Urban homesteading can refer to several different things: programs by local, state, and federal agencies in the USA who work to help get people into city homes, squatting, practicing urban agriculture, or practicing sustainable living techniques.
What is urban homesteading
According to UC-Davis, "an urban homestead is a household that produces a significant part of the food, including produce and livestock, consumed by its residents. This is typically associated with residents’ desire to live in a more environmentally conscious manner."
Aspects of urban homesteading include
- Resource reduction: using solar/alternative energy sources, harvesting rainwater, using greywater, line drying clothes, using alternative transportation such as bicycles and buses
- Raising animals, including chickens, goats, rabbits, fish, worms, and/or bees
- Edible landscaping: growing fruit, vegetables, culinary and medicinal plants, converting lawns into gardens
- Self-sufficient living: re-using, repairing, and recycling items; homemade products
- Food preservation including canning, drying, freezing, cheese-making, and fermenting
- Community food-sourcing such as foraging, gleaning, and trading
- Natural building
Urban homesteading practices can conflict with current city zoning regulations and homeowner’s association by-laws.
Urban homesteading is associated with urban agriculture.
History of urban homesteading
Having an allotment or vegetable garden has been common throughout history, notably, victory gardens during the WW1 and WWII eras, immigrant gardens, the Integral Urban House, and the inner-city community gardening movement in the 1970s. The "back-to-the-land" movement of the 1960s, exemplified by numerous groups such as Tennessee's The Farm, has recently been reformed into a "back-to-the-city" movement.
A wealth of urban homesteading books (Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne, Erik Knutzen; The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan; Urban Homesteading by Rachel Kaplan, K. Ruby Blume; Toolbox for Sustainable City Living by Scott Kellog) have been published in the past decade. All over the world, people have found ways of growing their own food in inner-city urban areas.
The Dervaes Institute (the Dervaes Family) registered "urban homesteading" and "urban homestead," as well as other phrases, as trademarks in 2010. In February 2011, a controversy arose concerning a letter the Dervaes Institute sent to authors, bloggers, and organizations using the term "urban homesteading" in which they were asked to not use the terms "urban homestead" or "urban homesteading" without permission or attribution. On February 14–15, 2011, the Dervaes were successful in their attempts to disable several Facebook pages using the term. This caused outrage in the urban homesteading community and a backlash against the Dervaeses. Three of the entities whose pages were disabled, including authors Erik Knutson and Kelly Coyne, Process Media and Denver Urban Homesteading filed Petitions to cancel the Dervaes Institute's trademarks in the US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2011.
On 21 February 2011, Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which is representing authors Coyne and Knutzen and publisher Process Media), sent a response to the Dervaes Institute and published the letter on the EFF website.
On 7 April 2011, Denver Urban Homesteading filed a Petition to Cancel the trademark on "urban homesteading".
On 10 April 2013, Denver Urban Homesteading filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Colorado against Dervaes Institute, Jules Dervaes and Mignon Rubio Dervaes seeking to cancel the trademark "urban homesteading," an injunction to restore its Facebook page, and damages.
- Kristen Reynolds, University of California Small Farm Program, February 2009, Urban Agriculture in Alameda, CA. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- UNV-Reno Co-operative Extension Service, 18 September 2009, Urban Homesteading: Sustainable living in the city. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Everett Sizemore, 18 January 2010, Backyard Chickens and Bureaucrats: The Regulatory Hurdles for Urban Homesteads. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Jaime Gross, 23 April 2010, That Big Farm Called San Francisco. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Niles, Meredith (2008-07-16). "Urban homesteading in Washington, D.C.". Grist (Grist Magazine). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Clark, Justin (2008-05-01). "http://www.naturalhomemagazine.com/Garden/2006-05-01/Pasadena-paradise.aspx?page=3". Natural Home Magazine (Ogden Publications). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Eskeland, Imme Dirks (2008-04-22). "Grønnsakshage som enøktiltak". Aftenbladet (in Norwegian) (Stavanger Aftenblad AS). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- US Patent and Trademark Office, Search for Urban Homesteading.
- Felicia Friesema, 18 February 2011, LA Weekly, Dervaes Family Trademarks "Urban Homestead" Term: Legal Battle Follows. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Twilight Greenaway, 17 February 2011, The Bay Citizen, Oakland Homesteading School Caught in Trademark Tussle. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Wendy Priesnitz, 17 February 2011, Natural Life Magazine, Creating Change or Controlling Words? Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Anais Dervaes, 16 February 2011, Dervaes Institute Blog, Urban homestead trademark matter, and copy of controversial letter. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Food Renegade, Take Back Urban Homesteading
- Granny Miller; A Journal of Agrarian Politics Philosophy and Practice St. Jules and Our Ladies Of Pasadena; Urban Homestead Saints or Greedy Self-Serving Sinners?
- Technorati The Green Movement Trademarking Controversy and the Dervaes Family
- OC Weekly Adam Parfrey of Feral House Fame and the Electronic Frontier Foundation Prepare to Challenge Dervaeses over "Urban Homestead" Trademark
- Transition Voice Urban homesteeds, war horses with mulch
- Sierra Permaculture Urban Homestead THIS!
- 21 Feb 2011 EFF Letter to Dervaes Institute
- Petition to cancel 'Urban Homestead' trademarks
- Petition to Cancel 'Urban Homesteading' trademarks