Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches is a mission-driven fast-casual restaurant brand based in Seattle, WA with 10 stores in Seattle and San Francisco. Founded in 2009 by Ben Friedman and Brad Gillis with the goal of making the food system more sustainable, Homegrown’s food is sustainably sourced, farm by farm, ingredient by ingredient, choosing what is best for all stakeholders: people, farm animals and the planet.
In 2014, Homegrown launched Homegrown Sprouting Farms in Woodinville, WA, their very own certified organic farm that supplies seasonal, organic produce for their menu and serves as a model for sustainable agricultural practices, including no-till farming methods, eco-friendly weed and pest controls, and drip irrigation. They also use the farm as a place to teach their partners (employees) about sustainable agriculture. The farm is a small part of their growing business, but it’s a big part of their commitment to keeping it local.
Homegrown’s company vision is to grow with purpose to change the food system. “Growing with Purpose” means ensuring their food is coming from farms that are growing with sustainable agricultural practices. Gillis and Friedman believe that as their business grows, their positive environmental impact should too.
This belief stems from the idea that food is the liaison between the earth and the communities we live in. Understanding the relationships that link the planet to the product is an important part of their recognition that in addition to their economic impact, they are responsible for their environmental impact as well.
Their mission statement is four simple pillars: reduce environmental impact, craft the best food, provide exceptional service, cultivate their people.
Their stores are designed to be as low-impact as possible and as green as their food. They use reclaimed, recycled and FSC certified building materials and low-VOC paints in their furniture and wall coverings and they use hyper-efficient LED and CFL lighting. Additionally, next to larger containers for recycle and compost, there are tiny little trash cans in their dining rooms because they use nearly 100% compostable and recyclable products.
Every season, Homegrown launches a new seasonal menu showcasing the best from each region at that time of year. They partner with 1% for the Planet to give 1% of sales from their seasonal menu to organizations working on environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture. Customers can order one of our seasonal offerings, typically a sandwich, a bowl and soup, to accelerate their funding for a healthier planet.
Catering is a big part of what makes Homegrown unique among their farm-to-table-inspired fast-casual dining cohort. Their catering service represents nearly a third of their total business and they frequently tout that they offer the greenest catering in town. With the same commitment to eco-friendly food and packaging, their catering service offers companies an opportunity to live their corporate values during every meeting. As more and more offices focus on environmental initiatives and making their workplaces greener, having a catered meeting option like Homegrown brings them a lot closer to their values.
Homegrown’s food sourcing starts with their chef, Michaela Skloven, who comes from a background of cooking at acclaimed New York City restaurants such as Franny’s, Grammercy Tavern and Thomas Keller’s Per Se. Chef Michaela focuses on farmers-market style eating – pulling the best produce from each region and creating clean-eating, healthful recipes with bold, craveable flavors. Skloven’s belief is that sustainability is critical, but if the food isn’t amazing, we’re back at square one. She has created a lineup of gourmet sandwiches on thin, crispy bread made from 100% GMO-free ingredients that pairs perfectly with a menu of grain bowls and salads that make for a hearty but healthy meal.
Homegrown is passionate about changing the food system through partnerships with the best sustainable growers, ranchers and producers on the west coast. Farm to table eating has traditionally been available to privileged few who could afford fine dining experiences that celebrated local growers and seasonality, but the entrance of fast-growing brands like Homegrown promise to democratize accessibility to this type of food to a much broader demographic.
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