The Urban Farming Backlash and How We Can Support Those in Need

Urban farming and homesteading is gaining momentum. People are realizing that we need to take control of our own food security. But it’s not all rainbows and puppies. There seems to be some backlash occurring. But with this backlash there is this amazing community that comes together to help those that are affected.

The ongoing trademark issue, for those that aren’t keeping up-to-date, has not died down. We thought they had until the Dervaes’ lawyer sent another more threatening letter to the publisher of  Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living written by Rachel Kaplan and Ruby Blume. The letter read:

“Although my client has attempted in good faith to resolve this matter amicably and without litigation, because you have indicated that [publishing company] is unwilling to comply with our requests, Dervaes has no choice but seek protection of its rights in court. Unless we receive written confirmation by the close of business on April 1, 2011 that [publishing company] will comply immediately with each of the demands detailed in my letter of 2/16/11, (and a subsequent more formal agreement detailing those terms,) Dervaes intends to seek an injunction, along with any damages and attorneys fees, against [publishing company].” 
It just so happened that the Electronic Freedom Foundation with help from Winston & Strawn have filed a petition to cancel the trademark. Stay tuned for more info, though it could take awhile for it to move along after submitting the application to the PTO. In the meantime you can help support Rachel and Ruby by purchasing their book. Bonus is that we’re featured in it! 
Besides the trademark issue, author Novella Carpenter is facing her own urban farming nightmare. It turns out some animal rights activists who hate the fact that she eats her own animals sent a complaint to the City of Oakland. I always considered Oakland forward thinking in terms of food security, especially with urban farming. Well, it turns out you’re not allowed to grow any food on an empty lot. So the lot that Novella was once squatting on and then purchased to become more legit would be better suited for weeds and garbage. 
Fortunately on April 14th the laws in Oakland will be changing to allow the growing of food. Unfortunately these new laws won’t allow for the raising of animals on empty lots. To be able to do that she has to apply for a Conditional Use Permit. The cost is $2,500. On top of that she will need to apply for a business license so she can sell her produce – another $40. 
Novella swallowed her pride and sent out a plea for help.  I commend her for asking for help. Much like her, I prefer to help others rather than ask for help regardless of how badly I need it. I implore you to please donate even just a dollar to help her continue being an inspiration to the entire urban farming community. If you can’t afford to send money then just give her some emotional support. It’s a tough situation and I don’t know how I would handle it if it was me.

Comments

  1. El Gaucho says:

    What happened to the Dervaes' initial "we're just trying to keep urban homesteading from being co-opted from an evil company like Monsanto" tact? It seems like they're ignoring that and diving right in to aggressively seeking monetary damages in court. Grrr. I'm going to go make another donation to EFF.

  2. brendie says:

    Ive been reading about this on other blogs, its bizzare to say the least (both issues) what happened to that line from your star spangled banner song "land of the free" (im from NZ)
    You all need to take back your freedom, basics like growing food. this bullshit is Just crazy nonsense!! I hope my own country doesnt go PC overboard.

  3. Yep, I donated a couple days ago. I cannot believe Novella received a notice of abatement today.

    All this gives me the willies because it could very well be any one of us, should our cities decide to close budgetary shortfalls by fining the hell out residents for various and sundry that the city turned a blind eye to for decades.

    It could be any one of use. I'd hold out the tin cup if I had to, but man it sucks to be in such a position.

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