IDEAS For Us | March 30, 2014

The Hive Launches in Boulder, CO [RECAP]

Tuesday March, 11 marked the inaugural community gathering otherwise known as the Hive: Boulder. Held in the industrial—yet welcoming—setting of the Twisted Pine brewing room, a small but dedicated group of friends met to run through what will soon become a bi-monthly workshop geared toward addressing and mitigating one local environmental or social issue per month.

Though ambitious, this goal is attainable. Hive: Boulder is part of the flagship Hive program instituted by internationally recognized Florida based nonprofit IDEAS For Us. Already, Hive: Orlando completed a full years-worth of actions and is launching a short documentary depicting the work of the Hive. Hive: Tallahassee just finished their first workshop and will be beginning to target water related issues. Hive: Boulder marks the program’s first flight out of Florida, and will be focusing on waste solutions.


Distinguishing Hive gatherings from other community-action rallying events is the use of facilitators who tease out the problem and solution from meeting attendees. Rather than attendees being told about an issue and how to fix it, Hive meetings come to these conclusions by way of active conversation and collaboration between everyone in attendance. The facilitators don’t have the answers, the people have them, and the facilitators merely nudge conversation in the right direction.

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Therein lies the beauty of Hive meetings. No one knows what the specific result of any given meeting will be other than, “At the end we will have solution X for local issue Y.” Hive meetings rely on the knowledge, experience and expertise of the residents in the community to identify both X and Y. Facilitators encourage external partnerships to grow outside of the initial gathering, as it is these partnerships that enable solutions to succeed without fundraising or spending any money out of pocket for materials, advice, or labor.


Ten people attended Hive: Boulder, including the three facilitators. This humble turnout did not dissuade or damper the enthusiasm of those involved, and the intimate nature proved to be an ideal setting for a first attempt at gathering the swarm in Colorado. A combination of thought-inducing exercises, Billy’s Chilis, Northstar Imperial Porter, and the West Bound Braggot ensured that conversation was lively and productive.

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As the ideas started flowing, it quickly became apparent that waste management from area businesses, including proper composting of materials, is an issue impacting much more than the capacity of landfill sites. Proper disposal and redistribution of waste products into the local economy can have untold economic and environmental benefits to local farmers, residential gardeners and greenhouse keepers, and waste management facilities.

An integral component for encouraging proper waste management is in educating community members, business owners and political leaders on the various issues surrounding this problem. Hive: Boulder is preparing to tour Boulder’s local recycling and waste management facility Eco-Cycle to help answer a few important questions including: How are tipping fees calculated for businesses that produce waste? What is difficult about encouraging local businesses to compost or recycle, and what would make composting a more accessible and desirable option for them? What options are available for the Boulder community to buy back recycled products and compost? Where does most of Boulder’s waste get processed?

Two weeks following the Eco-Cycle tour will be an action event geared toward addressing the issue of business waste management. The second Hive: Boulder meeting will decide what this action even will be, where it will be held, and how the community will set it into action!

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If you want to attend the next Hive: Boulder meeting please contact Henry, Hannah and Jon at [email protected], or visit the Hive: Boulder Facebook page for more information and event schedules.

– Jonny Prescott
The Hive: Boulder