the land.”

Chipotle is dedicated to utilizing local produce and supporting local, family-owned farms and sustainable food sources. In 2013, Chipotle will have served more than 15 million pounds of locally grown produce from a network of more than 70 farms. Although on a much smaller, micro scale, community gardens offer an opportunity to get people involved in the process and help foster a better understanding of growing local food.

About Chipotle

Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and Responsibly Raised® with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates more than 1,550 restaurants. For more information, visit

About A Place Called Home

A Place Called Home (APCH) is a safe haven in South Central Los Angeles where underserved youth are empowered to take ownership of the quality and direction of their lives through programs in education, arts and well-being, and are inspired to make a meaningful difference in their communities and the world. Core programs work in conjunction with one another to support APCH members in avoiding destructive behaviors by developing life skills and motivation to overcome adversity, make healthy productive choices and take advantage of the opportunities that lie before them. For more information, visit