Near-Zero Trash Producers, Founding Farmers, Join Trash Summit

As a farmer-owned company, our sustainability efforts have always been an important part of our mission, which includes mindful management of our trash. Our efforts have led to LEED certifications, 3 Star Green Restaurant Association certifications, and numerous awards, including our most recent Near-Zero Waste Award, one of our two recent GRA wins.

It is therefore no surprise to find a handful of our Founding Farmers team members at the 12th Annual Trash Summit yesterday sponsored by the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

Co-owner Dan Simons participated in the opening panel of this year’s meeting moderated by Michael Berger of Elevation Burger, which focused on seeking “Business Solutions for Plastic Pollution.” The discussion ranged from current plastic reduction efforts to lessons learned to the moderator’s final question: “If you had one wish for other businesses, what would it be?” Simons said his one wish was to inspire other businesses to join Our Last Straw, the non-profit we launched over the summer to build a coalition of restaurants, bars, cafes, and other hospitality-oriented businesses working together to eliminate plastic drinking straws throughout the DC region.

“Our Last Straw is built to be Our Last _____. Our Last (fill in the blank), which can be ‘Our Last Plastic To Go Container’ or ‘Our Last Disposable Fork, etc.” said Simons. “Joining a business-led coalition is critical to driving change.”

Team members were on hand with an Our Last Straw information table collecting #stopsucking pledges from participants and building partnerships across the business community, NGOs, and government agencies.

Our very own Erin Chalkley, Farmers Restaurant Group Construction & Development Project Manager and LEED Green Associate, who helps us build and manage our waste systems, including running regular waste audits, also led two roundtables on waste reduction in restaurants.

It was a productive and informative day for all, thanks to the Alice Ferguson Foundation. For over 20 years, they’ve been sponsoring trash cleanups, continually working to improve DC’s Watershed, and in 2005, they launched the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative to work with local leaders, businesses, organization, and citizens. The Initiative includes annual campaigns such as the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup and the Potomac Watershed Trash Summit, as well as a strategic framework with five core components including public education, policy, regulation, enforcement, and market-based approaches.

Through the Eyes of the Founding Farmer.