I was going to publish this long post I had written about the City of Oakland, Novella, and the animal rights activists that want to ban all livestock but after writing it (which was very cathartic) I decided to just leave it be. Kitty over at Havenscourt Homestead did a pretty good job hitting most of the points anyways.
That said, we’re going to be making some changes around here because of the controversy going on and some of the things that have happened recently behind the scenes in our community.
Unfortunately we’re no longer going to be offering tours or demonstrations unless we know you in person and trust you. There will also be some changes in regards to the our yearly potlucks as well. It will still be held but we’ll be limiting the guest list to people we know in person (if you made it out to either of our last two potlucks you’ll still be invited so no worries there).
It totally sucks. I really want to share this amazing lifestyle with people that are interested in it. However, first and foremost, I must consider the health and happiness of my family and animals and right now it’s just not possible to do both safely.
Of course I’ll still be blogging and I’m more than happy to answer anyone’s questions. I will even continue to teach classes offsite. Maybe once things simmer down we can begin giving tours again but for now they’ll have to be shelved. I hope you all understand.
22 thoughts on “Some Changes”
I'm sorry to hear there are problems arising for the way you did things. I hope things turn around so you can do what you had been doing again.
I hope this doesn't mean that someone has been harrassing you and your family. If so, I'm incredibly sorry.
I think you have made a wise decision. I stopped teaching canning classes and abandoned plans for frugal living classes both for community reasons, and because I was concerned about too many people knowing what I do and what I store.
I have had similar problems where I live in this hillbilly hell. I have found that you cannot talk to people period, unless they are in the lifestyle or circle you are in. It seems the simple lifestyle that we strive to live is finding a sore point with the powers that be, both local and state and federal. I have clammed up totally, except blogging with my blogging friends. No teaching of any canning or perserving classes, nothing. I quit as it caused too many problems here. Pretty sad.
Just lay low, and it will pass eventually, like in the movie, Finding Nemo, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming".
Wow. What a shame. Very sorry to hear you've had problems. I hope things change for the better.
That is really a shame. Thank you for your generous nature, though!
I'm sorry this is happening to you…Here in my hood I often worry because my neighbor (the house builder) sprays weeds and it drifts and they are not willing to stop…while not in the same category…they both bring me to a place of sadness…that this way of life is seems under attack and disrespected…when we aren't doing anything to harm anyone…we are not forcing anyone to grow food…I'm just trying to eat healthy and stave off greater money issues…I just don't get people's deal…I'm glad your still blogging because you guys are an inpiration…good luck & if there is anyway we can help we will.
I'm so sorry for the troubles that are being caused in Oakland by a few unfortunately (and, in my opinion, misguided) individuals. I think you're being very wise in limiting public access to your farm right now. Zealots are only encouraged and empowered by media attention and negative fallout (look at what they "accomplished"), so I wouldn't be surprised if they go looking for another victim.
I've been working so hard here in Denver for the last 2 years to pass an updated Food Producing Animals (chickens, ducks, dwarf goats) ordinance that would make it easier for people to raise these backyard animals, and make them less reliant on factory-farmed food. Want to guess who the most zealous opponents of the proposed FPA ordinance have been? Yup, a couple of vegan extremists. They're not going to be successful in blocking the ordinance, but their actions are just so confounding.
It made me very sad to read this from your FB link. As stated above, I hope you haven't been harassed yourselves. I look forward to the day that you can once again share your wonderful work.
I'm really sorry to hear you are having problems because you are willing to share what you know and love. I'm glad we know you "in person".
Thanks everyone for your support. We, personally, haven't been harrassed, but I do see it as being a "when" rather than an "if" so we want to be proactive in keeping it from becoming a bigger problem than it needs to be.
This is such a shame. I'm not even close to local, but I find it upsetting that so much control over food and sharing both it and knowledge is being taken away from people.
I am so bummed out for you, and for me too, because I was planning on making the trip across the bay to come check out your homestead. But, we all have to take the proper precautions. My boyfriend keeps having to remind me that not everybody needs to know everything we are doing and that I have to be more wary of those who would rain on my urban farming parade. Good luck in your future ventures and I hope there is a time when I can meet you and your family.
ugh, ugh, ugh!!! So sorry…crazy people should all take the time to learn from you. Our neighborhood food production is the secret to healthy, sustainable and secure food for nourishing our bodies! You rock on with you little farm…please!
I totally know where you're coming from. I've been hesitant from the beginning to let anyone come to our home and cast their judgments. I only once let someone I didn't know tour and I regretted it instantly – I actually felt violated when it was over. That said, I love nothing more than sharing my successes and even failures with my friends.
What you guys are doing is amazing and I know you'll still find ways to share your experience and knowledge without putting your lifestyle at risk. Keep up the great work.
Your post implies that animal rights people are threatening you and your animals. Then in the comments, you admit that's not true. You've done this before–blaming animal rights people for getting you in trouble with the law. In fact, YOU got YOURSELF in trouble with the law by breaking it, and not out of ignorance, but because you wanted to. It was apparently an act of civil disobedience with you. That's fine, but then don't blame other people who didn't make the law because you got in trouble for breaking it.
I'm not against meat, but your behavior on this score has certainly turned me against what you do. I had previously written a positive review of your book on Amazon which got "helpful" votes from 7 out of 9 people. I have removed it. I will no longer support what you do. You are not being responsible or honest here. This certainly does your cause no good at all.
Harold, you may be interested in becoming a bit more responsible with your comments. First of all I have never complained about animal rights activists getting me in trouble because I have NEVER been in trouble with the law, nor have we broken any laws, and this has nothing to do with the law. I don't even imply in this post that I have gotten in trouble with the law. However, the animal rights activists have been harassing some of my urban farming friends (not just Novella) and it's just a matter of time before they start in with us so we're nipping it in the bud.
Also, I have never written or published a book so you are obviously completely unclear and unaware of who I am or what I do. I will leave your fantastic comment though so people can see what a knee jerk reactionary person you are. Have a nice day!
I am sorry I said you wrote a book you did not write. However, in your post, you say you and your animals are not safe because of all the things that are happening due to animal rights activists wanting to ban all food animals. I am not the only reader who thought you meant that you had been attacked in some way–several commenters also ask about it. In your response, you say you have not been harassed yet. Cranky emails don't count as harassment, nor does someone reporting a violation to code enforcement. That is just part of being in the world where some people don't like what some other people do.
I am not a reactionary–far from it–but I am good and fed up with the story about how animal rights people are oppressing people. They are disagreeing with what you do, which is completely different.
Rachel, I totally get what you are saying here. I got heated opposition from vegan friends when discussing my farm plans with them. They seemed to feel that we have no right to "exploit" animals for our farm purposes even though we do not eat our animals. They also stated that there was no reason for us to need animals in order to have an organic veggie farm. I stopped them right there and asked them what they thought had been used as fertilizer on the organic veggies we were eating during the discussion. Animals teach us a lot. The relationship with them is IMO mutually beneficial. And it IS harassment and not just someone sharing an opinion when it is a repeated effort on their part to impose their often misguided view of how they think things should be onto you.
Most of the people who called themselves homesteaders when I started being interested in all of this a little over a decade ago also agreed that they did not feel teaching others canning or other homesteading skills was a very good idea as it does clue people in to too much of your business, i.e., how much food you might have stored, etc.
We are lucky in that our property is still a little rural and zoned agricultural. I would hate to be fighting City Hall just to be able to live a simple lifestyle with a few animals and my garden.
Actually Harold, you not only said I wrote a book I have nothing to do with (though I feel bad this author lost a positive review because of your assumptions) but you also accused me of doing illegal activities multiple times which I have not done – EVER.
But I will tell you this, it's not about calling code enforcement or sharing different opinions, it's about people going onto other people's property, sabotaging their setup and putting their animals in harm's way to prove some sick sort of point that us homesteaders don't know what we're doing. It's also about trying to make things that people do legally right now illegal.
So while I have not personally been attacked (but my friends have and it's an attack on our whole community) this post was to state that we can no longer welcome strangers onto our property – something we get asked by a lot of folks.
I never said I was personally harassed, what I did say is "…we're going to be making some changes around here because of the controversy going on and some of the things that have happened recently behind the scenes in our community." If you construed it to say that I was harassed, that's your problem and I take no responsibility for your assumption.
Can I get a copy of this book you wrote? 😉
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