Friday, February 25, 2011

Path to Freedom - Lost Urban Homestead Hero status!

It came to my knowledge today February 24th 2011, that the Dervaes Family of Path to Freedom website have trademarked the names "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" and many other terms, some of which are commonly used by gardeners and like-minded people and now are going after people using these now trademarked terms on their Blogs, Websites, Facebook pages or in company names. Several businesses and organizations with the terms "Urban Homesteading" have received legal notifications, some sites already have been shut down.They even sent a cease and desist letter to the Santa Monica "public library" for running an urban homesteading class. Are these people Nuts?!

I feel very strongly about this, these are terms that have been used for a long time, much longer then the Dervaes Family has been working their land or gardened. These terms do not belong to them any more then others. In googling the term "Urban Homestead" I quickly came across a “Urban Homestead” program for HUD in 1974, a book published in 1975 with exact title, Articles in Mother Earth News from 1976 and 1980 and many more references before that. 
In fact in Europe they traditionally have done Urban homesteading for centuries. The traditional small family farm in Europe is not far out from the communities, no it is smack in the middle of town, with the larger fields around the town in close proximity. What you think most city people in the 1800 and before did? 
Right, they had gardens and chickens, meat rabbits, they grew their own food, they had "Urban Homesteads"!
Most people around the World did Urban Homesteading before the Americans used this term to describe something that has been done for millenniums. It is wrong to trademark something used in common they invented it. They didn't! It is like trade-marking the word "Farming". 
What kind of "Path to Freedom" is this anyway. 
One where you prevent others to enjoy what you stole from all? 

This is taken from their cease and desist letter:

 "If your use of one of these phrases is not to specifically identify products or services from the Dervaes Institute, then it would be proper to use generic terms to replace the registered trademark you are using. For example, when discussing general homesteading or other people’s projects, they should be referred to using terms such as ‘modern homesteading,’ ‘urban sustainability projects,’ or similar  descriptions."  

So it is "proper" for everyone to mince words, just so nobody risks suggesting they are doing urban homesteading?????                        

What is so special they are doing anyway, nobody else has done before them? Do they use a special kind of gardening, they came up with? No! They say on their website they use the "Squarefoot gardening method", so to them it seems to be perfectly okay for them to use other's ideas. What is so special of using animals to fertilize your soil, the Chinese have done that for a long time. 
I really want to know, what is so different what they are doing? 
What this world needs most is to grow food where most of the people the cities. What they are doing is undermining this effort of others by telling them to cease and desist. They are undermining a movement. Their claims 'to be getting away from corporate control of their subsistence' are laughable if they then enact those practices on ordinary people making the same attempt. They deserve all the bad publicity they get when getting caught with this sleazy behavior.

this is from their website taken from their lame excuse they posted on there

"as the popularity of Urban Homestead and Urban Homesteading increased and began to label everything from television productions to big agriculture products, we couldn't shake the warning bells in our minds. You tell us... who would you rather own the trademarks? Us or a big business corporation?"

My answer is: "No-one, not you, not me, not my neighbor, not a corporation should own these terms as trademarks." 

I am very disappointed by these developments, gardeners stabbing other gardeners in the back. How pitiful! They lost all credibility and support from me and therefore I have decided to remove all references and links pointing to their site from my blog pages. And I hope you'll do the same!

Gardeners are about sharing, sharing knowledge, planting seeds in the next gardener generations. Urban Homesteading is about making the cities a more livable, more sustainable place.
This is against my core beliefs what they have done!


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