This post is a little overdue, but better late than never, right? There is a lot of buzz right now on the internet concerning some low brow moves by the Dervaes family. A little history for those of you who are not familiar with the Dervaes family; they run the website (which I will not be linking to) Path to Freedom. It is a very slick, perfect looking website that documents their experiences as Urban Homesteaders. They have formed The Dervaes Institute, which has given them some kind of religious tax exemption in the state of California, and now they have gone and trademarked terms and phrases that are common lingo in the Urban Farming and Urban Homesteading movement. This is not only a sad day in the urban sustainability movement, but it also shows the Dervaes’ true colors. Obviously, the Dervaes must care more about money than what their work has inspired in so many other people, including myself. I have gardened for along time and have always been concerned with a sustainable world, but it wasn’t until I came across the idea of Urban Homesteading and Peak Oil, that everything started to make sense. See, I thought you had to live out in the sticks to be able to live a sustainable lifestyle, that you had to have forty acres and a mule to be able to qualify as a real back to the earth radical; boy was I wrong. In the last five or six years, I have learned more about sustainability than I could imagine. We heat our house almost exclusively with wood, grow an enormous amount of food for ourselves, we have gotten pretty good at making really good compost, we have been teaching ourselves about soap making, tap urban maple trees for making syrup, and we finally figured out how to make our own yogurt, and that is just the start of what we do. Yeah, I know that we aren’t milking our own cows or goats for milk, or growing our own grains for brewing, but we are figuring out how to do a lot of old time, sustainable skills and are having a DAMN good time doing it! That is Urban Homesteading! That is a lifestyle, and a lifestyle cannot be trademarked. What the Dervaes are doing by trade marking a “lifestyle” is legal, but it is wrong! The Dervaes’ are sending out cease and desist letters to bloggers who are infringing on their trademarked phrases (I have not received one yet), and anyone worth their weight in rich compost knows that most of these words and phrases have been around for a lot longer than before the Dervaes went ahead and trademarked them. As an Urban Homesteader, I am ashamed by the Dervaes families’ actions, and I believe that anyone who considers themselves an Urban Homesteader or an Urban Farmer, or who is Urban Homesteading needs to stand up and defend this lifestyle! It cannot be the legal jurisdiction of one family, Urban Homesteading belongs to all of us!!!
For anyone who runs a blog or a website that relates to Urban Homesteading, use this image on your site to join the protest. Send e-mails and leave comments at any site that the Dervaes-holes run! But more importantly, keep doing what you are doing; plant kick-ass gardens, teach yourself new skills and hobbies, and keep the revolution alive! Viva la URBAN HOMESTEADING! Cheers!