Monday, February 21, 2011

Into the fray

I am a rural homesteader. I grow my own food, I raise livestock, I hang my laundry out to dry, I collect rain water, I bake bread, I knit and make things by hand instead of buying them, I use wood to heat my home,I forage wild food, I preserve food. But this is where I am now. My journey to homesteading began in Portland Maine. In my 3rd floor apartment on Munjoy Hill.

I started as an Urban Homesteader in 1996. I had a 10x15 community garden, where I grew herbs, winter squash, tomatoes. I would bring my kitchen waste to the compost bins at the garden. That garden fed us well curing some VERY lean times. I grew greens, tomatoes, and basil in pots on a large roof just outside my kitchen window. I collected rain water on that roof. My neighbor and I would go strawberry picking at a farm a fifteen minute drive from my home. We then learned, together, how to make strawberry jam. I baked bread. I walked down to the beach and collected seaweed for my garden. I foraged for wild raspberries on the hill leading to the beach. I harvested pole beans and froze them in my tiny little apartment freezer. I canned tomatoes. I joined a barter network and learned to work with my neighbors in a new and exciting way. I learned to knit and started making warm clothing for myself and my son. I was a single mother and I was an urban homesteader.

So, I was sadden and not a little annoyed that the Dervaes Family has decided to copyright a series of phrases including the term Urban Homesteading.

All I have to say is that if the Nearings were living, I very much doubt they would be copyrighting the term Homesteading. I think they would be very excited to see a movement grow to encompasses a lifestyle they promoted whether is was rural or urban.

7 comments:

little homestead in the mountains said...

I don't see how they can copyright "Urban Homesteading" They are not the first people to be urban homesteaders! They are on my facebook page, but they wont be for long,what they are doing is just plain wrong and selfish!!

Kelly said...

Some people have way too much time on their hands.

Wendy said...

I think you're correct about the Nearings. They wanted people to copy them - the more the merrier, in fact!

But, they knew the "product" they were selling wasn't some trademarkable phraseology, but rather a mind-set and a lifestyle - neither of which can be limited by mere words, and isn't even about living in any particular place.

You accomplished an amazing amount of self-sufficiency in your Munjoy apartment, and really, I've been to Munjoy Hill with its very close-packed buildings. It's as urban as urban gets, and for you to have done so much there - without even an nth of an acre :) ... that's TOTALLY "urban" homesteading!

I'm trying to get people interested in using the term "nanofarm" to describe our sub-acre homesteads. It's not gaining much ground ;).

Robj98168 said...

you said it wonderfully!

meg- grow & resist said...

I love that your brought up the Nearings. They were my inspiration to begin growing food. Fascinating people.

Ksmcc said...

Copyright law does not allow copyright protection of words and short phrases. Perhaps they have tried to trademark the expression?

Linda said...

I'm like you, started urban homesteading in a city apartment (several of them) in the mid 90's and finally taking it rural this summer. My grandmother though, started her urban homestead in 1975. I was influeced by granny, but also Cubas urban agriculture movement as well as a general interest in the politics of food and hunger.

I thought that the Dervaes Instititute were awfully stingy with the lack of relevant information on their site. It got boring pretty fast so I started to avoid them.