Founding Farmers

“We’re a business that is working to improve our community, influence positive environmental trends in our industry and provide great food and drink.”

 – Dan Simons, Concept Developer and Managing Partner, Farmers Restaurant Group


The Founding Farmers name represents a combination of ideas. Primarily it is a celebration of the land and the American Family Farmer. Next we nod to the founding fathers of our country, many of whom owned and farmed the land that surrounds Washington, D.C.; and finally, it is a place where true, sustainable, farm-grown and harvested American foods reminiscent of traditions from across the land are brought to our guests.

The rich history of American cooking tradition is celebrated through the menus at Founding Farmers, with a philosophy to promote sustainable agriculture and the ways of the American family farmer at every turn, and to offer new seasonal choices to reflect the best of what is available from our farm sources. For more than 400 years, America’s independent family farmers have been both the foundation and the pillars of their communities. They grow high quality food, they are active in civic life, and are essential to the economic vitality of both their hometowns and the nation. As stewards of the land, family farmers work to protect the soil, air, water, and biodiversity, in addition to producing high quality, healthy food for everyone. Thus, the Founding Farmers philosophy to operate, serve, and live green is the heart of the American Family Farmer.

Our logo captures many related ideas. The two “F’s,” one facing backwards with an eye to history, the other facing forward with an eye to the future of food and farming; the rows of corn kernels, representing food but also representing people gathering at the community tables that we have in the dining rooms; the seven shades of color of these corn kernels representing the coming together of people from all seven continents.

We walk the talk when it comes to buying food

At Founding Farmers we believe that everyone benefits by all of us knowing about the source of our food and its journey from seed to harvest to table. We exist to promote the products and services of farm families, ranches and fisheries and to educate the public about the long-standing connection between farmers and their historic stewardship of natural resources.

While most restaurants buy from large companies and corporate food factories, at Founding Farmers we stock our kitchen and bar with the freshest ingredients from sustainable farms from across the country. When animals and vegetables grow in their natural environments free of chemicals, the result is better tasting food and drink. Using and sourcing sustainable food is not a new, trendy idea; the best chefs in the world, and certainly here in Washington have long known the secret to a great dish is regionally or locally grown seasonal produce and naturally raised meat. In fact, cooking with fresh, natural ingredients has been an old American tradition that began with our founding farmers.

Buying directly from farm sources not only allows us to deliver the highest quality food to your table but also helps transform the food economy. Sustainable food production engages methods that produce healthier food, preserve the environment, respect workers, treat animals humanely, and support farming communities. By contrast, the current industry standard for food production is not sustainable because it prevents independent farmers from earning a reasonable living, destroys the environment, and delivers low quality food to the American public. The movement for sustainability in the food industry has developed as a direct result of these problems and is quickly becoming a popular alternative to industrial food choices.

Our Key Values:

Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle

  • More than 75% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled.
  • Wood flooring downstairs was reclaimed from a textile mill in Georgia, cleaned and sealed.
  • Whitewashed wood at front door and the barn wall are from a razed barn in West Virginia that has been cleaned and sealed.
  • Other materials containing more than 50% post-consumer recycled content include: the carpet, gypsum board, structural steel and wall coverings.


We Use Locally Sourced Materials 

  • Reduction of the carbon footprint through construction and beyond with high-quality products that last longer than typically mass-produced furnishings.
  • All tabletops and chairs are made from walnut extracted from nearby Harrisburg, PA and manufactured in High Point, NC (within 500 miles of the restaurant)
  • Jars of fruits and vegetables are from a farm in West Virginia, canned by the farmer himself.
  • High quality produce and meats are locally sourced when possible (Maryland).


We Operate as a Certified Green Restaurant

  • Energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen and office to reduce water and energy usage.
  • Utilization of an energy efficient water purifier in house for mineralized and filtered water to eliminate bottled water waste and carbon footprint from shipping.
  • Use only recycled disposable products that are biodegradable.
  • Strict recycling standards
  • Composting all of food waste.
  • Biofuel program reuses and recycles the oil from the fryers.


We Know Where Our Food Comes From

  • We provide transparency of Food-to-Table sourcing *
  • Goal is to bring us closer to the source of our food
  • The open Pastry Studio allows guests to view chefs preparing our scratch-made cakes, pies, and other desserts

*see the seasonal Crop List for more information


Pending LEED Certification

  • Potomac’s Founding Farmers has been designed to meet Bronze level Commercial Interior LEED level certification standards.  Certification is pending.
  • There was strict adherence to LEED requirements during building phase
  • Certification is based on efficient electrical, water and heating/cooling systems, and the types of materials that were used in the design.
  • All other energy use is offset by carbon credits we purchased to make our usage 100% carbon neutral.
  • The restaurant is 100% wind powered.


Potomac Design Elements

  • The host stand and bar front are finished with reclaimed shoe shipping boxes.
  • The stone top at the pastry station is soapstone salvaged from an old building on the University of Maryland campus.
  • The wallcovering in the restrooms are by Designtex.  The images are printed on a substrate made of recycled material.
  •   The chairs are custom made by a small shop in Ohio called Objeti.  The wood used was all sourced locally (within 500 miles).
  • The large communal tables were custom made by Dunbar in North Carolina, and wood was sourced locally as well.
  • The flooring in the kitchen pass-through and work areas is by Oscoda Products and is made up of 100% recycled materials in a composite form.
  • Counter tops in the restrooms are made of Paperstone, which is made of 100% post-consumer content recycled and pressed composite paper.
  • The large mural was printed on a substrate that contains rapidly renewable content.  The image is by a New York based artist that teamed with manufacturer Maharam, to help create unique digital projects. This piece resembles the American heartland.