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What is a homestead?  RSS feed

 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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The term's not part of my culture and aside from '...homestead act...Lincoln....1862', it seems that 'homesteading' is now often used as a way of describing people's efforts to live sustainably wherever they are, whereas my ideas are based on reading about dauntless old-timey pioneers
I want to build up a bit of a picture and I'd love people who think of themselves as homesteaders to help me paint it.
 
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
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My notion of a homestead is simply a place where you can be largely self-sufficient. That's why I think it jives well with permaculture.

My dream would be a large place that could generate it's own power (with surplus and grid-tie for extra $), with good land for vegetables, wood, and livestock, and a highly efficient home or three. And a lake. And a pond. And a pony.... 
 
Posts: 129
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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I think there has to be a spiritual aspect to "homestead".  The last place you can retreat to, security in food, energy, family.  It's not a place, it's a state of mind.  Robert Frost comes to mind...

"Yes, what else but home? 
It all depends on what you mean by home. 
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more 
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us           
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail." 
 
"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, 
They have to take you in."
Death of the Hired Man.

My corporate prostitution gig (four more years...common...) has me coming home more frequently than I care to think about feeling like the hound, worn out upon the trail.  Mrs. says I'm a completely different person an hour later.  Homestead to me is healing the hurts of the modern world.  Therapeutic, cathartic, restorative. 

Refuge, sanctuary.  Guess I'm one of the luckier members of these forums, my homestead is paid off, free and clear, no one can ever take it from me. 

 
                            
Posts: 126
Location: Ava, Mo, USA, Earth
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The word "homestead" was in the English language for centuries before the Homestead Act.  It dates from a time when most land was ruled in large tracts by the nobility and most people were serfs and peasants who worked their landlords land as rent for a small part of land to raise food for themselves.  There were a few people, however who were not of the noble class but had the right to use a piece of land.  Since they were not part of a larger groups, however they also lost the use of many tools, co-operative labor and beasts of burden that the peasants would have shared or rented with more labor.

Hence, when it came time to give land away here in the USA, the word 'Homestead' was chosen because it implied a sense of independence.

Today it is used by people who want to work directly for their own needs, rather than for money to by what is needed.  There are some, mostly who want to sell things to "homesteaders" who want to broaden the term to include anybody that cooks food and wants to garden someday.  I really hate to see a good word lost because it becomes so watered down as to become meaningless.

As somebody else once put it: If you complain about the low price you got for your cattle at auction and also complain about the price of beef at Walmart, you are a farmer.  If you slaughter your own cows, you're a homesteader.
 
gardener
Posts: 1028
Location: Northern Italy
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If you're an "urban homesteader", the label has been copyrighted.
--(go google that if you don't know)
--(don't want to stir up flames, just an objective observation)

The people who copyrighted it are urban homesteaders.

I'd like it to mean people who
A) Get most of what the can or need off of their house and intimate surrounding area (zone 1, 2, 3 maybe even 4, 5 if you're rural).
B) Trade with a local network to get what they don't have on hand.
C) Perhaps have a business connected to what they are doing on the homestead (bees, veggies, bread, milk, cheese, etc) that puts any surplus back into the functioning of a homestead.

In a rural area, you can do A/C, maybe even without B (but you probably would anyway). In an urban setting B is almost a given, unless you have a very big yard and lots of animals and have something approaching a micro food forest.

william
 
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I think "Homestead" is sort of the American version of "Small Holding".

It is typically a small farm, where with hard work, and bartering with neighboring small holders, a family can produce most of their needs...food, water and shelter.

In my opinion, a "Hobby Farm" does not qualify.
 
pollinator
Posts: 10109
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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William wrote:
If you're an "urban homesteader", the label has been copyrighted.
--(go google that if you don't know)
--(don't want to stir up flames, just an objective observation)



No, it hasn't.  Terms (labels) can not be copyrighted. 

Copyright and trademark are two different kinds of legal protection. 

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4008:e129qs.1.1
 
William James
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Are you sure about that? I've heard differently.
I'll send you a PM, so as not to fan flames.
William
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Yes, I am sure about that.

 
William James
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Oh right. How stupid!! 

I meant trademarked. Sorry.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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The term "urban homesteader" is not trademarked.

 
William James
gardener
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I'm inclined to believe you, but the EFF article you cite doesn't seem to be exactly conclusive.

It's more of a rant and an appeal, more than news that the term is not trademarked or trademarkable. If by adding the "-er" to "urban homestead" you can get around your site being taken down, great.

On the other hand, I'm much more interested in what it means to Homestead. Urban or not. Trademarked or not.

best,
William
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Sorry to crap up this thread, but when inaccurate information is posted as "objective" I feel inclined to say something, especially when a claim is made which might inhibit people discussing an issue.  You will not find the term "urban homesteader" registered as a trademark with the US Patent office.  The EFF article is meant as a general discussion of the controversy surrounding the terms "urban homesteading" etc but since it has been confusing, I will delete it.  I am posting the link to the electronic trademark search instead.

<<< neither urban nor homesteading 

 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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What about the 'back to the land' movement, which I think has the same  meaning everywhere. In NZ, there's still quite a few functioning communities that started in the 60s/70s. Kind of the opposite of  of the independence thing, as they were generally based on the idea of commune. Not in a Stalin way, but sharing of resources etc. Very much idealistic young city folks with no country skills.
Dope was usually grown...there's still original hippies around the place, but the modern thing is generally 'lifestyle blocks', which get the thumbs-down  as homesteads.
Does homesteading have many different meanings within American culture? There must be socially conservative AND dope-growing homesteaders, all canning like mad!
BTW, I'm fine with the trademarking discussion; I think the shitstorm surprised them and they backed down? They were definitel planning to trademark homestead and several variations of it.
 
William James
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On the site you listed, for "Urban Homestead"

I found this [live]:
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4008:e129qs.4.2

and this [dead]:
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4008:e129qs.4.3

and for "Urban Homesteader" I found this (nothing):
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=toc&state=4008%3Ae129qs.1.1&p_search=searchss&p_L=50&BackReference=&p_plural=yes&p_s_PARA1=&p_tagrepl%7E%3A=PARA1%24LD&expr=PARA1+AND+PARA2&p_s_PARA2=urban+homesteader

Which means
A) You're right, "urban homesteader" is not Trademarked.
B) "Urban Homestead," is Trademarked (if I understand the website correctly, "Live" meaning "Trademarked".

Ho hum.
William

 
William James
gardener
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I'm going to silently drop out of the second topic under conversation, so as not to draw the ire of the sandbox master.



Yeah, Leila.
There was a book by a Scott Nearing. I should read it for historical reference.

I think there were a lot of misguided attempts. And dope. And misguided attempts with while on dope.

But some of them came through. A few of them became "big organic" and a few of them stayed in the small-mid business range, and a few of them became long-term permaculture-ish projects.

william
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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There was quite a discussion here (and elsewhere on the www) when the Devraes family Trademarked both "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading". They were demanding sites to remove the terminology from the sites.

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/6932_0/meaningless-drivel/dervaes-family-quoturban-homesteadquot-trademark-debacle
 
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