Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't take that away from me...

I consider myself to be an "Urban Homesteader" - if only in a small way - at this point in time anyway.
I grow some of my own veggies, (or attempt to, when the snails aren't busy thwarting me) I have fruit trees, I can and preserve - as well as occasionally freeze my homegrown fruits and veggies.
I collect rainwater for re-use in the garden, and the rinse water from the washing machine goes directly on the garden.
I compost, mulch, recycle, repair and reuse or give stuff away... whenever I can.
I do what I can to be self-sufficient, and although I'm certainly not where I want to be yet, I'm walking the walk and talking the talk.

But the right to call myself an Urban Homesteader may soon be taken away from me - and taken away from any of you - who consider yourselves to be *Urban Homesteaders*.

See, it seems there's now a war a-brewing, and it all has to do with the Dervaes family aka Dervaes Institute - feeling that they, and they alone, should have the sole legal right to use the term "Urban Homestead" or "Urban Homesteading".
Because they "trademarked" the terms in 2010.

"Last year, the Institute managed to register the term as a trademark (in connection with “educational services” such as blogging) and it is now sending take down requests and warning letters targeting individuals and organizations that have been using the term for years."

Now, as far as I know - and according to numerous sources smarter than me - "urban homestead" or "urban homesteading" is simply a term in common usage... and it's used by folks all over the world, who are only just trying to reduce their impact on the environment and live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
By growing their own food... whether it be fruits and veggies, or chickens or assorted livestock for personal use, or collecting rainwater, re-using grey water, canning, dehydrating, freezing, making cheese or butter, or wine and beer ... plus a whole lot of other things.

It's what people have been doing for a long, long time... and in all that time, the terms "Urban Homestead" or "Urban Homesteading" have both been in common usage.

As a matter of fact, a lot of urban homesteading books have been in published in the last ten+ years or so (before the term was copyrighted)... and I'm lucky enough to own a couple of them.
(Neither one these though.. but they're definitely on my wish list)

Urban Homesteading by Rachel Kaplan and K Ruby Blume
("Rachel Kaplan has been gardening in and around urban environments for over 15 years and belongs to a family of farmers and lovers of the land... and K. Ruby Blume is an educator, gardener, beekeeper, artist and activist, with 20+ years experience gardening in an urban setting.")

Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (published 2008)
To check out their blog - "Root Simple", go here

Now these very people are being unfairly confronted with legal action... all because the Dervaes family/ Dervaes Institute - believe that they - and they alone - should have sole right to the terms.
They even went to the extreme of contacting face book ... and managed to get several pages belonging to Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen as well as others (folks who use the terms) disabled.
Good one, face book.

But... this whole kerfuffle has ticked off a lot of people who consider themselves to be "urban homesteaders", as well as getting in the faces of Face Booker's and Bloggers...
So the upshot is that there's now a serious backlash against the Dervaeses' and their stand-over tactics ...
And that's as it should be, in my humble, urban homesteading opinion.

Take Back Urban Home-steading(s)
(face book page)


Sherri said...

how about an urbanized colonist :)

farmlady said...

My God, what's next? Soon they will be selling dictionary words and expressions to the highest bidder.
I hope that this is fought tooth and nail.
As a rural homesteader I would be one angry human being if I got a letter telling me that I couldn't use the pseudonym FARMLADY on my blog because someone bought the rights to the word.
Maybe I better copyright the name. That's a bummer....

Anonymous said...

How on earth can they trade mark that expression??? Things like this makes me feel so angry!!

The beat thing is probably to send lots of protest mails to those that trade marketed it and boycott anything they do until they start behaving like they should!!!


Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

Thanks for posting this, and thanks for stopping by mine yesterday.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

HOGWASH!!!! This world is just getting wackier by the minute! And not in a funny, Tatersmama kind of way! I think you should change your blog or start a new one with that title just to see what happens! I like Sherri's suggestion...or how about Homesteading Urbanite. Stick it to the Man!

Homestay Mama said...

The Dervaes are being greedy--and they deserve to have it backfire on them!

Marjie said...

Maybe they should trademark "Assholes" as in that's what they are?

I live in an actual homestead. That's right. Because my state passed a law several years back giving homeowners huge discounts on their property taxes - like, up to one whole percent - for their homestead, which is their primary residence. That's right; on a $1000 property tax bill, a homesteader gets a whopping $10 discount! But I have a homestead. Mine, however is suburban, so maybe I'll be safe...for a little while?


gramma2many said...

You know Kate, in the U.S. Montsano is trying to make it illegal to grow your own gardens and to save seeds for use in the next year.
Keep up your Urban Homesteading, cause you probably won't be able to once you return to our shores.
Besides, how can anyone enforce such a stupid trade mark. The insanity continues.
I am posting from my new blog so you can come join it. Need more followers there:)

Kurichan said...

what a load of hooey...

Nancy M. said...

That is just strange how they do things like that! Don't worry about them, people are just crazy these days!


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