Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Am an Urban Homesteader

I learned about this whole urban homestead(er/ing/etc) on Sunday and have been amazed at the progress. Anyone who is familiar with what I'm talking about has probably read plenty about this in the last couple days.

Here is a page from The Crunchy Chicken listing lots of urban (or not so urban) homestead blogs.
And make sure you join the Facebook page which has been growing by leaps and bounds since it was set up.

I've been trying to figure out what to say since this all blew up. A lot of folks have blogged (or tweeted or FB commented) much more eloquently than I can. And I agree with a lot of what has been said. But I think there are some things I can add to the mix from my own perspective.

First is my perspective as a Quaker. The D family seems to think they are the founders and creaters of the idea of urban homesteading. I think that's ludicrous, but bear with me. If they really believe that, there is a part of me that can understand why they would want to protect the term. They have a certain definition for what urban homesteading is and what if other people call themselves that but don't do urban homesteading in the same way!? This is what Quakers have been dealing with for something like 200 years (or whenever the splits started happening).

Some people say, "I am a Quaker, I believe in God, I'm a Christian, etc, etc." Others say, "I am a Quaker, there is no God or all paths lead to God," etc. A Christian Quaker looks at a non-Christian Quaker and says, "how on earth can that person call themselves a Quaker!?!" And the non-Christian Quaker thinks the same of the Christian Quaker. (Sad, but true.)
I can't imagine what would happen if one side trade-marked the term and said the others couldn't use it! So how do you work with an international population of people that call themselves by a specific term but all define themselves differently? It takes a lot of patience and love and a willingness to find common ground. The point is, it can be done. I think of urban homesteading as a process of learning, becoming self-sufficient, trying different things. It is not a list of prescribed things that you must do or not do. It does not look like one particular life-style or the response of one person or one family.

But of course this is religion which can have much more fierce in-fighting than a bunch of progressive gardeners and farmers...right? (yikes! maybe not considering some of the things I've read.)

Here is my other thought. What about the D family? I cannot help myself from thinking of the other side of the issue - I'm a bit of a peacemaker. They've just made a really bad move, made a really stupid mistake, and they are seeing a backlash across the country. People are sending them hate e/mail, unfriending them, ceasing support, boycotting them, etc.

No one can deny that they've done some incredible things on their property and, up till now, have been an incredible example. Is it possible for them to ever rejoin the urban homestead community? If they were to drop the whole trademark issue, would we welcome them back with open arms and say all is forgiven? Or would we hold a grudge and grumble about them for years to come? I wonder this because...if I had done something stupid like this I might be more likely to fight for my "rights" than back off and apologize, knowing that everyone would still hate me and my support would be vastly diminished.

I hate to see people in situations like this. I hate to see this breach in our community of progressive, earth-loving, farm animal-loving, vegetable growing peaceful folks. The D family obviously got a little too big for their britches. Couldn't that happen to any of us?

If they drop the whole urban homestead/ing trademark issue, are we willing to take them back?

1 comment:

Julie said...

Glad to see there is a peace maker in all this. I was trying to understand things from there perspective too. Did they have innocent intentions or did they have malicious intentions? I don't know. I think they're comments that this is a hoax at least shows that they realize they screwed up. Also I think they should have consulted an attorney before making threats based on their trademark. One poster made a comment that they have 5 years to make the term less ambiguous and to only refer to them, or they loose the trademark. Could this be their motivation? Either way I think your right the community has to have room for some forgiveness.