Guest Editor: Joe Callantine
My tiny story started back in my mid-twenties but at the time, I didn’t really know it was part of my tiny story. I had a world view that cursed “the man”, cursed the “machine” and was not a big fan of society as it was. I started stockpiling books on homesteading, bushcraft, off-grid survival, and the like. I swore that one day it will be “every man for himself!” Also, during this phase of my life, I was starting to refine my own personal passions. Those definitions came out of my end goal of being completely self-reliant and not dependent on the system.
It started with how I was going to power my homestead. The most obvious option was solar power. This set me out on the mission to learn a lot about solar, it’s operation, and how to maintain a system. I embarked on a 3-year adventure of higher education and obtained a degree in Photovoltaic design. Throughout that process, I asked the question “what if my solar equipment breaks? Who works on this kind of stuff?” Electricians! During the 3 years, I was attending college, I became an electrical apprentice at a small, local electrical contractor, and started attending trade school. At one point, I was working full-time, going to college and trade school at the same time. Talk about a frenzy of chaos those couple of years!
I continued to learn about renewable energy and my interests further evolved into a love for electric transportation and while I dug more into homesteading, I found solid science in the field (pun intended) of Regenerative Agriculture. I was raised in a small farm community in rural Ohio and quickly learned that how we grow food today is a far cry from how Mother Nature operates. With organizations like the Rodale Institute and Regeneration International continually educating and advocating on practices that help heal the planet AND produce more nutritionally dense food we could have a solution to many of the modern-day problems in our society.
We’ve officially arrived in Denver by this time and I was introduced to the Tiny House Movement. While researching the finer details of tiny houses, I realized that there was one HUGE problem. No one knew where to put these things. It seemed that most cities and counties classified these structures as Recreational Vehicles which, in most cases, prohibited full-time living. So, I set out to fix this.
While researching local zoning requirements and building code, I came across a local builder who appeared to be working toward the same goal. At the time, it made sense to join forces and make forward progress. Without delving into the emotionally charged details, a model home came out of the short-lived partnership. My tiny. Meraki – Greek – To put a little of oneself into what you do. Since the departure from the organization, I moved on to launch Life Size: Tiny Communities as a method and vehicle to solve the primary issue for tiny houses locally as well as nationally.
I’ve come to know many people in my own backyard and realized that I’ve finally found my tribe! I have finally found a place where I belong. A place where people believe in the same things that I believe in and a place where people see that things have to change in our culture and in our society if we are to maintain a new and sustainable status quo. The adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” no longer applies. There are many things in our society that are very much broken, just because that’s how it’s always been, doesn’t mean that is how it should be.
I’m choosing #mytinylife because I want to be the change that I want to see in the world. Sustainable, healthy, happy, and prosperous.
Let’s all work together to forge this movement into the industry it deserves to be!