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THE GREEN ISSUE JULY 2016


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TABLE OF CONTENTS JUly 2016

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18 48 THE GOODS 15 Beer from Here 18 Cocktail of the Month 22 Master Platers 44 Shooting the Shit 69 You Oughta Know 70 Animal of the Month

FEATURES

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26 STAN 36 Life By Life 48 Nashville Grown 58 River Queen Voyages

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PROFESSIONAL VIDEO & PHOTO FOR BANDS, BRANDS AND CAUSES.

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FIVEFOLDS

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DEAR NATIVES,

T

hanks for tagging us, y’all! Be sure to check out these Instagrammers, and #nativenashville to share your photos with us.

president, founder:

publisher, founder: 

ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN

creative director:

MACKENZIE MOORE

managing editor: 

CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

art director: 

COURTNEY SPENCER

community relations manager:

JOE CLEMONS

editor:

community representatives:

@burgerup

@edgehillvillage

POLLY RADFORD KELSEY FERGUSON

film supervisor:

          writers: photographers:

​@gehamm

@skylemason

production:

@proofbranding

@swilds

CASEY FULLER MATT LEFF ITORO UDOKO BENJAMIN HURSTON JONAH ELLER-ISAACS COOPER BREEDEN CHARLIE HICKERSON

JEN McDONALD DANIELLE ATKINS ROBBY KLEIN LEAH GRAY STELTENPOHL BREE MARIE FISH CHRISTOPHER MORLEY ADAM LIVINGSTON DYLAN REYES

GUSTI ESCALANTE

founding team: founder, brand director:

DAVE PITTMAN

founder:

CAYLA MACKEY

MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN

to advertise, contact:

for all other inquiries:

SALES@NATIVE.IS HELLO@NATIVE.IS

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PRESENTS:

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Photo: Kelsey Cherry

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A Harvard study has now shown that certain meditation practices are powerful tools to shift and change our physical health as well as our mental and emotional states. Learn to meditate and experience expanded awareness and deeper levels of inner peace.

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The Golden Rule by Ben Clemons of No. 308 photo by j e n m c don a l d

Everyone loves a tasty island drink. Unfortunately, most of us curse those frothy, colorful libations the next day. This summer, I’m taking a page from the Italians and creating low alcohol by volume (ABV) drinks. Drinks you can session and still make it to work the next day without your head in a vice. Ladies and gentlemen, meet “The Golden Rule.” A low-sugar, tall, tasty beverage that just makes you happy. Isn’t that what we all want?

THE GOODS 1 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum 1 oz Bigallet China-China (bitter orange liqueur from France) 1 oz fresh pineapple juice club soda

F Shake ingredients and pour into a freshly iced favorite glass (we like a pilsner glass for this one) and top with club soda. Garnish with a hefty sprig of mint and a pineapple slice. Enjoy!

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Coming Soon to Riverside Village

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P h o t o : C a i t B ra d ey

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MASTER PLATERS

CHIA P UDDING

W I T H N I C K DAV I S O F G R A Z E PHO T OS BY DAN IELLE AT K IN S

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THE GOODS 4 cups soy milk 1 cup chia seeds 1/4 cup agave nectar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS F Whisk all ingredients together and place in a sealable container. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until set. F For a cool, light treat, make a parfait in a pint glass by layering pudding, granola, more pudding and more granola, then top everything with strawberries, kiwi, and hemp seeds.

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AFTER FOUR Y E A R S , S TA N I S F I N A L LY B A C K AT WORK ON A NEW ALBUM AND FULL OF FRESH IDEAS

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TH IN H ES


HE WAITNG IS THE H A R D ST PART BY ITORO UDOKO | PHOTOS BY ROBBY KLEIN

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I FIRST BECAME AWARE OF STAN AND HIS MUSIC IN 2012: while scrolling the interwebs during another late-night session of online music browsing, I stumbled across the rapper’s debut single, “Reality Rap,” a song that is a visceral reaction to the chaos of urban poverty. In it, STAN tackles the conditions of everyday life in his neighborhood and community with a commanding, matter-of-fact eloquence that’s just as arresting to witness today as it was then. “Reality Rap” was the centerpiece of STAN’s debut effort, Here You Go, an EP that, though criminally underrated, helped cement his place as one the most lyrical and thoughtful emcees in the local rap scene. Fast-forward to 2016, and STAN and I are hanging out at my house as he animatedly explains the origins behind “Reality Rap.” At times in our conversation, he’s laid back and stoic. At others, he’s almost bouncing off the walls, his six-foot-six frame filling the room as he excitedly leans in or gesticulates. Like a true Gemini, STAN has many sides, all of which he wears on his sleeve. Over the years as we’ve become acquaintances, I’ve witnessed his expressive personality in person, on stage, through his music, and online via his various social media accounts. Summed up, he’s one part social commentator and one part naturalborn comedian. What he isn’t is dull. STAN recalls that the idea for “Reality Rap” hit him unexpectedly while riding around his neighborhood with a friend. Suddenly, he switches from relaying the story to rapping the opening bars of the song: “Every day I wake up, there’s another liquor store. Or a trap spot. What we living for? / The hood’s mascot’s a bum walking pigeon-toed. Brown paper bag in his hand, watch him sip it slow.” He paints a harsh and vivid reality, injecting it with his own sharp insights. Stan Bender, or simply STAN, as he’s known by friends and supporters, was born and raised in East Nashville, growing up in James A. Cayce Homes. Though his neighborhood was rough, he remembers a tight-knit community where his neighbors looked out for one another. STAN was raised by a single mother whom he describes as his “inspiration for being a better man. She taught me everything I know.” He grew up with numerous siblings; his younger

brother, Petty, is another regular in the hip-hop community. Both brothers are natural talents, gifted and passionate personalities who have become beloved fixtures locally through years of countless shows, endless recordings, and tireless promotion (of both their music and peers). It’s safe to say that the two have strong musical genes, so it comes as no surprise when STAN tells me that his grandfather was also a musician. He’s not entirely sure what type of music his grandfather made, but he describes a humorous story of a childhood version of his uncle scribbling in his grandfather’s sheet music and blaming it on his father, a misdeed his father received a wrongful whipping for. As for STAN, he didn’t start focusing on music until high school. Rather, he’s always been obsessed with writing. He recounts penning scripts for church plays as a young kid, and he has written poetry for most of his life. It wasn’t until he grew older that his favorite rappers sparked a passion in him for songwriting, one that has evolved and matured over his years of making music. Following the positive local response to 2012’s Here You Go, STAN began to perform at shows and open mics. He quickly honed his skills as a live artist, along the way cultivating a small but ardent fan base in a scene that was just beginning to flourish. Momentum was building, and in 2013 the rapper began preparing a follow-up to Here You Go with a close friend and producer. But things did not go as intended. “I had a project that I was set to release with a guy. We worked hard on it and did shows. People were getting familiar with the music and the songs, but it all got taken away due to a misunderstanding,” he explains, still visibly regretful. “We were like brothers, but we had an altercation. It was so small, something that adults should be able to see through.” Unfortunately, the two were not able to reconcile their differences. “He ended up moving to Atlanta, and legally, I wasn’t able to release the songs.” The falling out with a close friend and the cancellation of his project had a lingering effect on STAN. “The music got taken away, and everything I made after that was real dark and just negative. I was in a negative mindspace. And [getting over it]

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took me literally two and a half years of writing, going through two and a half [years’ worth of ] compositions, like venting. I feel like I was venting too much about my issues and not being relatable.” He pauses before continuing with a wry chuckle, “So I just said fuck it and I released ‘Nancy Kerrigan,’ and people liked that record a lot.” STAN’s 2014 single “Nancy Kerrigan,” named after the controversial ’90s Olympic figure skater, is full of the antagonism and frustration that plagued the rapper at the time. He starts the single with the line, “Lately I’ve been like ‘fuck the world,’ I don’t care about anything,” and closes the hook with, “And when I’m done, I never care again,” a playful and cynical twist on the song’s namesake, Kerrigan. The track is no doubt the result of one of STAN’s countless “venting” sessions, but it’s full of humorous, taunting wordplay, and the lines are delivered with a sly yet aggressive tone. “Nancy Kerrigan” was well-received by listeners, as were subsequent singles, many of which contained the same semi-confrontational swagger. Over the next couple of years, STAN developed a penchant for releasing stream-of-consciousness singles and freestyles, some over original production, others covering popular or classic hip-hop beats. He also gained a reputation for holding back material and taking down tracks as unexpectedly as he would record and upload them. His unpredictability might have occasionally confused and frustrated supporters and onlookers, but his passion remained unquestionable. STAN continued as an active presence in the city, regularly performing live and promoting and hosting other artists’ events. Over the years, he’s become a vocal believer in the increasingly abundant pool of homegrown talent, and he believes Nashville’s growing, diverse, and multilayered rap scene is on the cusp of national notoriety. (He may be right.) Like much of the city, the scene is experiencing a renaissance. That being said, many in the fast-paced New Nashville still have yet to take notice. “It’s Music City,” he reminds me. “Not because of country music. It’s because you have so many different genres and types of artists, so many different walks of life in one area.” His voice swells with a native’s pride as he enthusiastically speaks. “You can go to a rap show, a rock show, bluegrass . . .” He swiftly trails off without notice. All at once, he’s calm and subdued, before adding mindfully, “So I really encourage people to go to a show they’ve never seen before. Or listen to music they’ve never heard.”

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STAN: Follow on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram @FU_STAN native.is # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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It’s this longstanding, shared belief in what he and his peers have to offer that has fueled STAN’s rebound from the negative space he previously described. In January he had a creative epiphany while sitting on the porch alongside his brother Petty and longtime friend and fellow rapper, Sofa Brown. “We had beats playing and just started freestyling. And they were like, ‘Bro, what are you doing? Is this still not the dream? Why are you sitting on this hamster wheel?’ So since then, I’ve made seventeen or eighteen records. It’s pretty dope.” The reinvigorated STAN has begun work on a new album, The Calm, and he recently debuted the first single, “Wait.” The song alludes to much of the drama of the past several years while offering fresh hope for the future. “Honestly, I’ve noticed my influence and how people naturally gravitate towards me,” he admits. STAN’s no longer taking things for granted. “I wanna do something for all those who have believed in me this whole time,” he explains. He divulges detailed plans for an intimate album release, describing a physical bundle that includes a hat, tee, and a CD with a barcode that scans a documentary of the making of the record straight to your smartphone. All of this will be available only through preorder, each item will be hand numbered, and he intends to personally deliver every purchase. After his supporters who cop the pre-order have had adequate time to enjoy the record, he’ll finally release it digitally for all to hear, alongside a release show with free admission for all who pre-ordered. He also excitedly alludes to future goals, hinting at a follow-up to The Calm and maybe even a trilogy. In fact, he dispenses half-finished ideas and aspirations with such enthusiasm that it’s downright infectious. The rapper seems to finally be firing on all cylinders again, a sign that bodes well for everyone. STAN has a special knack for connecting with others emotionally. At his most upbeat, it’s nothing short of motivating.

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BY BENJAMIN HURSTON | PHOTOS BY LEAH GRAY STELTENPOHL # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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JOHN CHRISTIAN PHIFER “The industry has created a model that DOESN’T KNOW THE PRECISE is not shifting its focus from monetary NUMBER OF DEAD BODIES HE’S gain to what people really want and deSEEN AND TOUCHED, BUT HE serve, and it’s unsustainable.” Dressed casually in ripped jeans and KNOWS IT’S IN THE THOUSANDS. He’s carried old men who’ve passed Chacos at his home near Hillsboro Vilaway in their recliners in the middle of lage, the thirty-eight-year-old delivers their dens. He’s powdered and dressed bold words like these with the urgency former high school classmates who were of a prophet carrying a sort of new death killed in car accidents or took their own gospel. He talks uninterrupted for up to lives. And he’s held newborn babies half an hour at a time, narrating his joursmothered to death just moments after ney from insect burier to complete endof-life expert in a perfectly linear fashion. the world heard their first cries. “The experiences I’ve had,” he says be- He speaks slowly with the eloquence of fore a long pause. “I don’t know how I’ve a natural-born storyteller, pausing for emphasis on interesting details—like survived some of them, to be honest.” John Christian has devoted most of that time the power went out on his his life to others’ deaths. By the time first night in a funeral home and left him he entered the funeral industry shortly groping around a dark basement next to after high school, he’d already been per- a fresh corpse. forming burials for more than a decade. A CLEAR CALLING Raised on a small farm in an extremely rural area between Memphis and Nash- Though he first told his parents he wantville, he remembers sneaking into his ed to become a mortician in the seventh parents’ kitchen at an early age to swipe grade, adolescent friendships and expeca fork so he could bury dead grasshop- tations steered John Christian toward pers or whatever other small carcasses a more conventional path during high he found on the property. Sometimes school. Following graduation, he started he’d wrap the body in leaves. Other at what he calls a “regular college” in times, he’d make his own casket from an Jackson, Tennessee, intending to return empty crayon box or whatever he could home like many of his peers and work at the bank. Then, his grandfather sudfind around the house. “It was intrinsic for me to behave this denly passed away, and he found himself way,” he says of these childhood burials. transported back to those childhood “I always found it important to pause and days burying animals on the farm. “At that point, all these bells and whisreally pay tribute to life.” Life. It’s a word he seems to use ev- tles went off again,” he says. “It was like I ery few sentences. In his West Tennes- was being spun around and the universe see drawl, the four letters stretch from was saying, ‘Don’t forget what you’re his lips with elasticity so that Life By here to do.’” Shortly after the funeral, he applied Life, the eco-focused funeral company he recently founded, sounds more like and was awarded a full scholarship to “Lahhf By Lahhf.” The company is John Nashville’s John A. Gupton College for Christian’s take on meaningful, sus- mortuary science. He began attending tainable, and affordable end-of-life care. school during the week and commuting Part educational resource, part family- to work at a local funeral home near his directed home funeral guide, part eco- parents’ house on weekends. Though he design house, it’s his raison d’être, his never doubted his calling, the immediway of making an impact on the world ate immersion into a livelihood that cenby changing the way we as a society un- tered on death was a difficult transition for the teenager. derstand death. “I went through this whole back and “The funeral industry as we know it is dying,” he says without cracking a smile. forth of dealing with my mortality,” he

says. “I was so terrified that I’d die in a car accident that I was like, ‘Please, God, or whatever, just let me survive to graduation.’” Those fears began to diminish as he gained experience, but the rest of his conventional funeral career passed with a wide range of emotions. The sheer quantity of bodies for which he was expected to care was exhausting. The family interaction and counseling were rewarding. The lack of mental healthcare was alarming. And then some aspects were downright thrilling. The first time he was allowed to drive a hearse, he remembers feeling like he was “driving a Porsche.” “Some kids are at home singing into a brush, and then they grow up to be singers,” he says. “I was that kid having miniature funerals who grew up to drive the hearse.” In 2012, after fifteen-plus years, John Christian’s time in the funeral industry came to an abrupt end. Frustrated by corporate interests that favored profit over personal experience or environmental progression, he resigned from his funeral director position and set off to create an option that better served the people. To do this, however, he first needed to know how to serve the people, so he hopped on a train and traveled across the country. Journeying from Memphis to Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, he talked to as many people as he could and asked what they wanted from the end of life. When he returned, he brought with him a five-step plan for a company that would meet the needs he heard expressed. This was the start of Life By Life. NEW LIFE FOR A DYING INDUSTRY Imagine a world where people go to casual spots like Fido when their loved ones pass away to plan their ceremonies and burials, a world where the public library holds events to educate people about death and help them develop a strategy for the end of life, a world where there are regular death circles for

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people to talk about and process loss, a world where people are taught how to clean and care for their deceased loved ones in a way that provides a rich experience instead of a sanitized one. This is the world John Christian imagines and hopes to help create. Though he admits it may sound scary to face death so openly, he believes that our tendency to shield ourselves from the reality of death is what prevents us from living our most fulfilling lives. “When I started out, I viewed death as an inconvenience, but now I view it as an opportunity,” he says. “Death doesn’t affect the person who has died. It’s an opportunity for the living to pause and look at their own lives and see how they can live more fully.” One of the ways he’s already facilitating this more tangible grasp of death is through the process of family-directed home funerals. A home funeral is when people close to the deceased participate in activities such as preparing the body for burial, carrying out their own after-death ceremonies, and facilitating the final disposition through digging the grave or something similar. Though we’re taught to view these actions as scary or even inappropriate, John Christian believes that playing an active role in end-of-life exercises can be a powerful tool for processing grief and moving forward. “When people have the opportunities to fully participate in death, they have a real opportunity to find comfort and healing,” he says. “And when I say participate, I mean like being there in the room doing those intimate things—not just sitting in a pew and watching. How does that inspire you to live your life better?” Along with providing opportunities for death to impact society more meaningfully, Life By Life aims to change the expectation of just how much it really costs. Every year, more than 4 million

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gallons of toxic embalming fluid are buried underground along with 1.6 million tons of nonbiodegradable plastic- and steel-reinforced concrete vaults. These standard practices, which the funeral industry has taught us to accept as necessary, carry a heavy cost to our wallets and our planet. Current funeral and burials can average between $8,000 and $15,000. Even those who think they’re choosing the cheaper route of cremation probably don’t recognize the true environmental price of burning a body. The energy required to cremate one individual is enough to fuel an automobile for nearly five thousand miles. So what’s our alternative? Just take a look at what our great-grandparents did. Life By Life minimizes financial and environmental costs by facilitating endof-life practices our ancestors used for centuries before the modern-day funeral industry began outsourcing death for profit. Instead of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid, the company uses dry ice to preserve the body. Instead of paying funeral homes large sums for a traditional funeral, it allows families to participate in an experience-rich home funeral for a fraction of the price. And instead of using metal materials, John Christian designs and provides biodegradable caskets and shrouds that serve the same purpose without the excessive waste. These changes all work together to provide a more responsible and fulfilling end-of-life experience. But what about the impact after the body is laid in the ground? A LIVING MEMORIAL Shortly following his cross-country train trip, John Christian received a call from Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms. She had heard about his progressive work in the funeral industry and hoped he could help her and a team of other environmentalists create a natural burial ground for the Nashville area.

That was three years ago, and now John Christian serves as the Executive Director of Larkspur Conservation. Larkspur is an upcoming conservation cemetery that will offer low-impact, environmentally friendly burials for Middle Tennessee. Perhaps as soon as 2017, area residents will have the opportunity to purchase burial plots in the 155-acre natural cemetery, which will operate without the use of poisonous chemicals, metal caskets, or vaults. The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee is also getting involved, putting a blanket conservation easement on the property to ensure that it is never developed in the future. Though it could be a year or more before burials actually begin on the property, John Christian says there is already a list of people ready to purchase plots as well as a list of people whose previously cremated remains will be blanketed on the property. The money from the sales of the plots will go to covering the associated costs of the burials, with any remaining funds being used to purchase more conserved land for future burials. “Big things are happening with Larkspur,” he says. “We’re creating a living memorial that will be enjoyed by generations and generations to come.” A MAN WITH A PURPOSE Situated in the very center of John Christian’s home is a large beige box with a cylindrical glass container rising from its center. The box is an antiquated embalming machine, one he saved from the first funeral home he worked in while in mortuary college. Inside the glass walls that used to house poisonous formaldehyde now grows a beautiful green succulent. It might seem like an odd centerpiece for a guy who spends his life advocating against the use of embalming and other conventional funeral practices, but then again, John Christian defies classification.


JOHN CHRISTIAN PHIFER: lifebylife.com Native.is

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“I’m not some hippie that just decided to go against the funeral industry,” he explains. “I am of the funeral industry, and I have a lot of respect for it.” In a way, his entire house is a testament to that statement. In the hallway leading to the bedrooms is a wall of memorial lithographs from the 1800s and early 1900s that he has found at various yard sales over the years. On a shelf in his living room, there’s a crate of old embalming fluid containers, some of them still full of the toxic liquids. “This is cancerous. What doesn’t penetrate a dead body during embalming is flushed into the public water system by the funeral industry,” he says as he points out a literal skull and crossbones icon on one of the bottles. The remarkable thing about John Christian is just how truly respectful he is of the industry that taught him so much about death. Though he’s committed to moving forward, he says he doesn’t intend to leave anyone behind. In fact, one of his goals with Life By Life is to create partnerships with local funeral homes, to bring them along with him in order to reach more people as he seeks to provide a better, smarter approach to death. “I feel like I have an obligation, a task at hand to be able to help create this evolution,” he says. “And I’m not asking anyone to change what they want. I’m just presenting another option and saying, ‘Doesn’t this make sense?’” It’s hard to imagine someone else making more sense of life’s morbid reality. Over the last three decades, John Christian has gone from grasshopper burier to licensed funeral director— from embalmer to trained celebrant, end-of-life doula, home-funeral guide, and comprehensive eco-death guru. If anyone has the experience and passion to facilitate a tectonic shift in Nashville’s death culture, he knows it’s going to be him. “I don’t know anyone else like me,” he says with a smile. “It’s just like, I guess this is what I was supposed to do.”


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FLORA: theflorashop.net Follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @FloraNashville native.is

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SHOOTING THE SHIT WITH ... K AT E H O L L A N D K E R B I H O W AT , CO-OWNERS OF FLORA PHOTOS BY BREE MARIE FISH

What inspired your interest in gardening? And why a pop-up nursery? We both come from a long line of growers and loved having gardening in our lives as a hobby. We’d often daydream about making it more of a career and, like the start of many life-changing ventures, our circumstances changed and created a perfect moment to move forward. Having a pop-up nursery has been a great way to get our name out there and to bring nature straight to Nashvillians, even if it wasn’t on their to-do list. It has been so fun to shoot the shit, as they say, with people about their own garden and houseplant endeavors. By coming to them, we’re really getting to know our customers and what they’re looking for in a specialty plant nursery as we prepare for bigger things. Tips for houseplant novices (like us) who seem to kill everything that enters their homes? Start with something easy! Our favorites to recommend to the not-so-green-thumb customers who still want to enjoy indoor plants are the pothos plant and the snake plant. They both can handle some neglect, don’t need a ton of light, and are gorgeous additions to the home. We almost always have these available at our pop-ups, so if you’re ready to try, come snag one! Chances are you’ll get hooked and keep adding plants as you get more comfortable. We also have a list of detailed care instructions on our website for all the plants we carry. What are the advantages of keeping houseplants around? Besides the obvious reason that they’re great decor and liven up your space, studies have shown that they boost productivity, creativity,

and happiness. They’re also great for filtering out toxins, so while you’re creating a beautiful and welcoming environment with plants, you’re also creating a healthier one. Where is a good starting point for people interested in growing their own food? Container gardens can be a great start for people who want to get into gardening. Start with herbs near your kitchen window and see how fun it is cooking with those fresh ingredients. Then move to some tomato or pepper plants in large pots. Before you know it, you’ll be tilling up your whole backyard. Tell us about your work with Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program. We love the work that the Urban Agriculture Program is doing to bring fresh food and gardening education to communities in our area with limited access to these resources. We are still in the beginning stages of our partnership with them, but we have committed to giving them a portion of our proceeds. Just recently, we were able to provide them with leftover vegetable starter plants that we didn’t sell during the planting season. We are continuing to dream up other ways that we can invest in them and be more hands-on. How can an expanding city like Nashville preserve and utilize green spaces moving forward? What can individuals do to help? It’s an important time in Nashville to be considering how all of the growth we’re seeing is going to change our city. We would really like to encourage locals to get involved in their communities. Vote accordingly, attend community meetings, participate in green space cleanups, and get out there and enjoy the parks and greenways that we love so much.

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LOCATED AT 701 DIVISION ST. - 615-242-3863 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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ALAN POWELL FOUNDED

NASHVILLE GROWN TO

CONNECT LOCAL FA R M E R S W I T H L O C A L E AT E R S , AND HIS FORAGING S K I L L S H AV E P U T WILD FOODS BACK ON THE MENU

BY JONAH ELLER-ISAACS | PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER MORLEY

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“[FORAGING IS] AN ANCIENT SKILL. A BIRTHRIGHT. BUT IT CAN EASILY DISAPPEAR.”

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THE HUMBLE CLOVER, our sweet-smelling, lucky friend, has white flowers that you can grind into flour. Wild grapes store potable water in their wandering vines. Ragweed triggers allergies, yes, but it’s also a source of oil and a rich yellow dye. Cleavers are a sticky mess that, when gathered, hold weight and bounce back, making for excellent mattress stuffing. Even ground ivy can be dried and made into tea. Redbud. Garlic mustard. Poor man’s pepper. Sweetgum. All these, and more, we’ve seen in just the first few minutes of our walk through Shelby Bottoms. Alan Powell, Nashville’s master forager and founder of Nashville Grown, is leading our group through the practical uses of practically everything we see around us. Here is dogbane, deadly toxic if ingested, but also a fiber second only to hemp in tensile strength. We can’t walk even a few feet without Alan pointing out another plant that’s edible, or medicinal, or both. I’ve walked this path from the nature center to the observation platform a hundred times, following the slow bend of the Cumberland, listening to the songbirds, and it’s as if I’m seeing it for the first time. “It’s an ancient skill. A birthright. But it can easily disappear,” Alan says of his ability, placing himself in a long, unbroken chain going back to the very origins of humanity. The handful of guests along for the guided walk are devouring the wisdom he shares. Some are taking pictures with their phones, using apps that help identify plants. Others madly scribble notes, sketching a leaf, a vine, a branch, a hairy follicle. Alan is constantly asking the group to try and name the plants before he identifies them himself, and though I guess constantly, I am also wrong nearly every time. I am now certain that, were I forced to fend for myself in the wilds of Shelby Park, I would be dead before the parking lot was out of sight. The other floraphiles are correct much more often, even adding uses that Alan might not have considered. A delightful woman named Kathy bubbles with glee and excitement over the tea she’s started brewing from wild plants in her backyard. Some time after our nature walk in Shelby, I meet Alan at Good Food for Good People in West Nashville. Painted across the side of the building is the slogan, “Love the People, Love the Planet, Love the Possibilities.” I hop in his car for a trip to a roadside patch of elderflower that he plans to harvest and sell to local restaurateurs through Nashville Grown, an organization he founded to connect farmers and food producers with chefs and other wholesale food consumers like schools and grocery stores. A list online lays out the available produce, with information about the farms and farmers, none of them more than one hundred miles from town. Nashville Grown tackles distribution and also provides a land-matching program to help settle farms in the area. By connecting local production and local consumption, the group helps break the cycle in which the majority of our food comes from thousands of miles away. The front seat of Alan’s car is full of sticks and rope. “Primitive stuff,” he calls it, as we head out for the gleaning. I ask how he came to know nature so deeply, and he tells me his love of the woods goes back to his early

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childhood in Maryland. “Baltimore’s my ing at the CSA, eventually coming to run the official hometown, Nashville feels like my whole enterprise for Jeff Poppen, the sohometown,” he explains. When Alan moved called “Barefoot Farmer” of Tennessee. At the same time, Alan’s sojourns into to Tennessee in the seventh grade, his new home of Bellevue was the outer edge of the the parks to look at flowers exploded when city. “Most of my spare time was spent with he attended a course on Native American my friends, running around in the farmers’ philosophy. The class changed everything. fields, and the rivers, and in the woods.” “That really opened [me] up to a whole difAlan’s enthusiasm for the wild world grew ferent world, of how nature and the physialong with him, and he filled his leisure time cal world and the human person connect. as an adult with walks to discover new flow- Suddenly I was really interested in looking ers. “At that point it was really about aes- at plants through different eyes. Not simply, is this a beautiful plant? Is this a beautiful thetics and little more,” he tells me. His love for beauty also stretched into flower? Do I know its name? But now it’s, the acoustic realm. Alan always thought what else does this plant do in the world for he’d end up as a professional musician and people? Does it feed people? Does it medithat his love of the natural world would be cate people? Does it create rope?” Reaching a passion and a hobby, not a full-time job. down into the pile of sticks, he pulls out a He has a degree from Berklee College of piece of handmade rope, wound from natuMusic, and through both his solo career and ral fibers. In the years since getting involved with with his band, Liquid Village, he explored all manner of sound and color: “I’ve played the CSA, Alan has established deep personal every style of music pretty much imagin- relationships with farmers throughout the able, and [I’m] pretty proficient at most of region, and those friendships are at the ‘em.” It was a Liquid Village bandmate that heart of Nashville Grown. Only recently has first introduced him to food from a CSA, he started integrating his two worlds—the or community-supported agriculture. The farm supply chain and wild foods—but since band’s bass player would hand out leftovers he began offering foraged fare through the each week after practice, and for Alan, it was site, local chefs can’t get enough. I ask him a revelation. “It was the best food I’d ever how he convinced those first few chefs to eaten,” he remembers. He began volunteer- trust his wild food expertise, that he wasn’t

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NASHVILLE GROWN: nashvillegrown.org Follow on Facebook @NashvilleGrown native.is 54 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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going to poison an entire restaurant full of people, and Alan answers with a smile. “If I go in there and I eat something in front of someone and I say, ‘You should try this!’ Then the fact that I put it in my mouth first alleviates a little bit of any potential anxiety they may have been harboring . . . but it was a slow process of building trust and faith in one another.” Many chefs will put in special orders for hyper-seasonal ingredients. The elderflower we’re harvesting today isn’t ordered yet, but Alan is confident that it will move quickly, for use in cocktails and simple syrups at places like Rolf & Daughters and The Wild Cow. We pull up next to an empty lot in Cool Springs, though the “For Lease” sign means this elder grove may not be around next time Alan comes to check on it. We step around the trees—“Watch out for snakes”—and position ourselves so that we’re able to reach the higher branches, trimming the wide fans of blossoms. Light yellow pollen sprays into the air, and we’re surrounded by a floral, sweet perfume. Quickly, we’ve filled a large plastic bin with flowers and we’re on our way. We take a detour to try and gather some rare black raspberries. The stop is a bust; either it’s not the right day or birds found the patch for breakfast. “This is my life,” he explains. “I go back to places for mushrooms, and some years they show back up at the same place and some years they don’t. And you’re just walkin’ around in the woods. Fortunately, I find that to be a valuable endeavor all by itself.” Being on the road with Alan is never dull. He’s constantly scanning the hillside, looking for seasonal markers that he’ll cross-reference with his mental map of the city and its environs. He points out a rocky outcrop lined with prickly pear cacti. We stop to taste wild bergamot in bloom. Cedars lining the roads are potential spots for gathering juniper berries. I find myself wishing I could see the woods around us as Alan does. In his eyes, every leaf has a purpose, each flower and shrub. His expertise has taken years of focused learning, and I’m just glad to be along for the ride.

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hair: @lauranotlauren lens: @willvastine

E A S T N A S H V I L L E - S Y LVA N PA R K

W W W . S C O U T S B A R B E R S H O P. C O M # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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C U MB

BY COOPER BREEDEN | PHOTOS BY ADAM LIVINGSTON

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QUE E N OF T HE E R LA ND THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE STUCK WRITING TPS REPORTS AT WORK, take a quick minute and let your mind wander to a faraway Shangri-la. You might imagine floating down a lazy river. On one bank, a pair of horses lifts their heads from the rejuvenating waters and greets you with a whinny. Above, you’re greeted by another group of your animal friends— a flock of gangly yet strangely majestic birds squawks a fond adieu from the treetops as you amble carelessly down river, deeper into your dreams. This fantasy may not have been too farfetched for Annie Klaver a couple years ago at her corporate job. Annie has been a lover of the outdoors all her life, but after nearly fifteen years of being boxed up inside, she realized that something was missing. “There was a part of me that was dormant,” she recognizes. “I forgot to heed this part of me for a long time.” That’s when she took a leap of faith headlong into the mighty Cumberland and opened River Queen Voyages, Nashville’s first kayak outfitter. Annie’s childhood was different from the childhood of many kids she sees today. “I was not raised by helicopter parents,” she recalls, noting how she would often be gone until din-

NASHVILLE M AY B E C O M E A RIVER TOWN AGAIN THANKS TO ANNIE K L AV E R A N D RIVER QUEEN V O YA G E S

ner. “We experienced nature in an uninhibited way—playing with sticks, falling out of trees.” It was these early experiences romping about in the woods of Michigan and Wisconsin that eventually inspired her to open River Queen. In college, Annie set herself up for a career abroad, majoring in French and international relations with a minor in Western European studies. She taught English in France for a stint but eventually landed her first corporate job doing international logistics at Meguiar’s, a car care product company headquartered in Rotterdam, Holland. She became homesick after a few years abroad and made her debut in Nashville in 2005, when she transferred to the company’s offices outside of the city. Shortly afterward, she moved on to a few other positions in video production. Annie admits that the jobs were not soul sucking—one even provided an unsolicited kegerator to her department—but she never lost her intrinsic desire to be outdoors. While she was still working her various corporate jobs, Annie and her friends formed a group they called the rivergang. They paddled, hiked, and camped all over Middle Tennessee whenever they could get away. Around that same time, Annie bought a house on the Cumberland River in Madison. The move afforded

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RIVER QUEEN VOYAGES: rqvoyages.com Follow on Facebook and Instagram @RiverQueenVoyages or Twitter @RQVoyages native.is

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her the opportunity to reconnect with nature, but not in the half-day or full-day commitments you’re stuck with when you go to one of the canoe and kayak outfitters outside of town or when you go camping. With a house on the banks of the Cumberland, Annie could easily put her kayak in the river in the morning and decompress for a while before going to work. Every day she became increasingly aware of the recreational resource Nashville had in the Cumberland River, and increasingly aware that she was one of the few people taking advantage of it. More and more she thought back to her childhood. “There was no agenda. You were just kinda out there and in touch with nature,” Annie reminisces. “I didn’t know I was missing that for a long time because I was a successful business lady, but all of the sudden I realized: this sucks.” Before long, she had quit her job to remedy the problem and become a successful business lady of another sort. In early 2015, River Queen Voyages opened its doors after Annie bought a kayak trailer and a fleet of kayaks off Craigslist, ran a successful $15,000 Indiegogo campaign for a 15-passenger van, and acquired

all the necessary permits for the business from Metro Parks. “I was super lucky. I got a lot of free press from The Tennessean, The East Nashvillian, Canoe & Kayak magazine,” Annie recounts of her first year in business, and it all culminated in River Queen Voyages winning “Best View of the City” in Nashville Scene’s Best of Nashville 2015 contest. Though still new, River Queen’s success has allowed Annie to focus on other issues close to her heart. While the South may be lagging in general conservation efforts, Nashville is increasingly embracing the value of its water resources. As one of the few outfitters with a permit to access the Cumberland from the East Bank Greenway downtown, Annie sees River Queen Voyages as a player in the sustainable use of the Cumberland River. At the very least, she hopes to play a role in raising awareness. “Awareness is a seed for sustainability,” Annie explains. “[River Queen Voyages] brings attention to the river.” Annie regularly hears comments from people remembering the Cumberland as grossly polluted, but she hopes that they will see River Queen kayakers in action and take a

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second look at the river. It’s true that the Cumberland used to be in bad shape, but that has changed. Annie gives much of the credit to the Cumberland River Compact, a local water quality conservation nonprofit that she says “has made enormous strides in the last ten years and has been a caretaker and watchful eye.” They have turned out to be a valuable partner to River Queen Voyages, and Annie tries to support them as much as possible, like she did during Leinenkugel’s nationwide “Canoe for a Cause” benefit event last year. In addition to that event, she has partnered up with Lightning 100’s Team Green, a group that provides outdoor adventures and promotes community service and environmental awareness, for multiple river cleanups. Annie has also recently stepped up her involvement in the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA), another nonprofit whose mission is to protect the health of Tennessee rivers. They have a strong paddling contingent that shares her philosophy that more awareness will lead to a greater appreciation, and, in turn, a heightened sense of stewardship. As such, many of their programs involve getting people out on the river. One way they do this is by establishing more accesses on rivers and lakes through the work of their access committee. The committee is led by a TSRA board member, Patty Shultz, whom Annie describes as the “Leslie Knope of Nashville,” and it includes representatives from several nonprofits, state and local agencies, and businesses. Annie has increased her role in the committee by helping to revive a dormant state program known as Park and Float, which would establish access points wherever the state repairs or builds a bridge over a river. In addition to her involvement in local conservation efforts, Annie tries to work little things into her business model to “encourage people to be conscious of what they’re putting into the world. There’s a culture of consumption, and we try to tie into the business a culture of preservation.” Though these actions may be small things—like encouraging people to bring their own reusable bottles as opposed to

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disposable water bottles, or offering rewards for picking up trash during their trip—these can add up over time and eventually, Annie hopes, inspire a change in people’s behavior. Currently, River Queen Voyages offers two routes, each with its own charm. Annie describes the shorter three-mile route from Shelby Park to the riverfront as the industrial route, but it culminates in the award-winning view of the Nashville skyline from an entirely unique perspective. She describes the longer fivemile route from Opryland to Shelby Park as the more pastoral, natural route. Annie’s favorite spot is on this stretch and is the stuff dreams are made of: a great blue heron rookery with at least fifteen large nests that you can paddle right under while horses drink from the water on the opposite bank. On either route, customers will have the opportunity to encounter all sorts of wildlife, from herons to beavers. They’ll see barges and the General Jackson, as well as some unique highlights such as the Demonbreun Cave, where Nashville’s first citizen, Timothy Demonbreun, lived while trapping many of the animals you can still see on this urban river today. Nashville was founded as a river town, and like Annie and her love of the outdoors, it lost those roots for a while. Now in a booming period, it’s rediscovering the Cumberland. Before Annie started River Queen Voyages, she regularly wondered why there was no urban kayaking on such a large river that runs through the heart of the city. It seemed like no one, until very recently, ever even acknowledged the Cumberland was there. Fortunately there has been an upswing in the number of paddlers on the river, and many of Annie’s customers are pleasantly surprised at how clean it is, at how many different animals they see, that they didn’t find dead bodies, etc. Annie is hopeful that Nashville’s recent growth will foster even more appreciation of the Cumberland and Nashville’s waterways, and she is proud to be playing a part in the movement.

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YOU OUGHTA KNOW: REPUBLICAN HAIR

Ah, the Reagan administration: the Cold War, Contra, the War on Drugs, and the Gipper’s sweet, sweet mini-pompadour. It was a cut so renowned that it led Hugh Sidey to laud Reagan’s barber, Milton Pitts, in a 2003 issue of Time: “He sculpted the Reagan pompadour to more modest dimensions but kept the slightly unruly wave up front, suggesting a man of flair, but disciplined.” Like Sidey, local band/movement/satirists Republican Hair appreciate the nuanced perfection that was Reagan’s hair. They’ve even taken to using a faceless silhouette of the ’do as their only band visual. Because of this (and their reluctance to perform live), the identities behind Republican Hair

remain anonymous. And that’s how they like it. As they told us over email: “Republican Hair waxes absurd and poetic about the apocalypse, courtship rituals, and manners, among other things. Due to the controversial nature of these topics, band membership must be kept classified.” Given the group’s mock reverence for all things ’80s, it’s only natural that Republican Hair draws on the pop sensibilities of The Cars, Devo, and Born in the U.S.A.–era Springsteen. And since it’s good-time, apocalyptic, party rock (and because it’s July), we found it fitting to ask them about a true American tradition: potluck barbecues. Mr. Gorbachev, flip this burger.

REPUBLICAN HAIR ir.org republicanha cebook, Follow on Fa Instagram Twitter, and air @RepublicanH native.is

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ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

Written by Cooper Breeden*


A couple years ago, a pair of bald eagles, Mr. President and The First Lady, fell in love high in a tulip poplar in the National Arboretum on the banks of Washington D.C.’s Anacostia River. In February, the nation experienced their love firsthand as we watched their two babies, Freedom and Liberty, hatch and grow up in the nest. According to the US Department of Agriculture, this was the first pair of eagles to nest in the arboretum since 1947. However, the once-threatened bald eagles have made a strong comeback across the country, and they’re being sighted more and more in the Nashville area. The bald eagle is a uniquely American bird with a range spanning across most of North America—from Alaska, across Canada, and down to northern Mexico. However, back in the ’50s and ’60s, we came close to losing our national bird after dousing crops with DDT. The widespread use of the pesticide caused populations to crash (the eagle was deemed endangered under the Endangered Species Acts), but once DDT was banned, the nation could work on rebuilding populations. In Tennessee, restoration efforts began in the ’80s and went on for more than twenty years. Now, hundreds of bald eagles can be found in the state, some of which reside here throughout the year, while others migrate from farther north to spend the winter here. Adult eagles become sexually mature at four or five years old, and once a mate is found, they usually stick together for life. Bald eagles breed in the winter and typically lay two eggs in February, which both parents

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NATIVE | ISSUE 49 | JULY 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

GREEN ISSUE FEATURING: Nashville Grown, River Queen Voyages, Life By Life, STAN, and more.

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