Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Urban Homestead

For those unaware of the hub-bub in the urban-food-growing-blogosphere this week, check out this post from Madame Crunchy. (I won't bless the DerV's with web traffic.)

I'm a non-rural food grower. I grow and save seed and store food, all on my urban plot of land, just like those Pasadena folks. Doesn't that make me an urban homestead? Apparently the DerV's think not. They've decided they have rights to multiple phrases and in the interest of "the protection of the term and concept" they have triggered a tsunami of ill will by trying to enforce their ownership. Protection from what? I'm sure they think they are protecting it from green-washing large corps. Somehow they think sending cease and desist letters to other small urban homesteaders who use the term, is serving that purpose.

There's a facebook page that's sprung up in response.

One of the phrases they own now is "Path to Freedom," which is kinda close to my own blog title of "My Path to Freedom." Hopefully they don't send me one of those C&D letters, as I'm pretty sure I'd not go willingly.

Naturally, when I started this blog, with the title I chose, I was aware of the DerV's site. I did some searches with my short list of site names, and did stumble across their site. I also found many others with similar names and themes and decided that the phrases I had settled on were not owned and I wouldn't be stepping on toes.

I didn't follow the DerV's site very closely, as they seemed a little weird, plus they're growing season is radically different from mine, and they have systems that I couldn't dream of doing with just myself and hubby and baby. (They have 4 adults and no kids, that's a lot more man power.) So, I've not really been back to their site since I started this blog.

Since the eruption of this drama I have found more of the DerV's writings, and it only confirms my suspicions. Weird cultist stuff. I don't want to throw stones, I'm not exactly normal or vanilla. But, some of it is just weird. They've been deleting massive amounts of data over the past couple of days, shutting down sites, pages and contact means. Circling the wagons if you will. Not a very neighborly way to handle the outcry. Sad to see the community in these straits. I'm hopeful that we can pull through this stronger.

Not sure if this will change my blog here. I'm not certain I want to relinquish my title, I'm fond of it. I'm also not sure if I want to be associated, however loosely with the DerV's.


Maureen said...

Good post...I will have to come back for another visit. I completely agree with you about the Dervais. I lost interest in them years ago as they became more enamored of themselves and less helpful to the community of homesteaders they purported to lead. Their blog posts have taken on an infomercial quality that is extremely unsettling. Selling and promoting their products overshadows the meager informational tips they offer.

This latest stunt tho surprises even me. I had expected an apology by now, if only to keep their customer base intact. They will definitely reap what they have sown.

meg- grow & resist said...

Nice! Thanks for sharing! And please don't change the name of your blog unless you want to change it!
Oh, and where in iowa are you? i lived in IC for a while. Love iowa.

Becky said...

Hi, there! Pleased to meet you. I used to do this in the Morningside Area ('that crazy lady who planted up her entire yard' was my alias) but now I'm (thankfully) on almost an acre outside of Cherokee, instead.

Since moving here 7 years ago, I've planted apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums, peaches (dead!), started asparagus, raspberry, and blackberry beds, added grape vines, gooseberry patches, strawberries, elderberries, currants, serviceberries, etc.,

We converted to all raised beds about four years ago, as well.

I'm happy to discover another "homesteader" nearby, and hope to get back to check our your blog often.

Jennie said...

Hey Meg, thanks for the support. I love Iowa too. It's really grown on me.
I live North of Sioux City, in LeMars.

Hi Becky, we are really close! Definitely keep in touch. I'm always looking to pitch in with local food projects, if you ever need another set of hands you just holler.
Are you a coffee drinker? I'm always down for a cuppa joe and meeting a new friend. I just moved to NW Iowa, so new friends are about all I have here.

Becky said...

I hadn't realized you are in Le Mars!
Two of my (carefully sought; we're not too numerous around these parts) fellow gardening friends (we have a bi-weekly "salon" of sorts, to discuss alternative ideas--sustainability, feminism, non-mainstream spirituality, liberal politics, literature, whatever (okay, only in NW Iowa are these considered "alternative" ;-) live there!
I'd love to get together and drink coffee, talk gardens, etc. I'm always rather impoverished when it comes to like-minded conversation, out here in Mainly Monsanto Land. You can check me out on Facebook (Becky Leach) if you want to verify I'm not a creepy old man stalker, by the way. And--I can't believe I'm saying this; guess I've come to accept my creeping middle age) we could use some Younger Blood in our gardening activities--sometimes we take informal tours of each other's gardens, nurseries, prairie restorations, as well.

SO sorry I missed your Seed Swap, by the way.

My email is

Becky said...

Oh, forgot to add: I found your link through the Take Back Urban Homesteading page on Facebook. How lucky!

Rosa said...

I found you through Crunchy's list and I'm so excited! I live in Minneapolis but I'm from Fort Dodge, and it's rare to find anybody in this zone of the Midwest in the blogosphere!

Jennie said...

Hi Rosa! Indeed, I love the West/East Coast bloggers as much as the next person, but sometimes their info isn't as relative to those of us who live in the lower population densities of the Midwest. Or it doesn't work out because of the climate differences.
Upper Midwest folks are always welcome here!

Kate said...

Glad to have stumbled upon you. Yours looks like about the closest blog on Crunchy's list to where I am at in eastern Nebraska. I will try to check in again from time to time. Just seems ridiculous to even be able to TM anything with the word freedom in it. Seems like an oxymoron or something. Keep on working on your path to freedom and best of luck.

fullfreezer said...

Hello. Another Iowa Blogger here. Found you through La Crunch- although I see you were a KinderGardener last year- how did I miss you??? I'll be stopping back again. too bad we're on opposite sides of the state.

Jennie said...

Hi Kate! Always nice to find someone in my area. I really think our patent system has some serious flaws. I just wrote another post about it, but I think the situation with the DerV's is just a symptom of that underlying problem.

Full Freezer, hi, welcome. I was a Kindergardener last year, and probably will be again this year. My little boy loves dirt almost as much as I do. :-D
My parents live on the East side of Iowa, so I do get over that way quite a bit.