I've been meaning to start this blog for quite some time, but recent events have pushed my publish date up quite a bit. Here is the story of how this little spot of earth became our urban homestead:
My husband and I bought our 1875 fixer upper in the heart of our city, in an industrial section of town two years ago. Before this, we had rented for years and had always grown plants and veggies in large pots which we lugged from rental to rental, waiting for the day when they would find their final resting place in the warm rich soil of "home." Our house was a foreclosure and we got an incredible deal on the place, including 1/10 of an acre of land...LAND!! When we first surveyed the property we saw that the back fence had an empty lot behind it. As soon as we found out it was part of the property it was all over; we would buy this place, we would plant a garden, we would grow our own veggies and have a chicken coop, and greenhouse in our urban homestead. That's exactly what happened. The blood, sweat and tears we spent getting this homestead as we waited impatiently for the bank to process the paperwork, (4 agonizing months of waiting), was completely worth it when we saw the amazing results our first spring:
The master urban homesteader said, "We plan to be fully sustainable for greens within three years." Well, we're very close to hitting that goal, as we speak. Many of our goals have already been reached: greenhouse - check, raised beds - check, bunny hutch - check, herb garden - check, wormy dark compost - check, chicken coop - almost check! In the age of commercialism and capitalism we are proud to say that we can own our own land, plant our own produce and control what goes into the soil that grows that produce, and live healthier, happier, more sustainable lives. All of the structures in our homestead come from reclaimed materials: lumber, windows, wire, etc. We get to control what comes into our garden and what goes out. We have our very own little utopia in the city, right smack dab in middle class America.
Thus far we have 11 raised beds, a greenhouse, a rockin compost, 3 apple trees, 1 fig tree, a bunny hutch, blueberries, raspberries, and an almost completed chicken coop!
Our dream was unfortunately threatened this week when some of our biggest urban homestead heros made a shocking decision. The Dervaes family of the famous Pasadena urban homestead decided to trade mark the words "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading." Cries of fury were heard throughout the urban homestead community and blogosphere as people realized that the grass roots community they grew to love was simply becoming yet another consumer looking to gain a buck. I had joined the Dervaes family facebook page just a few weeks ago. Yesterday things took a drastic turn when they posted that they were receiving death threats on their fb page. People starting speaking up about what was really going on - that the Dervaes were asking people to pull blogs, and removing people's fb pages containing the terms without contacting them. Their page became flooded with urban homestead commenters who refused to back down from the issue. People discovered that the words had been in print long before the Dervaes bought them. In the midst of the whole drama the thought crossed my mind, "Maybe we should start a fb page to get the words which define our community back." So, I did it. By the end of the night our page had 1000 members!! People started banning together by the hundreds to defend and lay claim to the word that defines movement, lifestyle and community. By blog, tweet, boingboing, you name it: the word has spread like a wild fire...or a large thriving organic garden.
The message we're sending out is loud and clear: You cannot trade mark the words that define who we are. We are a community, life style, counter-culture, independent American spirited people who will NOT allow our life to be branded by any person or corporation! We've worked hard to live our lives "off the grid", to grow our own produce, to till our own land, raise our own livestock, and we refuse to bow to any corporation! Ahem.... We're not backing down, and we've only just begun.
So that's the story of our little urban homestead, and how the biggest current urban homesteading facebook page Take Back Urban Home-steading(s)
came into existence, which is now over 2000 by the way.
We were also in the LA Weekly