nashville. music city, southern soul, and sustainability? bet you didn’t see that one coming. i’ve been visiting nashville a few times a year since my family relocated there in 2018. for the longest time i didn’t even try to search for plant based cuisine or ethical shops because every time i mentioned the words “vegan” or "recycle” it appeared that i was speaking a foreign language, potentially from a different planet all together. no offense to the sweet southern souls, but eco conscious living doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of the city here. on this past trip, however, i decided to do a little digging to see what i could find and i was actually pleasantly surprised. nashville hosts a few sweet gems in the sustainable space that i was excited to explore. please enjoy this simple and sweet sustainable guide to nashville.
if you are looking to get a little stretch in while you’re roaming the city, i would highly recommend Small World Yoga for some wholesome community and a bit of a workout! what makes Small World Yoga stand out to me is that while they do have public classes anyone can attend, they also act as a non-profit and bring their yoga classes to places like Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs, local schools, and even juvenile detention centers. what a beautiful way to connect with the young community through movement, and do good whilst doing so. here is me sporting an alarming amount of orange, but feeling so grateful to be a part of their movement! check them out if you have the chance!
left photo credit: John Schumacher
if you’re looking for a refreshing smoothie bowl to beat the nashville heat, check out this new shop in the 505 district, E+Rose Wellness Cafe. zach and i enjoyed their completely plant based aloha and blue bae bowls, which were so packed with nutritional ingredients. i was very full afterwards which is typically not the case with fruit, so i was surprisingly satisfied! on the off chance you’re searching for a little more, they have toasts, wraps, salads and more! some things i admire about this shop — they use glass juice bottles instead of plastic (which is rare!), they use compostable cups and straws, and source their fruit locally when possible. their goal is to have a profound environmental impact in a positive way and i couldn’t agree more!
Kokos ice cream claims to be the best plant based ice cream in all of the USA…and i think they might be right. we enjoyed a late evening stroll to this adorable park filled with shipping container restaurants, complete with string lights and a volleyball courtyard. their ice cream is dairy and nut free, and made from organic ingredients. i enjoyed the pumpkin spice and carmel latte options — literally the best plant based ice cream flavors i have ever encountered. really wish i could just ship a tub of this to my doorstep in portland. i’d be sure to put this on your can’t-miss list for nashville.
vegan. kale. caesar. need i say more? right before our flight home we popped into Makai Cafe, a very new establishment in the southern part of the city. they aren’t plant based, but they do host a plethora of tasty vegan options, like the avo toast, vegan kale caesar, roasted mushroom tacos, and curried cauliflower to name a few. we really enjoyed our time here not only for the great food, but for the warm and calm atmosphere too. a few things i love about Makai Cafe — all of their food is locally sourced within 30 miles, they use compostable cups and straws, they compost their food scraps for their hydroponic mushroom farm (literally so cool, what a way to reuse), and their company is working towards becoming zero waste! i just wanna give their whole team an applause for leading the way in a city that needs a little sustainable love. can’t wait to return here!
where do i even begin. ABLE is an ethical clothing brand local to nashville and their mission is so pure you will want to purchase just about everything in their shop. i was lucky enough to spend a few short days with their team learning about the heart behind their company and working directly with the women they are impacting. it was such an uplifting experience. ABLE employs women out of rehabilitation centers who are overcoming hardships; women who otherwise would not be given the chance at a loving work environment with benefits. listening to these women telling stories first hand was so touching, and it really moved me in my thoughts towards consumerism. not only is it important to consider what material our clothing is made from, but where our clothing is made and who made it. when shopping with ABLE, you are directly impacting these women here in nashville, and also dozens of women in ethiopia, where the other half of ABLE is being run. they publish all of their wages, so you know exactly how much the person who made your tshirt, shoes, bag, etc. was paid and they ensure that all of their employees earn a livable wage. i could go on for quite a bit about this sweet company, but i will leave their website here for you to check out on your own!
left & right photo credit: John Schumacher
i hope you enjoyed this quick guide to a more sustainable nashville. there’s a lot of good things popping up around this city and i am so excited to see what’s to come.
until next time