Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The BEhive Reaches Out To Make Life A Little Sweeter

by Jas Faulkner
(Images still aren't working, people. Apologies to everyone involved!) 

"The Heart-Hive logo signifies that we are a collective, much like an actual bee hive, with only good natured intentions that come from the heart. We are where we live; we are what we eat, and we all have the responsibility to protect and nourish both. The BE Hive is the vehicle for this philosophy."
                            -Benjamin, The BEhive                                    

Wednesday afternoons at the farmers market are always a feast for the senses. There is live music coming from the gifted musicians who offer to play in the center of the park.  The colorful tents compete with the brilliant hues of fresh produce and artisinal goods that catch the eye from every direction.   Among the smells of handmade bars of soap and fresh cut herbs, there is the aroma of grilling that wafts its way around the square, beckoning the hot, the tired, and the hungry to get a good, healthy bite while they are there.

You may have walked by that booth, the one with the curious, engaging logo that is part heart, part beehive.  What is it all about?  What can this mean when you encounter the delicious food, the artful presentation, and the general good vibrations? 

Meet the BEhive.  It’s a band, it’s a creative collective, and it’s a force for good in Music City.  You may have seen ads for their benefit buffets at The Wild Cow.  (You haven’t been to the Wild Cow yet?  Why not?)  You have walked past their table, paused because, yes, that grill is tempting and then walked on.  To that, I say, quit being a baby and go get you some very good and good for you dinner.  You’ll spend a lot less than you’d spend for the fake fast food-like stuff they sell on Gallatin Road and your tastebuds and metabolism will thank you.

So, you're going to follow your nose and pretty soon your tastebuds are going to be convinced...but how did this come about?  We talked to Benjamin, one of the founding fathers of the BEhive:

Well, it all started with a band, Born Empty, who all lived in the same house appropriately called The BE Hive. We were a group of dudes that could express ourselves in any way we liked, and as long as the message and approach was positive, nothing else mattered. Every couple months we held vegan potlucks at our house, The BE Hive. These potlucks were amazing with upwards of 70 people at times, a bonfire, and a kitchen overflowing with vegetarian dishes people had prepared and brought over. We eventually moved out of the house, held a couple potluck fundraisers at The Wild Cow, and then came up with the idea for this buffet and business model.
But BE is more than a band; it's a way of life. The BE Hive is about taking care of yourself, and doing what is right for you. We try to inflict the least amount of negative impact on people and the world around us, while positively influencing those who care to take notice and are open to different ideas. There are a lot of things that are wrong and misguided within our society, but the bottom line is you can't change anyone. People have to want change, and then control their actions towards doing so. This is why we lead by example, and just BE.

Uh.  Wait a minute.  Did he say...vegan?   As in... no meat, no dairy, no... as in VEGAN?

And I said to quit being a baby.

Here's what Benjamin had to say about omnivores and reluctant others who think it's all sprouts and bare, cold blocks of tofu:  

 Ha! I'd say don't tell them it's vegetarian! But I usually tell them that they just need to try the right things. Then I guarantee/challenge them that if they came to the buffet or let me cook for them, I could fill them up beyond their wildest dreams. A lot people associate vegetarian dishes with only salads,  tofu, and weird and pushy vegetarians ready to jump down their backs for eating meat. There are several alternatives to all those things, and with the right protein and side choices, you can fill up most anyone and have them be completely satisfied.
Anyway, Nashvillians are getting smarter about the ways they feed themselves not only in terms of what happens on the inside, but how it effects everything on an environmental and economic level.
 I'm seeing a big farm to table push recently among restaurants. I think one of the things that led me to being so strict and curious about my diet was they way people ate and lived their lives. Seeing this push makes me hopeful that more people are being conscious of the crap they are putting in their bodies (not limited to meat, but also vegetarian items), and push the local organic farming scene while keeping people away from genetically modified and over processed foods
You know, or will know the food is good and they are green to the marrow, but more important than that is what is at the heart of the BEhive: the creative spirit that fosters commuity and the causes they support.

The Collective part of The BE Hive involves the customer, host restaurant. farms, community, the organizations who support the community, and the Hive itself. The gifts people bring are themselves. The customer brings their money, eats healthy food, and walks away feeling nourished and good knowing that some of their money is going towards bettering their community in some way. The host restaurant is associated with a fundraiser, continues to have a day off, gets free advertising, and also walks with some extra money. The community is supported by the non profits that are being benefited. The farm gets the extra business and exposure, and the Hive gets to help people, be creative, build their business and menu, and also profit a little.    
We try to support local organizations with green and sustainable motives.  We like to support the bike community, famers, the arts, kids, and whatever else makes a difference. My favorite organization that we have benefited so far has been the Glencliff Garden Project. They teach high schoolers how to start and maintain gardens while also introducing them to the world of plant based whole foods instead of the more processed food items which are more easily available to the majority of kids in this nation.
So what's ahead for The BEhive?  Tomorrow they are participating in a benefit ride for Bejamin Waldman and on the 14th, they will resume their buffets at The Wild Cow, with an Indian menu benefiting Good Food For Good People.
We plan to continue the buffet and the farmers market, and hopefully add a location or two. We want to have several fundraiser events a month in different spots around Nashville and continue to use other peoples empty kitchens while building our menu and developing our catering abilities. We have some things up our sleeve, but nothing is definite yet. We plan to expand though, and I promise it will be done in a very different way then you've seen before.
Being a force for good can be as life changing as creating a business that does so much for so many.  It can also be as simple as changing the way you do a few things at home. ENFM blog asked Benjamin what three things he would like to see people do to make Nashville a greener place:
I'd like to see Nashville become a more bicycle friendly place, riders and drivers both included. The recycling in this town SUCKS, and I feel that needs to be overhauled. And I wish all public places would be smoke free. Nashville is behind the times with all of these things, and I think its about time we wake up.
To learn more about The BEhive, visit their website at
and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute news on what the guys are up to.

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