The story of how Humble hive Homemade came to be can't be told without explaining Lauren and her family's transition to a more sustainable lifestyle...
Zac and Lauren Craig met as teenagers and quickly realized their relationship was meant to last. A few years later, they were married and purchased their first home in Dayton, Ohio after Lauren graduated from college in 2009. The house was everything they thought they wanted; quaint, full of historic charm, near great food and nightlife, and even sporting THE white picket fence! What more could anyone want?
At the time, Zac worked a suit-and-tie job at a bank, and Lauren worked as a chemical dependency counselor at a local private practice. Their long-term plan was to continue working toward the typical American Dream: Bigger. Better. MORE. Society had told them this was what young, newly married couples did. Consumption was the key to happiness.
Things started to change when Zac decided to ditch the suit and apprentice with the local electrical union. The job helped Zac feel more fulfilled as he abandoned the pretty, polished cardboard cut-out of himself he felt he had become. About two years after Zac's career change, Lauren was laid-off from her job. She found solace in growing their food herself, which became her gateway to all things sustainable. And so down the rabbit hole of intentional living the couple went!
When Lauren found out she was pregnant with Elliot, their oldest son, the world looked markedly different. The couple’s day-to-day choices felt more important than ever before. In response, they ditched the harsh chemicals and began making their own household cleaners, cosmetics and toiletries. They ate organic and tossed the majority of the pre-packaged, processed foods that had once taken up so much space in their cupboards.
When Elliot came into the world, they spent a great deal of time researching where their food was coming from and felt increasingly disconnected from that which sustained their life. To reconcile this disparity they tried to absorb as much knowledge as possible. Along the way they built bridges over the gullies of disconnect that populated their former “kid-free" lives. One bridge led them to adopt a vegetarian diet because, at the time, they couldn't afford to purchase the local, ethically-raised meat they felt they should be eating. Their journey had begun in earnest, but with no end yet in sight.
With baby Elliot's future hanging in the balance, the couple decided they needed to make a drastic change. Feeling lost and hopeless, they considered jumping ship completely and moving abroad. Luckily, before moving forward with their plans to run away, they were introduced to the idea of building an Earthship-inspired home. The Craigs were sold. Three months later they purchased their rural five acres.
In between purchasing their land and beginning the home build itself, they spent all of their free time picking up items that might otherwise have been discarded. In their new home these items were given a second chance at life and saved from a landfill. In fact, the vast majority of the finishes for the interior of the home were salvaged from the dumpster, given to them for free or purchased secondhand from thrift stores, garage sales and antique malls.
Halfway through their tire home build, the little family thought they couldn’t possibly be more excited about the future. They were proven wrong when the Craigs welcomed little Eivin to their shared journey in April of 2015. They continued building with Eivin literally strapped on for the ride.
It has taken them three years to reach their current state of “complete”. However, the family likes to think of their home as a living creature that will grow and evolve alongside them over the course of their lives. Their Humble hive would never have been built without the like-minded people they met along the way. In fact, they were so inspired by the community built hand-in-hand with their home, they designed matching tattoos to remind themselves to continue to live life with community at the heart of all they do. The life of a homesteader isn't meant to be lived in solitude. Just as it takes a colony of bees to build a hive, so it takes a community of people to build a sustainable existence.
The Craig family's future goals are driven by their abounding passion and ambition. Within the next 10 years, they hope to produce 60 percent of the food they consume from their own land; obtaining the rest from local friends, farmer's markets and bulk food clubs. They plan to build up their land-based businesses (Humble hive Homemade and Humble hive Consulting) and reduce their cost of living so drastically that they'll be able to choose freely how they'd like to spend their days. Their boys will be home-schooled, giving them the practical, life-giving skills so many lack. The future looks bright (and exhausting) for the Craig family and they would like nothing more than to share their sustainable dream with you. Together, as a community, the possibilities are endless!