Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Urban Homesteader, Urban Homesteading, Urban Homestead

I'm all about a good bit of chaos from time to time. I find from my personal perspective that I can quite easily shape my own philosophy on history, religion, politics, agriculture and other subjects of interest based "Soul-ly" on the stupidity and the hypocrisy of others. It inspires me to take things to the next level, to push the envelope just a little bit more from time to time and to really concentrate hard on making those in the wrong realize what a bunch of heinous assholes they really are; particularly when they believe they are "justified" in their belief that they are somehow above par.

It's usually easy; I just look at whatever transnationals like Monsanto or Syngenta are doing or I take a quick stroll over to a search engine and read about politics. Politics is very fertile ground for me and when political ideology meets agricultural ideology (particularly ideologies like the one we have here, based upon fallacy) well it's like some kind of super orgy of naivety on their part and inspiration to point out the hypocrisy on my part.

If it were any single individual that makes up my complex of inspirational people and ideas that had made such a move towards idiocy, hypocrisy and fascism as demonstrated by the Devares family trademarking the common lexicon of sustainable agriculture I am sure I would write all this with a heavy heart and a burden in my head; but since it isn't and all this particular instance has truly done is to bring folks together from a myriad of agricultural and culinary backgrounds, I can look at it more like a celebration of someone elses idiocy; it's a sad fact that you truly couldn't/refused to see the forest for the trees.

For those of you not in the know The Devares Family of Pasadena California who turned their small lot of land in the city into an "Urban Homestead" are the target of this particular rant. The Devares family did some fantastic things, had some wonderful ideas, and generally seemed to be the current source well for modern urban homesteading ideas; unfortunately power, money, and ego are the pitfalls of the tight rope that one walks when they become a figurehead of modern agriculture. It is with the power of an inflated ego behind them that the Devares family trademarked several terms that have been in common use via blogs and books for over 10 years and some of which stretch possibly as far back as the 1930's and 1940's.

Let us not for once forget the Devares family are not the first to try their hand at Urban Homesteading; not by a long shot, they simply reminded the mainstream about it and created a platform big enough and loud enough to broadcast it the world. They however didn't conceive the concept anymore than we can claim to have conceived the concept of sustainable farming or of plant breeding, or of eco based growing or of any number of ideas belonging to the heritage and common ownership of mankind.

The Devares seem to have thought they were the light and the salvation of urban humanity in some manner or another; often using the phrase, now trademarked, "Path to Freedom" to promote their work. Yes, what a true path to freedom it is when one is willing to use the platform that others helped to build and sustain to take the freedom to use words in the common agricultural lexicon away from the very people who you claim to be speaking for; how very Marxist of you.

But it doesn't stop there, through all of this skulduggery the Devares have been on the defensive, decrying that they have somehow been wronged by the thousands of urban homesteaders out there pointing out their hypocrisy in this move, never realizing that they have changed things; forever. It's Pandora's box, the ideas are out there and who are you to think you have the power to put it back, to take it away from the people, to squirrel it away in some safe place where you and only you have access to it, only you can monetize it, only you can claim to have devine say over how it is used, who it is used by and why it is used. As Christians should you not ask yourself WWJD? (sorry, I'm not a Christian, I just couldn't help but to use that one for the first time in my life)

Really all I have to say is congratulations to you. It is obvious your goal was to make your name as well known as Monsanto or Syngenta in the world of sustainable agriculture via blogs, books, t.v. and more; to get the word out there about what you do and who you are and how that defines you as a people spiritually. Job well done, we get it, and you'll get our interpretation of it for years and years and decades to come. Perhaps we shouldn't view you as a villain though, perhaps we should view you much like Judas; without you would we have the profound understanding that we now do that we all need to have faith in our brothers and sisters fighting the good fight? Would we have the insight to realize that we have a voice much louder than you and your marketing skills? Would we have the power to see the rise of future Benedict Arnold's before they make their deceptive moves against us? Most importantly would we wouldn't have a name with which to associate greed, egotism, and ultimately the failure you have become in our eyes.

Perhaps if the burden is as deep and hurtful as your petty defenses on your blog make it out to be you should take a moment to realize the monumental stupidity of the career destroying move you just made by apologizing and not claiming the common heritage of mankind for yourself. You are not a messiah, you are not a genius, you are not even now one of us, so what do you have? You have family and your little garden but you no longer have the cash flow of reliable customers or of those you once inspired. You no longer have the faith of your community and you most certainly no longer have a place amongst those providing a true path to freedom to the world at large. You represent nothing, therefore you are nothing until you can realize that being something is made up of giving something.


Elizabeth Frey-Thomas said...

Alan, YOU ROCK!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree...You Rock! Wonderful post!

meg- grow & resist said...

Nice and well said! Thanks!

John from Daejeon said...

I wonder if they can trademark "turds" as in that's what they are for doing this crap.

John from Daejeon said...

Maybe they can trademark "turds" as in that's what they are for doing this crap.

Linda said...

I have read lots of opinions on this but Alan, yours is the only one that really and truly hit the bullseye.

rgely40207 said...

The newest wrinkle in this story is that Dervaes has now been exposed plagiarizing large parts of his website, taking, word for word, large amounts of texts from a blogger. You can get the story by Googling "My Earth Garden" All kinds of documentation of what he took.