There’s a bit of hub-bub going on on Facebook right now about how the Dervaes family (of Path to Freedom fame) has successfully trademarked the terms “urban homestead” and “urban homesteading” and is forcing Facebook to shut down pages that use the term and sending legal notifications to businesses with the term “urban homesteading” in it.
I don’t know where this is all going or how much of this is true, but if it is, I’m going to be seriously disappointed in the narrow-mindedness of their actions. I do hope they clarify what they are up to. I can’t see how they could possibly take ownership up the concept of urban homesteading since it’s a common term.
At the bottom of their website it states:
Path to Freedom, Urban Homestead, Urban Homesteading, Grow the Future, Homegrown Revolution (and trowel/fist logo) are registered® trademarks of Dervaes Institute.
I don’t know about you, but this sure doesn’t sound like a path to freedom to me but rather a branding of a lifestyle that doesn’t belong to them. It’s like trademarking “farming”.
In the comments, La Crunch has more info about their claims – It turns out that they’ve trademarked a lot of common terms for what a lot of us are doing. I haven’t noticed the most common response being trademarked yet, but they might want to TM “You can kiss my ass” real fast, because hundreds of people seem to think it is precisely the most relevant term. Apparently they sent a cease and desist letter to the Santa Monica *public library* for running an urban homesteading class. Are these people out of their minds?!?!?
So here are the list of terms you should not, under any circumstances use ever again, no matter whether they accurately describe your experience, and no matter that these terms long predate them:
* URBAN HOMESTEADING®
* PATH TO FREEDOM®
* GROW THE FUTURE®
* HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION®
* FREEDOM GARDENS®
* LITTLE HOMESTEAD IN THE CITY® (pending)
You should definitely not write anything along the lines of “Hey, moral midgets, I piss upon your non-trademarket homegrown revolution, since I’ve got my own and am happily working on my own path to freedom, and you can kiss my freedom garden and shove it where the solar oven don’t heat up.”
Consider how this might affect the 35 year old Urban Homesteading Assistance Board in New York City, for example. We definitely want to waste the time of agencies that help the poor with this kind of garbage!
I think the Dervaes family once did a service in the past to a lot of people – their model of the kind of urban food productivity that is possible has been inspiring. This, however, is utter and complete bullshit. And it is destructive bullshit – the thing is we most need people to grow food where most of the people are. If you don’t care enough about other people not to undermine that effort, you deserve what you get. If you claim to be getting away from corporate control of our subsistence, and then enact those practices on ordinary people making the same attempt, you deserve the price you will pay for this when someone notices your sleazy behavior.
If you are on facebook, you can join the group “Take Back Urban Homesteading” and throw up a banner claiming the term. I personally will be removing all Dervaes links from my own work – too many good people and great sites out there to offer even occasional involuntary support to the assholes. Urban subsistence is important. These people aren’t.