Preserving & Protecting Our Planet

Sustainability is not a catch phrase. It’s a natural extension of who we are.  We are mission-driven, working every day to make high-quality food and drink grown and made with care, while preserving our land and waterways and giving back to our communities.

At Founding Farmers, sustainability is interwoven into our facilities, operations, and the hundreds of decisions we make each day that affect the world around us. As a 2023 winner of a District Sustainability Award and named one of the ten most sustainable restaurants in America, we thoughtfully source our ingredients, paint with non-volatile compounds, choose efficient HVAC and lighting systems, and use wood from fallen trees and old barns. Our eco-friendly restaurants divert 90 percent of our waste from landfills through robust compost and recycling programs, including the use of a BioHiTech eco-safe digester we call “The Orca” in two of our restaurants. As one of our restaurant sustainability practices, we provide free filtered water, sparkling or flat, to all of our guests. We serve scratch-made sodas and mostly draft beer. When we do receive single-use beverages or packaged goods, we work with suppliers to reduce packaging. For example, we worked with Coca-Cola so they now ship to us directly in a corrugated case without the plastic six-pack collar. We avoid products wrapped with a tertiary layer and influence our vendors to consider reusable plastic totes. The list could go on and on.

We aren’t perfect, but every day we are trying to do better, continually working to preserve our planet. We are proud of all of our work to be an environmentally friendly restaurant, and we look forward to serving you. Make a reservation today!

sustainability is not a catch phrase, it’s a natural extension of who we are
Sustainability Spotlight

Save the Bay

Over the past several years, Founding Farmers has been working with our supplier, Congressional Seafood, doing our part to #EatTheInvaders and increase the market for Chesapeake Blue Catfish. These invasive fish were introduced into nearby rivers as a recreational fish in the 1970s and have now become the Chesapeake Bay’s biggest threat. What started as 1,500 fingerlings has grown to 100 million fish across the Chesapeake watershed in nearly every major tributary. They have taken over the James River, constituting 90 percent of the fish. These invaders feast on the Chesapeake’s supply of rockfish, blue crabs, clams, oysters, and shrimp diminishing our once abundant seafood varieties. This diet, however, makes them uniquely delicious. Mild, white, and flaky, Chesapeake Blue Catfish are wild-caught and taste nothing like what most expect when they hear “catfish.” They have quickly become a guest favorite on our menus for their great taste… and to help us Save the Bay.

Designing & Building Green

LEED Certifications

To ensure we are making the right choices and aware of the latest research and innovations, we rely on a team of our own in-house experts, as well as critical third-party evaluators. We work with the U.S. Green Building Council when designing, constructing, and LEED certifying all of our restaurants. LEED certification means all of our restaurants are built with reduced impact on the environment and are highly resource efficient. Our flagship location opened as Washington, D.C.’s first LEED Gold Certified restaurant and the first upscale-casual, full-service LEED Gold restaurant in the country.

Dine Green

3 Star Certified Green Restaurants

We also regularly work with the Green Restaurant Association, as all of our Founding Farmers restaurants are 3 Star Certified Green Restaurants.® Every two years, we undergo an external reevaluation and recertification. The Green Restaurant Association reviews invoices and systems, and scores our operations on a strict point system. They measure, among many things, recycling practices and high-efficiency water and energy usage. We keep a close eye on maintaining and improving our score as we evolve and new green initiatives become available. To learn more about the steps that each of our restaurants takes to become and maintain our Green Restaurant Association certifications, please follow these links:

Operating Sustainably

Award-Winning Green Practices

Operating sustainably means continuing to grow, learn, and adapt as new challenges and opportunities appear. At Founding Farmers, we are always seeking new ways to do more good and less harm, while continuing to serve delicious food and drink. Evidence of our efforts can be seen in the sustainability awards we continue to receive, including:

  • The statewide Maryland Green Registry’s Leadership Award from the Maryland Department of the Environment for our strong commitment to the implementation of sustainable practices, the demonstration of measurable results, and the continual improvement of environmental performance.
  • Bethesda Green’s Leading By Example Green Business Award.
  • The People’s Choice Award at DC’s 2019 District Sustainability Awards.
  • The Near-Zero Waste Award and the People’s Choice Award from the Green Restaurant Association.
Beyond Our Restaurants

Sustainability & Social Impact

In 2018, we founded a business coalition turned non-profit, Our Last Straw, to take some of our sustainability practices outside the walls of our restaurants and eliminate the distribution of plastic straws across our region and in the hospitality industry. More information on Our Last Straw and other community-oriented sustainability efforts – including our collaborations with The George Washington University’s Apiary, the Alice Ferguson Foundation, and Cornell University’s Maple Program – can be found at our page on Building Community & Social Impact.

We serve award-winning fried chicken and donuts.

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