The original grassroots, revolutionary urban homesteading model that is leading the fast-growing urban sustainability movement. This website documents the unique, real-life journey of an eco-pioneer family who have steadily worked at transforming an ordinary city lot surrounded by urban sprawl and freeways, into an organic and sustainable micro-farm. This website documents the many steps the Dervaeses have taken and hopes to inspire fellow travelers on their own life-changing journey and has been featured in major medias such as CNN, CBS Evening News, Oprah, ABC Nightline, Sundance Channel, UK Telegraph, and The Los Angeles Times.
In the mid-1980s, our family set out to do the seemingly impossible: To create a new revolution in sustainable urban living. Finding ourselves owning a run-down circa 1917 craftsman-style house in the metropolis of Pasadena (the 7th largest city in Los Angeles County) and just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles with the intersection of 134 and 210 freeways 30 yards from our home, we shelved our dreams of idyllic country living and “five acres and independence” and decided to do what we could, with what we had – RIGHT NOW. No one thought it was possible. Residents in our low income, mixed race neighborhood thought we were the “crazy white folks.”
We forged ahead, calling our project the Urban Homestead® model and with no small means of blood, sweat and tears, we worked to transform this ordinary 66’ x 132’ urban lot [LINK: Comparison Diagram of Property ] into a self-sufficient city homestead with an organic garden that now supplies us with food year-round. Despite its diminutive size, the Urban Homestead model is a fully functioning urban farm in every way (although, some of us believe it should more aptly be described as a 10-ring circus) and it supplies our family with 6,000 pounds of organic produce annually. We recently upped our production to 7,000 pounds harvested (in 2010) and 90% of our vegetarian diet comes from the garden so we eat on almost $2.00 per day per person. [LINKS: Harvest Chart (last updated: 2009) & 6,000 lb Harvest Breakdown ]
We are living off the land “directly” – supplying our diet, and “indirectly” – we sell the excess harvest local establishments and individuals through a customized CSA program via our “Front Porch Farmstand” that can also be found online at: www.frontporchfarmstand.com.