Simons is the concept developer and managing partner of Founding Farmers: True Food & Drink. The downtown Washington location of the restaurant recently won the award for D.C.'s Greenest Restaurant by the Nature Conservancy People's Choice Awards.
What does Founding Farmers do to be green?
We look at all the aspects of the business: the food we buy, the beverages we serve, the materials we used to build the restaurant, what we do with our waste. There's almost no decision we can make that is simple. Organic isn't necessarily a word we pay attention to. "All natural" and "family farms" are words that mean a lot to us.
Where did the idea for Founding Farmers come from?
My partner and I sat down, and we tried to create a brand that could speak to the guest about the value and the message. There are many messages: Food grows out of the ground and not off the shelf, that there's a difference between a family farm and an industrial farm, and the quality of ingredients and the lack of transparency with food. We didn't want to do something trendy. We looked at history, and history never goes out of style. You look at the Founding Fathers, and you realize they were all farmers in one respect or another. George Washington said he was happiest after his presidency and when he went home to tend his land.
What was your reaction to being named D.C.'s Greenest Restaurant?
I was crazy thrilled for our staff and for the team that is doing the work in the restaurant every day. Restaurants are hard work. There's a lot of minute-to-minute work that makes it hard to work in a green restaurant.
- Roxanne Turnbull