Monday, February 21, 2011
Urban Homesteaders Day of Action
I grew up on a small farm outside of town...14 acres, a garden, orchard, chickens, cows, horses plus an occasional oddball animal such as a goat or pig. When I left home, I lived in Los Angeles a few years then moved back to the area and lived in a suburban home.
I started reading the Dervaes family blog around 2000 or so, I don't remember the exact year but it was early in the 2000's. I admired them and they inspired me to start living simply where I was and question everything I did. I installed an umbrella clothesline, mowed my lawn with a reel mower, started a small garden, collected water in rain barrels and much more.
I was recently divorced and I had a plan. I wanted to be self sufficient, including a fully paid off home. I managed to pay off my car and started applying those payments to my mortgage, essentially doubling my mortgage payments.
I ground wheat with the grain grinder I bought, learned to make soap, started sewing clothes, and heightened my interest in herbal medicine.
When Greg and I took the plunge and moved in together, we knew my tiny 900 square foot house just wouldn't cut it for our 5 kids. We found our current homestead which is 2 miles outside of town but next door to a subdivision now (which sprouted up after we moved here). Our urban homestead grew from a small town lot to 4.5 acres.
While the Dervaes were inspiring, I hardly feel they were the ones to coin the term urban homestead or urban homesteading since the term has been used for decades. Even if I had not stumbled across them years back, I would have ended up on this path at some point because it is in my nature. It really saddens me to think they are attacking the very people who were inspired by their work and supported their work (they have shamelessly taken donations for years now even before they became non-profit) and have spent so much of that donated money on a myriad of trademarks (they have around 19 registered trademarks to date) when they could have been using it to further the cause. In my eyes, this is not saving the names from big corporations, this is pure greed. They are turning their backs on the people who helped them get where they are today and I can't help but wonder how much their livelihood is going to be hurt because of this. I feel bad for them for putting themselves in this predicament and truly hope they can make good with it.