Tenacious Bee Collective sees itself as a bee-keeping advocacy company that works with hive-based products, including a variety of honey—uni- and multi-floral—and beeswax apothecaries. One of the central aims of this organisation is to create bee-friendly habitats and bring exciting job opportunities for the rural mountain communities of Western Himalaya. TBC does this by training local Gaddi women in the allied activities of beekeeping. Apart from this, the company also works with small-scale farmers of the region to ethically and scientifically manage beehives.
Spread across Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, Tenacious Bee Collective works with local beekeepers of these fragile ecosystems. As the focus is on quality and community, it produces small-batch harvests. Addressing the multi-layered problems of lack of job opportunities and urban migration in the region, the organisation has been committed to providing jobs to the locals. This is done by working with local stakeholders to amplify the work in the larger community, and by facilitating preliminary research.
Co-founders Kunal Singh and Malini Kochupillai began this journey as a quest to find raw honey from the mountains in Himachal Pradesh. Discovering the community’s issues and creating a platform for such discourse led to the birth of Tenacious Bee Collective in 2018. Following the guidelines set by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], the founders and their team identify beehives with sealed honeycombs and harvest 30 per cent of the honey, leaving 70 per cent for the bees.
Why We Love Tenacious Bee Collective
- Information dissemination – Tenacious Bee Collective participates in various community activities throughout the year, hosting artists and creative practitioners who conduct art-based workshops for children and women. These workshops and interactions are tailored to the local ecology, culture, customs, and traditions and serve as a platform for important conversations among the community.
- Adopt a Beehive model – The beehive adoption model operates on an annual subscription basis and guarantees a minimum support price for beekeepers, mitigating traders and middlemen in the supply chain. The honey is directly supplied to consumers after harvest.
- Tenacious Recipe Book – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenacious Bee Collective responded to the universal creative surge in cooking by releasing an online zine on how to use different kinds of honey. Illustrated by Smita Chatterjee, this beautiful documentation of recipes is available for free in your inbox when you sign up for their newsletter.
- Building communities for a larger purpose – Tenacious Bee Collective uses honey and beekeeping as tools to address complex issues and bring attention back to people living in the mountains. The organisation initiates dialogue around climate change, urban migration, food production volatility, lack of financial independence in women, and the overall loss of traditional knowledge, and how these factors affect communities in the valleys of the two neighbouring states.
- Litchi Honey and Raw Unpasteurised Bharmour Forest Honey – Although an untrained palate may not distinguish the nuanced flavours of some seasonal flora—like Acacia and Chichiri—from the array of honey variants in the Tenacious Bee Collective online shop, some stand out. The fruity notes of Litchi in the Raw Unpasteurised Litchi Honey and the complexity of flavour in the Raw Unpasteurised Bharmour Forest Honey made them winners in the books of our founder, ChefTZac.
What does sustainability mean to you?
“At Tenacious Bee Collective, sustainability means taking a comprehensive approach towards environmentally, and socio-economically uplifting rural mountain communities. It involves mindful consumption, conserving natural resources and fostering social inclusion to ensure prosperity for all—achieving these goals through slow, thoughtful growth.
We take inspiration from Aldo Leopold’s philosophy ‘thinking like a mountain’ to understand human beings’ position within the ecosystem, and the profound connectedness of the many diverse elements that comprise it. Resonating deeply with our founding principles, it encapsulates the spirit behind our work which aims to connect the disparate dots between traditional knowledge, scientific research, and local cultures, to fuel sustainable creative local economies. At the core of our work is the idea of simply caring: about the people, the land, the animals and insects, and strengthening the relationships between all of us.”
— Malini Kochupillai, Co-founder, Tenacious Bee Collective
The Locavore Bite
TL Bite offers a glimpse into how a partner producer runs their operations, and reflects their core principles and values. The idea is to provide insights into their practices and highlight their positive efforts descriptively. We have identified seven key areas of assessment – origin and source of ingredients, composition and integrity of the products, workforce policies, production practices, community-related initiatives, approach towards preserving or celebrating traditional knowledge and the materials used in packaging. While this assessment may not be entirely comprehensive, we hope it helps you make an informed decision about why you might want to support them, and the ways in which to.
The information below offers you a snapshot of where Tenacious Bee Collective stands on these parameters. We have put this together based on several rounds of conversation with Malini Kochupillai and Kunal Singh, Founders of Tenacious Bee Collective. Click on a piece of the pie below to find out more.
Products We Recommend
How to Buy
If you would like to learn more about Tenacious Bee Collective, or try their products, check out their website. If you’re interested in supporting them in other ways, please contact us at email@example.com.
This is a paid partnership with Tenacious Bee Collective. We strive to keep the practices of a producer transparent and honest across all forms of partnerships.