reclaim the urban homestead

garden girl

a few month ago, in august/september 2010, i went to re-visit my old friends in the san francisco region. among them were k. ruby blume and rachel kaplan. i was happy to re-connect with them as friends, but with these two there was another interest. ruby and rachel are both active urban homesteaders, and as such they are part of a very promising sociopolitical and ecological movement trying to bring the farm and farming back into the urban and suburban environment. on facebook i had read that rachel and ruby were co-authoring a book on the subject, that i was dying to read… while i didn’t get to see the text, i nevertheless left both of them with renewed inspiration and it is now my declared goal to within the next three years build such an urban homestead here in bern, switzerland. or die trying … 😉

i have been devouring books on the subject and now finally with spring approaching i can start planting things. the garden will be great, still need to sort the bees, chickens and the goat for the milk… and we need a house. dreams!!! green dreams!

by the way, i often translate urban homesteading to Urbane Selbstversorgung. there is no literal translation for homesteading in german that i know of, and selbstversorgung seems most suited to convey the spirit.

so far, my interest in this…


now in this past week outrageous things have transpired from california. apparently a family in passadena has registered a trademark on the terms urban homestead and urban homesteading and is sending out letters to people and publishers using the term. facebook has already blocked a number of pages among them k ruby blume’s Institute of Urban Homesteading.

two articles sum up the situation:

Oakland Homesteading School Caught in Trademark Tussle

Dervaes Family Trademarks “Urban Homestead” Term: Legal Battle Follows – Los Angeles Restaurants and Dining

“They’re trying to own something that’s being used for the common good,” Blume said, whose appeared alongside others in an OC Weekly blog post this week. “These terms have been around since the mid-70s, in magazines like Mother Earth News and others.”

With a fairly common term like “urban homesteading,” the trademark bar to enforcement can be high, although the Dervaes did register two terms, “Urban Homestead” and “Urban Homesteading” in October of last year.

“In order to win in a trademark infringement lawsuit, Urban Homesteading, the people claiming as a trademark would have to show that the mark is not descriptive or generic,” said Jed Wakefield, a San Francisco lawyer not associated with the case, “And if it’s descriptive, people would associate it with them and not basic concept of urban homesteading.”

i am shocked and disgusted and i sure hope this won’t hold up in court. or else we’ll be forced to spell things strangely.

Urb4n Hom3st34d1ng anyone?

update: aha, its been boingboinged

Take Back Urban Home-steading(s)
Urb4n Hom3st34d1ng

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.