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Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

 

Urban Homesteaders® beware! yep, you read that little trademark symbol right, apparently that particular term, along with Urban Homesteading® is now trademarked by the Dervaes family, the creators of the Path to Freedom® blog and owners of The most productive 1/5 of an acre lot I’ve ever heard of! Now before we get into a bashing session here, I must say that I greatly admire what Mr. Dervaes and his family are doing, they set a great example for urbanites and rural homesteaders alike (I can say that one without getting griped at:), as far as how to grow as much food as possible on the least amount of land available, this is a valiant experiment into the growing food production problem our world is currently facing. What I don’t find as valiant is the claim they seem to have made on such a wonderful expression of freedom and community driven innovation. I can see the point of trademarking the name of their blog (which they have), even the name of their homestead (also trademarked, I believe), mainly because they thought up those particular word combinations, but I’m pretty sure the term Urban Homesteader® has been in circulation since the early 1980’s. Since then many organizations, communities, magazines, websites and bloggers in particular have penned those two words together to represent self sufficiency, sustainability and most of all, because they’re being experienced in an urban setting….community. Now, however, it seems that if an individual wishes to write about the wonders, benefits and innovations created in the field of homesteading in a city-like setting, they must refer the reader to the writings and more importantly the products and services of PathtoFreedom® .com. I wonder if they realize that many (myself included) homesteading, gardening and sustainability bloggers already do this?
Many organizations and writers, such as The Institute of Urban Homesteading, have already received an e-mail notifying them that they must now change their name. Others have received “suggestions” that they no longer use the term when referring to….well…an Urban Homestead® ! Instead they could use terms like “urban sustainability project” or perhaps “modern homesteading”(which, to me, could refer to any homesteading project, such as what are attempting, and we own almost ten acres right in the middle of RuralVille!). Here is a small snippet of what these e-mails and letters people are receiving have to say:
“Dervaes Institute owns numerous trademarks which should be properly acknowledged if used. These protected names and images include the following registered trademarks:
URBAN HOMESTEAD®
URBAN HOMESTEADING®
PATH TO FREEDOM®
GROW THE FUTURE®
HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION®
FREEDOM GARDENS®
LITTLE HOMESTEAD IN THE CITY® (pending)
Also, THE TEN ELEMENTS OF URBAN HOMSTEADING copyright has been filed with the Library of Congress.
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.”

I’m not sure why “Little Homestead in the City” is going to be trademarked, are they just trying to cover all of the bases? Perhaps I should trademark Rural Homestead or even Makehift Homesteading, no ones done it yet after all;)! The whole ordeal just seems a little to selfish an act to be performed in such a time when open information and sharing is so important to the ultimate goal of community sustainability and freedom from an oil based food economy.
If you feel the need to bring this term back into the hands of the public, Change.org has a petition created by Sundari Elizabeth Kraft, author of the upcoming book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading, to cancel the trademarks on their website.
What do you think? Should the term be writable by all without the need to refer the reader to another website? Is this fair to the organizations who have already used the phrase in their very title? Leave a comment below, tell us your thoughts on this very strange situation!

Gwenevere

P.S. Its also kind of annoying to keep having to add that little symbol! Can we get it removed on the grounds of annoyance alone:)?

 

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  Wow! What an eventful week! First of all, I would like to congratulate the Egyptian people for their victory over Oppression, and we all pray that the following days will be full of joy, freedom and positive change! You have a long road ahead of you, Egypt, but this victory is the stepping stone on the pathway to democracy and personal rights which I believe every human is entitled to. Yay Egypt!!!! Sorry, got a little carried away:). Anyway, we’ve been so busy, (building more raised beds:) I figured for this post I would extend to everyone some of the resources we have been using the past two years or so, hopefully you can garner the same knowledge, news, entertainment and great products we have had the privilege to find on our journey toward financial freedom and sustainability. Please enjoy the following links….it’s time to get click happy!

http://bearmedicineherbals.com/ -a wonderful guide to traditional herbal medicine with insights into the everyday life of a medicine woman. Highly recommended for wild and regional herbal medicine. The very knowledgeable Kiva Rose brings to life the wild and often mysterious valley in which she resides with her family and friends. She, along with her colleagues, have produced a treasure trove of knowledge in publishing the new online herbalist’s ‘Plant Healer Magazine’, which I have yet to have the opportunity to read:(.

http://www.greenlittlecat.com/ -a great site my friend Jess found for  the cat lover in all of us. All about the different ways we can “green” our feline friend’s lifestyle. How to make your own cat litter, natural foods and holistic kitty medicine.

http://www.horizonherbs.com/ -the number one site to go to for hard to find herb plants and seeds, the owner Richo Cech also writes some extraordinary guides to growing and using medicinal herbs. Every plant I’ve ordered from them has been a prolific producer and I highly recommend them.

http://agrigirl.wordpress.com/ -a wonderful blog about friends, family and community supported agriculture, she will surprise you with the wit and wisdom of her posts.

http://www.bountifulgardens.org/ -a great source for untreated and organic vegetable seed. You will truly get your money’s worth at this site, the proceeds go to a great cause; teaching people all over the world how to grow and provide food for their communities, and finding new and improved techniques of growing the most food in in-hospitable areas! I order my veggie seeds from this company because Jesus said it best; give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime…(along with feed his family, neighbors, and perhaps his entire village:)

http://www.gardenweb.com/ -a forum for all regions of gardening. Ask a question and it will be answered by gardeners in your state.

http://urbanhomestead.org/ -for the ultimate in inspiration, this is what your small city lot could provide if given half a chance. As just a small example, the total in produce for January alone was over two hundred pounds! Plus the pictures of the gardens alone is enough to strive for greater production!

http://beyondthebluebin.com/ -a diary of one person’s trash, and thoughts on how to reduce, reuse and recycle that trash. It invites us all to take a look at what really goes into our trash cans!

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/ – we bought our solar panels (and a refrigerator, and inverter) from these guys, their prices are very reasonable, their reps are knowledgable and their equipment is reliable! If you have any questions about future solar projects, or even just want to understand more about how the systems work, don’t hesitate to give them a call! (Hint, hint, Wholesale solar, Winding Road Farm is advertising for you!;)

http://www.motherearthnews.com/ -when I found out we would be moving to a ten acre farm, living in a tiney outbuilding, and with no running water or electricity, the first thing I did, was order a subscription to this magazine. I grew up reading Mother Earth News, my mom has almost every issue. It’s pages beg to be book marked, it’s passages underlined and every issue kept safe for future generations! If you can find anyone who is willing to part with the older issues, they are well worth the price. Every issue is packed with homesteading tips and tricks, gardening ideas, environmental news and personal accounts from the sustainability front!

http://survivalfarm.wordpress.com/ -all about gardening and how much humanity will soon need the small farmer, and the backyard veggie plot.

http://www.gardenfork.tv/ -A very entertaining site! Eric’s videos are informative, funny and his Labradors are downright adorable! I love the fact that they appear completely unscripted, I think his favorite saying is “and, well, we’ll just see what happens!”. How-To videos, Cooking, Bee-keeping and random Cute Puppy shots makes for a great show!

http://wastefreehome.wordpress.com/ -another household that has vowed to reduce and even eliminate the trash that makes up their portion of the landfill, I was very glad to find that we’re not the only ones!

http://wooddogs3.wordpress.com/ – another urbanite’s experiences with farming on a small city lot. Look for the great book recommendations!

http://herbanlifestyle.wordpress.com/ – and finally, just looking at the site makes my mouth water! Full of good news and good recipes, the writer also owns an Etsy shop selling hand crafted all natural bath and body care products, which have garnered some great reviews!

   Thanks to all who read about our adventures and let’s hope we can get this garden going soon, I got my local Georgia Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin and according to the planting guide, I should have stuff in the ground already! You see, this is why we call our kind of procrastination an extreme sport!

Gwenevere

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     Ladies and gentlemen, drum-roll please! I am pleased to announce that We now have, at our lovely off-the-grid home…..Running Water! That’s right, after two full years of turning on the gas powered generator to fill up about ten gallon sized milk jugs for drinking water a week, washing dishes by heating water on the wood stove, and taking showers and washing our clothes at an aunts house down the street, I can simply turn on the kitchen faucet and have instantaneous, crystal clear well water running freely for my drinking pleasure! Also, coming soon to a home near me, hot running water with no limits, courtesy of our propane powered tank-less hot water heater that’s been sitting behind the house since October! Oh the luxury…the convenience! Couple these amazing accomplishments with a working stove, oven and super efficient refrigerator and I’d say this has been a very prosperous week! All thanks to the fact that my dear fiancé Bear has worked his little behind off in the cold, the rain, and the dark to bring me all of the modern comforts of a regular home, wrapped in a cute little green package with a recycled bow on top…I must be marrying the most wonderful man on earth! Really, what more could I ask for? (aside from building a chicken coop, a greenhouse,a woodshed and a covered back porch, of course;)
  
   Alright, onto a separate, but equally amazing piece of news. After doing a little online reading, I recently came across an article from the staple homesteading and self sufficiency magazine ‘Mother Earth News’ (when I say staple, I mean I ordered a subscription as soon as I found out I would be living with no power or running water). The article proclaimed that half of the trash in landfills comes from new construction waste, over 136,000,000 pounds from America alone each year! The average 2,000 square foot home claims 8,000 pounds of that when built from the ground up. The implications of these figures took a second to dawn on me, but when it finally hit me I was floored! This means that since we renovated an existing structure, and saved every scrap of construction waste from our job site, we essentially kept over 8,000 pounds of waste from going to a landfill! Wow, what a pat on the back! I really can’t believe the numbers, when we started this whole project, it was out of necessity that we used every scrap of lumber, saved every bent nail, and bought only the exact amount of any material needed to finish it. Now, after all the hard work and struggle we’ve been through since October 31st of 2008, we get this metaphoric award and handshake for a job well done! And guess what? Seannakate, Juanita, Caleb and Jess, you too have each saved anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 pounds of construction waste from the landfill. How about all you readers out there who have bought an older pre-existing home, or built your home the no waste way? You too have rescued a heap of trash from the dump! How does that feel? Go ahead, give yourself a round of applause! And as for anyone on the market for a home, keep these figures in mind, purchase an older pre-existing structure, build with greener methods, and save those scraps because scraps saved means money saved in the long run! I did, after all, build an awesome raised garden bed out of scraps!
     Let’s keep the good news coming! If you own a home purchased or built in the manners listed above, we here at Winding Road Farm want to know how much waste you kept out of the dump. Here’s a simple way to find out: 1 square ft of newly built home usually yields about 4 pounds of construction garbage. Just multiply the square footage of your home by 4 to come up with the amount of trash you didn’t send to landfill mountain! Subtract any construction waste you did send off to get your final amount. For example, my home is 2100 sq ft., I multiply that by four and get 8400 pounds of garbage. During the two year period, we probably hauled off about 200 pounds of stuff I couldn’t figure out a use for, subtract that and I’ve saved 8200 pounds of trash from making a home at the dump!  Use this method to figure up your trash savings and leave a comment below…hey, maybe we should add it all up! Let’s keep a running tab, that way we can all congratulate each other for being such fine citizens! Remember, if your in the market for a home, keep these figures in mind, purchase an older pre-existing structure, build with greener methods, and save those scraps because scraps saved means money saved in the long run! I did, after all, build an awesome raised garden bed out of scraps!
    

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