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Published on March 1st, 2009 | by adamwilliams

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Dervaes Family and Other Urban Homesteaders Remind Us of What We Can Accomplish

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/mCPEBM5ol0Q&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

Spring is coming. In the Midwest, as in the other currently cold areas of the United States, that makes a difference.

As I think about expanding my own, as of yet, modest urban food and plant growing efforts, it’s a massive inspiration to review the work of the Dervaes family in Pasadena, Calif.

The family has popped up here and there on sustainablog.org in the past several months. You can listen to GreenTalk Radio host Sean Daily’s conversation with them, or read about the family’s 100-Foot Diet Challenge, as posted by sustainablogger Brian Baughan last month.

Kelli Best-Oliver included the Pasadena crew as part of a fantastic list of urban homesteaders who are blogging, among other things, about how to turn our own tiny city lots into productive gardens — and beyond.

The Dervaes describe their lifestyle venture on their Web site, pathtofreedom.com:

On this 1/5 acre urban homestead we have set out to live by example and inspire others to do the same. We are striving to be a sustainable homestead complete with solar energy, waste water management, growing our own food, and more.

Our family shares the homestead with a menagerie of chickens, ducks, goats and a crazy trio of rescued cats.

While solar power and waste water management are not in my household’s near future, the video above is a refresher about what we novices can achieve in such small spaces (my entire lot is a mere .07 acres, house and detached garage dominating the rectangle). The video is a fantastically quick 10 minutes that shows the Dervaes putting their words and ideas into action.

Maybe one of the best soundbites, at least for me, comes from Jules Dervaes reminding us that everyone carries a degree of doubt in their minds. He says that even he and his family initially didn’t know they were capable of creating the thriving, well-rounded urban homestead that they have.

Sounds about like where I feel I am right now — and I can’t wait for spring.



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4 Responses to Dervaes Family and Other Urban Homesteaders Remind Us of What We Can Accomplish

  1. Kristen says:

    How is that an “urban” area? Get back to me when you’ve figured out how to grow carrots on my third-story fire escape in a REAL urban area.

  2. Danuta Glendenning says:

    I have really been inspired seeing this wee little garden producing so much food and having animals in it as well. I must do better with my garden. We started this spring and summer in earnest to plant vegetables in our otherwise ornamental garden. It’s such a joy to eat freshly picked fruit/food from your or your friend’s garden. I like the idea to become free from our lot of just being slaves, only serving the goals of the multinationals. By not consuming what they dish up, we’re breaking their power.

  3. Ann says:

    It is an absolutely unethical family. They use their volunteers to send requests to Facebook to shut down accounts of other homesteaders over the USA making false claim that their trademark registration for several common phrases like “urban homesteading”, “urban homestead” allows this family to have an exclusive rights of use for those common words and phrases. Trademark law doesn’t give such exclusivity to the type of trademark they own. This family caused damages to many groups when facebook and blogs were disabled because of their claims. They don’t want Urban homesteading movement to grow – they want to get royaly and benefits from trademark registration

  4. @Ann — I just discovered the story about the trademarks earlier today, and have been digging into it a bit. Can’t draw any conclusions yet, though it definitely looks like there was an overstep by someone…

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