Anthony Baron Kirk

Aseda : The Best Honey to Put in Your Mouth

The best honey in the world is cultivated in the symbiotic collaboration of bees, the tribe of Mole National Forest, and two American visionaries.

By it’s very nature, a forest is a symbiotic eco-sphere.  Plants, animals, and soil engage with each other on a second by second basis, working together so that each can produce a fraction of what it takes for the forest to come alive and thrive. Their efforts denote the beauty of a complete, independent system.  A forest doesn’t need outside forces to thrive.

The Mole National Forest is no exception to this rule.  Unspoiled by modern industry, it is situated in the Northern Region of Ghana, a good 12-15 hours drive from the nearest town by dirt roads and river-crossings.  Its inaccessibility makes it an unlikely tourist destination, maintaining its pristine wilderness. Aseda founder Anthony Baron Kirk describes it as  “an ancient, primal force that is completely untouched.” Traveling there for the first time was a journey of discovery in which he felt an innate sense of purpose.

Anthony first tasted his life’s purpose at a friend’s house in Salt Lake City, Utah. The dark, primal substance sat in a questionable-looking bucket.  Wild Raw Honey—harvested by tribal communities from the Mole forest.  At first glance, he knew he was peering into something completely special –perhaps the best honey he may have ever tasted. “I tasted the honey and the spirit of the honey spoke to me. From that first taste, I had a whole vision of what I wanted to do with this company.”

“I tasted the honey and the spirit of the honey spoke to me. From that first taste, I had a whole vision of what I wanted to do with this company.”

The experience was so powerful that Anthony feels it changed the very fabric of his character.

A focused and passionate individual, Anthony exudes the confidence of a well-seasoned traveler. During one of his many trips to the Mole forest, Anthony found himself engulfed in a swarm of wild, angry Ghanian bees. Protected by his bee-keeping gear, he experienced a transcendent moment. Full moon above, encased in this symphony of buzzing bees,  Anthony felt he was receiving a calling, an asking.  And he was.

Bee Vibrations 

Vice-President of Aseda, Bessie McIntosh also had a bee calling.  It happened when she was eight years old, from a dream in the middle of the night.  She was running, running. Over a hill to discover hidden treasure.  And what was there?  Beehives.  Hundreds of beehives. She was reminded of this dream years later when Anthony Baron Kirk approached her to partner with him on his Aseda journey. Bessie recalls this moment of recognition with a burst of youthful exuberance.

She is vibrant, almost ecstatic as she describes her first taste of Aseda honey. “A vibration started at my seat and rose up through my body. It kinda just went into my head and into my toes and it shot straight out of my body. Essentially the spoon of honey raised my vibration,” she says.

The energy was tangible.  It motivated her to bring the best honey she had ever known out into the world.

And so Anthony and Bessie created their own version of symbiosis, working in tandem with the Dagomba and Gonjes tribes who reside in the Mole National Forest to harvest and bottle this incredible superfood.  This is how Aseda Raw Wild Honey was born. Anthony’s first meeting at the head village took place under the shade of a shea tree; he discussed the future of Aseda while surrounded by a circle of tribe members.  It was a clear indication of how the whole community would be involved in the process.

“There is a really beautiful way in which Ghanians live. The people in Mole are an isolated community and they want to remain that way. Their sustainability comes from an innate connection to the earth, to the land. A genuine happiness exists within them.”

It Takes A Village

Nana Kwasi Agyemang, the Ashanti-Twi tribal chief, exudes such happiness as he tells me about the honey. For years, his tribe has been using the honey to heal burns and cure sore throats. Nana refers to himself as a “simple farmer” though it is obvious that this father of three is anything but. An entrepreneur and a community leader, Nana’s connection with the Mole National Forest is palpable. As a tribal chief, Nana feels a responsibility for the region and it’s people. He has been working with them for almost 15 years.

“I work hard not to be an intruder in the forest. I want to help the natives do whatever they can to uplift themselves.”

He is also the eyes and ears of the whole Aseda operation, connecting the dots between Anthony, Bessie, and the tribal peoples who harvest the rich, sweet honey which owes its unique taste to endemic plants such as cacao, shea, and calabash.

“Aseda is helping me to be near the natives. To feel a sense of responsibility to them. With Aseda, we are letting the villagers feel a sense of ownership.  If one goes to a village and you want to impose your will on them, it won’t work.  We have formed an Aseda Beekeepers Association–the villagers have meetings and deal with problems on their own.”

The community of Aseda is a net cast far and wide. Together with Anthony, Bessie, and Nana, the villagers and tribe members work to create a synchronous relationship that not only contributes to a global community initiative but also produces some of the best honey on earth.

Upon first tasting Aseda honey, your senses are heightened. It is a wild, untamable taste. The flavor is smoky and rich with a delicately sweet aftertaste that makes you lick your lips in search for more. This is the taste of Ghanian bees harvesting honey from an untouched, ancient resource. But it is also the taste of a synergetic community; a conscious, collective effort to create sustainable practices.

Recently, Aseda took this effort one step further and started shipping their honey out of Ghana by boat instead of airplane to cut back on their carbon footprint.  The choice is an unwavering demonstration of Aseda’s commitment to the planet.

Seven years ago, Anthony Baron Kirk stepped into unchartered territory and mapped out the path to a reciprocal agreement between himself and the honey harvesters of Northern Ghana.  As Nana Kwasi Agyemang humbly states “Getting to know the people is a great achievement.  At times, we sleep and eat with them.  We do whatever we have to do for them to feel that we are all connected.”

Nana’s words delineate the initiative behind this amazing product.  Aseda is not just a honey, it is a connecting force.

Maya Bastian is a writer, a filmmaker, and an artist. Her wandering soul has taken her on many adventures and there are surely many more to come. Check her out online at or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @mayabasti

Anthony Baron Kirk

Made In Ghana, Sold In U.S.A: Honey Co-Op Provides Jobs In Africa

A Utah foodie and entrepreneur has partnered with an Ashanti chief in a remote forest region of Ghana to produce and export honey to the U.S.

The partnership resulted in a honey cooperative in Ghana that has benefited the livelihood of 3,500 people.

When Salt Lake City native Anthony Baron Kirk first tasted the brown-black honey he now markets in the U.S. as Aseda Raw Honey, he says he fell in love instantly.

“It was a very dense kind of mineral taste, with a starting taste and (a different) ending taste,” he said. “It’s like fine wine and similar rare, wonderful foods.”

Aseda means gratitude in Ashanti-twi, the language spoken by Nana Kwasi Agyemang, Kirk’s business partner, in Kumasi, Ghana, Kingdom of the Ashanti.

People of the Dagomba tribe in four villages around the forest have formed a cooperative to harvest the honey, with 700 beehives, Agyemang told AfkInsider via email.

Kirk started the cooperative by donating beehives to the Ghanaian villagers. Now the cooperative makes its own beehives.

The bees that produce Aseda raw honey gather nectar in Molé National Forest, feeding mainly off the shea tree, known for its holistic properties including skin care, and the calabash plant, a medicinal plant used to help symptoms from the common cold to malaria.

What sets Aseda honey apart from most others is its dark-brown black color – very unusual for honey, Kirk said. Nutritionally, Aseda honey has proteins and carbs, vitamins and minerals, “but the superfood qualities – active cultures and enzyme content are the most important features,” he said. “Then there’s the gourmet element.”

A reviewer on the HoneyColony website, where Aseda honey is sold, wrote this about its color: “It’s not surprising really, since this honey is produced from lovely bees who also happen to be chocoholics as they frequent the lush cacao trees in the Mole National Forest.”

For humans, getting to the Aseda Ghana beekeeping operation isn’t so easy.

“It’s a journey through long stretches of less-than-paved roads that are crazy in a car, which become bumpier dirt roads,” Kirk said. “There are river crossings.”

Kirk and his vice president and “buzz” creator, Bessie McIntosh, bootstrapped Aseda Wild Honey with the help of friends and family. When they met Atyemang in Ghana, “he went all in right along with us,” Kirk said.

“(Agyemang) has invested as much time as Bessie and I, except in Africa,” Kirk said. “It’s not just having a partner in Ghana. We had to really figure out a way to create ownership for him.”

The result is a “true” cooperative, now in its fifth year, Kirk said. “We’re providing ownership for carpenters, drivers, 100 beekeepers actually caring for the bees, ethically harvesting honey. It’s not industrial beekeeping – it’s all about bee help.”

Co-op members must get special licenses from the local government to harvest trees to make bee boxes. Metal workers and welders are paid to outfit the hives.

Once harvested, the honey comes back to the U.S. in giant 55-gallon drums, airfreighted nonstop in climate-controlled conditions. “Climate control is a big thing,” Kirk said. “Honey is one of the most stable foods on the planet. If it’s true raw honey, after 100 years it’s still edible but heat breaks down the enzymes.”

Before Aseda, the honey was not available in the U.S., McIntosh said. The occasional tourist would stumble on it at roadside stands in villages. Now it’s sold in seven states including at Whole Foods.

Agyemang said he thinks the cooperative can create a market in Ghana for Aseda honey. In Ghana, local honey is mostly sold on the street in water bottles, he said, “and I believe we can do better.”

Most supermarkets in Ghana depend on honey from Asia, “and the quality is not up to Aseda honey,” Agyemang said. “What we need is good packaging and labeling. We should bring our own honey to our supermarkets and export it to other countries in Africa.”

The Aseda honey cooperative model could work in other communities and enterprises through the partnerships with the U.S., Atyemang said.

“It’s a model of community-based work where villagers will have to let their own leaders draw their own constitution which must be freed from political interference. It can work in other business areas like shea butter extraction,” he said.

Cooperatives are particularly suited to women, who account for more than 80 percent of business in rural communities, he said.

On a personal level, Aseda has broadened Agyemang’s horizons.

“Ghana honey is not well known on the international market and our U.S. partnership helps to give the people in the U.S. the unique and different taste of Aseda. I engaged myself in this vision that the word ‘aseda,’ which means gratitude, shall spread all over the world in the mind of the people as quality honey made in Ghana.

“I believe that when properly approached, we can eradicate poverty by our own way to create cooperatives.”

For his part, Kirk says he can’t get enough of the stuff. Aseda U.S.A. buys as much of the honey as it possibly can.

In 2013, Kirk expects to import six 55-gallon barrels of Aseda honey from Ghana. In 2014, he hopes for 10 to 20 barrels.

Kirk said he’s proud he helped create a self-sustaining industry that allows self sufficiency for sometimes-solitary Ghanaian communities “that want to stay that way,” he said. “They have income. They can dictate how they want to preserve their wild lands. That’s incredibly empowering. This is a tremendous effort by everyone involved.”

Gratitude is his guiding light and mantra for having the opportunity “to do this in the world,” Kirk said. “What we’re doing as a company – we’re part of a charge that feels we need to protect these wild places as companies and leaders.”

Anthony Baron Kirk

Anthony Baron Kirk – The Face of Conscious Entrepreneurship

In January Nadine Christine Hamdan, Hollywood writer and Television producer interviewed Anthony Baron Kirk about his company Aseda Raw Honey and was so blown away by his articulation and purpose, that she submitted this article to OM Times Magazine verbatim.

Long have I sought a threshold to begin my journey toward helping the world and it landed on the gateway to Africa.  I have watched and studied many people and many companies, looking for others that feel the way that I do about the world and the horrors that take place in every division of it.  I have looked for inspiration and although finding a little, I have mostly been disappointed.  At some point I awakened to the possibility that I had the power to create something like I would like to see.  Sourced from my own inspiration and guided by my heart, I began a journey toward creating a new world business concept.

I have formed a company, Aseda, LLC ( which provides a cooperative exchange and supports sustainable bee keeping, local ecosystems and local communities in Ghana, Africa and my hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Aseda means Gratitude and this is and has been my guiding life purpose.   From this philosophy of Gratitude I have poured my love and inspiration into a business model that is purposed around a cooperative exchange.

Capitalism transmuted into Cooperatives.  Exploitation into sustainability. Materialism into conscious purchasing.  The framework for responsible business practices has all people and steps included within.  A huge undertaking I know and what better time to propose such revolutionary ideas to the market.

My love of life and this earth that supports it spurred the creation of a great vision; a social and environmentally responsible company which focuses on educating the world about bees, their importance and the impending crisis we face form their disappearance.  Creating a world of conscious commerce.

The love for an amazing and truly unique honey, the connection to a tribal chief and the childhood dream of being involved with Africa all came together at the precisely the same moment.   From this opportune moment the beginnings of a socially and environmentally driven company began.

A travel to the remote region of northern Ghana sealed the journey to create the cooperative exchange.  Aseda positions itself from the relationship that I built and the focus to build a model where giving back to the native peoples, the land and building a sustainable bee keeping operation are at the heart of the project.  On the home front, Aseda builds itself utilizing local and sustainable resources.  Our mission is to educate the population about the disasters facing the honey bee and the astounding benefits of pure, raw honey.  This humble servant, the bee is the representation of the health of our environment and the bee is disappearing.

We are interconnected with the honey bee and their fate is ours.  Our outreach program for Backyard Bee Keeping and the involvement of local grade schools is taking the education to the source, our children.

My love of life is the connection I feel to all things and all people.  As we move forward in this great time of change I am committed to these principles.  I seek not to exclude anyone in this process.  The passion that drives me is the profound connection I feel to all things.  To grow a “you and me” world from the ashes of the “you or me” world from whence we came is the future I see.  To continue with the success of our model in Ghana and reach out to many other areas of the world is the future for Aseda.  My mission is to create and express from this place found deep within my heart.  For now is the time.

I have spent the better part of my life seeking to understand health and wellness both from within my body and the earth around me.  Bombarded by food stuff and products all with the same theme of death and destruction, I have been a man lost at sea.  It seemed that everywhere I would turn; there would be some conflicting research about the latest and greatest medicine or food product and its ability to cure this or be good for that.  And yet, all around I see people ever sicker, a planet ever destroyed and people less happy the more stuff they surround themselves with.  I have experienced this chaos myself, falling into the pattern of more.   More house, more car, more credit cards, more gear, more clothes more food from all over the globe.., and less time, less energy, less health, less sleep, less fun and less joy.  Awakening to the unsustainable features within my own life has given me the opportunity to begin creating a world with a much higher vibration.

Deep within my own body I began to look.  Holding the insights into the world around us, our polluted and toxic inner environments give us the perfect starting grounds for real change.  Over 18 years in the study of holistic health I found that the answer to all of our health and planetary concerns are found within our own bodies and how we choose to treat them.

Passionate about the food that I put into my mouth led me to know the farmer’s that grow it.  Taking the time to detoxify my body I found that my thoughts became clearer as well.

Seeing through the distorted messages coming through in broken segments of information, I recognized an available clear steam of energy.

A vibration held high with like hearted individuals also creating a healthy world.  Businesses sprouting all over the world driven by a social and environmental life force finding their paths to the sun and growing in acceptance and appreciation form a burgeoning market of conscious consumers.  I began to see the possibilities.

I am deeply thankful for my health and fitness journey along the way; it has brought me to the wisdom imparted from experience and the opportunity to create a business formed from a dream. We will see the transformation of our environment once we have dealt with the one inside our bodies and our souls.

Please also see Sustaining A Sweet Village

Anthony and Team Aseda will be at Sundance Film Festival in January.  Check out their website  for their incredible honey and schedule. Connect with Anthony on Facebook

Anthony Baron Kirk

Utah company cashing in on sweet deal for Ghana honey

By Keith McCord, KSL News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah company is creating a lot of buzz because of what it sells — honey.

Aseda Raw Honey has an usual business plan. It’s a plan that’s changing lives of people in remote villages in central Ghana in western Africa.

Aseda president and founder Anthony Baron Kirk first tried the honey several years ago.

“I stared into this beautiful gallon of the darkest, most richest honey that I thought I had ever seen,” he said, “so immediately my curiosity was piqued.”

Kirk set out to discover where this unusual, dark, thick honey came from. He found it thousands of miles away in a remote part of western Africa.

In 2009, he traveled to Ghana to meet with Oheneba Nana Kwasi Agyemang, chief to the Kyidomhene tribe. Through this meeting, a relationship was created between Aseda and various Dagomba villages that raise native Ghanaian honey bees in the Molé National Forest.

The area is very far removed.


“I stared into this beautiful gallon of the darkest, most richest honey that I thought I had ever seen, so immediately my curiosity was piqued.” -Aseda president Anthony Baron Kirk


“You get this feeling that it’s just ancient,” Kirk said, “like being back in time 100 years. It’s pristine — no environmental pesticides, no agriculture, very remote, very tribal living.”

He traveled to small villages, meeting with the residents and tribal leaders and developing a plan to bring the honey to Salt Lake City.

The honey is darker than typically found in Utah because bees are buzzing around vegetation not found in Utah, such as a cacao and Shea trees and calabash bushes.

“The thing that’s fun about honey is that, wherever you go, honey is different,” Kirk said, “and that’s because of the geography, the local plants.”

The company’s mission is to support the people in the villages and increase opportunities for them, such as having access to clean water and education, as well as supporting the actual beekeeping operation.

Aseda has provided the resources for local residents to build 750 beehive boxes and place them throughout the forest. The company has produced steady new jobs and income for villagers.

“There are 33 villages in the Molé National Forest,” Kirk said. “And if we can begin with a few, we have six right now, we can spread this throughout the rest of the villages. … That really creates this industry for them that creates sustainable life.

“We’re working with the Gonjas. We’re working with the Ashanti-Twi, the Dagomba tribes on the other side of the world,” said Bessie McIntosh, Aseda’s vice president of sales. “And here, we are in Utah bringing in the beautiful honey cooperatively with our partners in Ghana.”

Last year, the company bought about 4,000 pounds of honey from the beekeepers in Ghana. This year, Aseda expects to double that amount.

For the past two years, the honey has been sold in 44 Utah stores and shops. Now, Aseda is using the Kickstarter crowd-funding tool to grow.

“Right now, we want to go big time,” Kirk said. “We want to make this to shelves nationwide.”

Aseda harvests in the spring and fall, so the next shipment of 55-gallon drums of the honey will arrive soon. The honey will be sent to Logan, where it is packaged in jars and packets, and then shipped to distributors.

“The only process that our honey goes through is that it’s strained,” McIntosh said, “so this honey is truly straight from the hive, exactly as Mother Nature had intended.”