Founding Farmers is the North Dakota Farmers Union’s latest restaurant in D.C. The group also owns Agraria by the Georgetown waterfront. Since its inception, the establishment has been working toward becoming D.C.’s first gold LEED certified restaurant. It’s got the verbal confirmation from the organization, according to general manager Christian Holmes. Now, the restaurant is just waiting for the certificate.
“We think it will arrive in one to two weeks,” says Holmes. “It was one of those things that was supposed to be here a month ago.”
So, what does this LEED certification entail? A bunch of recovered barn wood, and menus made on recycled paper? Well, yes actually. But, naturally (no pun intended), there’s more: “It’s recycling. It’s composting. It’s working with your vendors to let them know exactly what you can accept and what you can’t accept. It’s using green chemicals to clean—you can’t use regular old Windex,” says Holmes. “It’s something you have to think about every day, when you see a server tossing their coke bottle into the wrong garbage can—you have to go over and say, let’s take that out of the garbage can and put it in the right garbage can.”
But Holmes says the servers haven’t exactly rejected the new policies.
“I think, sometimes, they might spend [more] time at the table talking about recycling and composting than they do food.”
Here are some more ways the restaurant has worked toward LEED certification:
- All raw food materials are separated into different bins, which are picked up by a composting company.
- All cooking oils used in fryers are picked up by a local limo/taxi company that uses bioethenol fuel to power a couple of their limos.
- Recovered floorboards and barnboards from various farmhouses and farms throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania.
- High pressure hand dryers. No extra paper waste.
The restaurant opened up on September 18. It is located in the International Monetary Fund building downtown at 20th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.