Pin It

I Am An Urban Homesteader

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Home Is Where the Heart Is...

I don’t know if you caught wind of the storm brewing lately in regards to those who embrace homesteading. I saw it myself last week and was absolutely flabbergasted. A well known family in California (The Dervaes) have decided to claim ownership of the term Urban Homestead(ing) and had it trademarked. Then they proceeded to send out letters to bloggers and even companies who used these terms or had them as part of their business name asking them to remove these references. Facebook pages for homestead groups and informational non-profits had their pages turned in for infringement and they were erased. This family insists that they are being vilified unfairly, yes several major newspapers and a myriad of homesteading bloggers have lambasted them, but in my opinion they are not. I myself was on the receiving end of one of their letters once and it was VERY clear that wanted me to stop using a term coined during war time America or credit them as the inspiration for my work OR face lawsuit. The response to crediting them was HELL NO. Urban Homesteading is a movement and it existed long before the Dervaes. That is why I am participating in the Urban Homesteaders Day of Action where we speak out about the fact that we ARE Urban Homesteaders and no other family, even if they do think they are the cat’s meow, gets to take credit for that.

In addition to talking about homesteading for years I would classify my husband and myself as urban homesteaders. We don’t butcher our own hogs or grow 7000 pounds of food in our backyard but we do what we can and what we can do increases with each year.

Lettuce Varieties in the Garden

– We grow as much food as we can in the space we have. Last year that was tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers. This year we hope to increase that x3 even though we technically have a smaller space to work with.

– We buy local. We support local growers and homesteaders by purchasing local grains, pastured eggs, milk, grass fed meat, honey, and other seasonal offerings. The farmer’s market is our second home!

– We make our own. I sew things for the home and my husband is also quite crafty. This year we plan to invest in wood working machinery so we can increase our self sufficiency. We also make our own yogurt, dairy and water kefir, sourdough, dried fruit, and bread. This year we plan to add more foods we have preserved, and make our own butter and buttermilk.

Sourdough Bread

– We cook and we rarely eat out. Our weekly produce box is the basis of our meals for the entire week. This morning hubby is making breakfast while I prep dinner and throw it in the slow cooker.

– We compost indoors with worms so that we have no food waste.

– We use green cleaners (of our own making) for our home and we use natural body care products (sometimes making our own as well). We hope to make our own bar soap this year.

– We don’t have much land to call our own but we take care of it and try our best to live off of it.

I am an Urban Homesteader. How about you?

Monday, February 21st, 2011

12 Comments on I Am An Urban Homesteader

  • Really? I hadn’t heard about them, but that is pretty dumb. Kind of goes against what I think of when I think of the grassroots movement of “urban homesteaders” to be suing someone over using a term.

    Anyway, we try! I garden and cook from scratch. I try to live frugally and do as much as I can do myself. :)

  • I’d consider myself on the way there – we garden, cook from scratch, preserve, try to make instead of buy, and try to reduce our waste as much as possible.

    And, that’s ridiculous that they were allowed to trademark urban homesteading. It’s like trying to trademark green, or ecofriendly, or frugal.

  • That is just plain old stupid. Go Urban Homesteaders go!!! and more power to you all!! I think this is almost a silly as Harley Davidson trying to trademark the sound of the bikes!
    (I hope to join the ranks one day when I have a home to homestead. We have a Very small community garden in our apt. complex for now)

  • Traci

    We are Urban Homesteaders. We have chickens, grow and preserve our own fruits and vegetables, bake our own bread, eat as locally as possible, make our own soap and cleaners, are getting bees in April, etc.

    You would think that they would want to encourage everyone to be Urban Homesteaders instead of wanting to keep the name for themselves. It would be great if everyone lived like they do – fame does weird things to people.

  • Pretty Pauline

    I love them and am a bit disappointed in their taking such an action. I have a small yard in the inner city and am always working towards urban homesteading. We started small last year with mesclun mix, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and a fig tree. It did not all survive, but I’m excited to continue. :)

  • All are wonderful to be inspired me to improve my healthy live. Thank you for your photos and article

  • Andi

    Maybe I’m just a punk, but now I’m going to use the term Urban Homesteader as much as humanly possible. Heading to facebook now…..

    • Healthy By Nature

      Well I’ll happily join you in punkdom, Andi! “Urban Homesteaders” will be rolling off my tongue in reference to my family every 30 seconds or so from now on…. :)

  • Healthy By Nature

    I am 100% on board with you, Tiffany! This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in some time, and I’m guessing The Dervaes would have their hands full trying to prosecute everyone in America using the term Urban Homesteading.

    We eat completely organic and have a huge organic garden that our children help with. We freeze excess produce from our garden and put up for the winter, we maintain an entirely green/organic home and three acres worth of property, make many our own cleaning and baby solutions, and use only homeopathy to treat colds, flus, allergies, etc. We home school, avoid plastics, enjoy and nurture the wildlife in the woods beyond our property as much as possible, line dry much of our laundry, support local farmers as much as possible, make our own yogurt, bread, etc. Additionally, my husband does all of our wood work – both interior and exterior – in addition to his real full-time job! We built our own fence around all three acres and are now considering the addition of free rang chickens to our repertoire. We are Urban Homesteaders if ever there were any!

    Thank you, Tiffany, for consistently bringing these things to light. I don’t always have time to comment to your articles, but enjoy them, agree with your assessments/opinions, and think you are one Smart Mama!

  • The Green Mamas

    Unbelievable! I thought we were all in this together! I cannot begin to fathom why they think they are the only ones who should be allowed to call what they do homesteading. It’s like trademarking the term “mothering”!


    I am an urban homesteader – well, suburban ;) and I will not be bullied around my this lunacy. Such a sad stamp to put on a movement that I thought they were a part of. Now we’re seeing they are just another ‘business’ in love with lawsuits.

  • I love it. I guess I am as well to some extent. Just this evening I went into the backyard to pick lettuce for my salad. We’re also growing cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, green beans, tomatoes and a few other things. It feel great to know that I’m growing my food and it tastes delicious. So YES, I am an urban homesteader and proud of it!


  • ruth coupe

    this is crazy!, how can they say that and get away with it?, I am an urban homesteader too and proud of it, lets shout it out (pulls out a tongue to the Dervaes) x