- Keith Hamm, Action Sports
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MegaRamp pioneer and seven-time X Games gold medalist Bob Burnquist has broken new ground at his ramp compound in Southern California.
No, he didn't invent another contorted skate trick to add to his already vast competitive arsenal. This groundbreaking is about food.
The 34-year-old, Brazilian-born regular-footer has teamed up with sponsor Chipotle Mexican Grill to grow new varieties of organic peppers, tomatoes, and avocados on his 12-acre property in Vista, just east of Oceanside.
The project is called the Chipotle Research Garden, and the first row of tomatoes are right next to the drop-in of his backyard MegaRamp. The roughly quarter-acre plot will primarily provide research data for the restaurant chain as it explores new flavors for its menu. But it will also provide fresh organic produce for Burnquist and his family, and locally grown nutrition for locals in need.
"We will be working with places in the community that need the food," Burnquist told ESPN.com via telephone during vert practice at the Dew Tour's first stop, the Pantech Open, in Ocean City, Maryland.
"It will be a marketing garden and a place we can educate about organic farming," he added. "We can teach everything from picking a good spot and building garden beds to contouring the terrain so you can save water, and how to deal with pests by providing nearby nesting areas for owls."
On that educational front, Burnquist is planning to put together videos about farming -- with some skating thrown in, of course -- that can be shown at schools.
"We're supporting Bob in this project because he is a like-minded guy who shares our food ethos," Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told the San Diego Tribune. "We think it's important for people to understand where food comes from and why that is so important, and Bob's project is a good one to shed some light on that."
According to its website, Chipotle's "Food with Integrity" slogan touts the company's "commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment, and the farmers."
Farmer Scott Murray, 58, who worked previously with Burnquist growing organic produce for a restaurant that the skateboarder had owned, said that Chipotle is "probably one of the top organizations in the food industry for practicing what they preach. And I'll give you an example: They have a little over 1,000 restaurants, and each one supports two small family pork farms."
"One of the things I'm committed to is helping kids understand what I call food literacy," Murray added, explaining that it's important to know about healthy food and where it comes from. "Bob's committed to that, too, because he can't do what he does on a skateboard if he doesn't take care of his body."
Bob Burnquist teams up with sponsor Chiptole for new organic farming project called Chipotle Research Garden