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Urban Farming with The Dervaes family

Drivers whizzing past on the 210 freeway through Pasadena have no idea that a stone’s throw away from the fast lane is a lush but tiny Eden a 4,000 square foot farm it not only feeds a family but revolutionizes the idea of what can be done in a very unlikely place the middle of a city this is city living but I bought the country to the city uh-huh rather than have to go out to the country I just imported it 63 year old Jules duvets started this backyard farm ten years ago it’s a deliberate throwback to the story days of self-reliant rural America Jules and his children grow almost all the food they need and everyone pitches in five pounds of grapefruit his daughters a nice we have another guy coming to pick up Andrew dan yeah are you done and his son Justin their produce is organic and their animals are well friendlier than average to say hi say hi we have a a chicken straw ducks and to dos the ducks and chickens lay thousands of eggs a year and keep the bugs in check they really made the dynamics of Elvin homestead much more sustainable sustainable and dense on their 4,000 square feet they raised 400 varieties of vegetables fruits and edible flowers 6,000 pounds a year enough to feed themselves with plenty left over and with the current passion at high-end restaurants for local pesticide free produce chefs are literally beating a path to their door no good are you doing Oh wonderful soil she’s so what are you gonna do the sorrel hmm I’m gonna use it to make a really nice sound relish with uh cucumber for our salmon dish the family makes about $20,000 a year from their front porch sales they use it to buy the crops they can’t grow like wheat rice notes I would say at the beginning I didn’t really believe I could do it I had some doubts because I come to kept again this place is too small there’s no way that we’re going to be able to feed ourselves plus I never thought we could even grow the vegetables for the for the market so how did this experiment in independent living begin it all began 10 years ago when Jules bought some taco shells for dinner he learned too late that the shells were being recalled because they had been made by mistake with genetically modified corn when I thought about putting this food in my children smile tonight and they were depending on me to give them good stuff I mean they’ll take whatever their parent any child would take what a parent hands them they’ll say this comes from my mom or dad and I couldn’t afford to be in that position of giving him bad stuff now a decade later this radical foodie has succeeded in going off the grid he calls his lifestyle the path to freedom and what to family think of that whole approach they thought it was strange they thought it was they thought it was my daughter wouldn’t come out of the front yard and visit with her friends because they said what’s what’s up with your dad they wanted to know well as go one because I was did making some radical changes here there Gervaise have no ugly commute they avoid office politics and we’ll never get fired but their jobs are way more than nine-to-five I need I need to help all the help I can get and it’s my family that like in the old days the farmer farmers family made the difference there are no microwave ovens in this kitchen and no Cuisinarts either we have gizmos but they’re just hand power what little electricity they use is generated by these solar panels how much is your electricity bill well it’s running about the highest twelve dollars a month 12 dollars a month for everything here yeah they spend even less on gas this is their biodiesel brewing station so this is just new grease from restaurants yeah they use it defiling rings french fries there anything you would fry and you get it free yeah free and delivered on our doorstep the gasoline station is self-serve it hasn’t always been easy justin remembers the year that frost wiped out a crop another year it was a destructive insect and recently they’ve noticed a new challenge climate change we call it the forefront of global weirding because we’ve been gardening for so long you can sense things are off we have this June bug that comes out it’s called June so it’s supposed to come out in June but comes out in July in August and you know September so something’s definitely off the other challenge is water Southern California skies don’t deliver enough of it so Jules keeps the water bill down with this ancient form of irrigation that’s a clay pot irrigation but the Bears under there it’s buried usually up to the throat here and then all you do is fill it up and the water weeps through the portal and through the clay and you get the water where the plant stated at the root zone plants to take the water as needed so just so simple it’s 5:00 o’clock time the time when it all pays off there’s going to be insider Elsa the derv A’s are the ultimate locavores their food travelled a whole hundred feet from the field to the table they all say they love urban homesteading and can’t imagine living a typical consumer-driven life at the end of the day some not so back to nature activity visits to their web sites have grown dramatically they get about six million hits a month from others interested in this grow it yourself revolution we’re all in the same boat on the same planet and there are people now asking deep questions about the future of the planet and they’re willing to do this they’re willing to take a risk it’s a risk that has paid off for Jewel’s and is blazing a trail for others I’m Val Zavala

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