“In danger of being free.” That’s how Jules Dervaes sums up his journey from a small backyard garden to a super-productive microfarm. It’s a low input, highly efficient urban homestead right next to the metropolis of Los Angeles.
“Government can’t do it and corporations won’t do it,” says Jules in the short film Homegrown Revolution.
With a corporatocracy running the show in Washington and millions of Americans addicted to television and fast food, the Dervaes family provides a model of what can happen if we change our priorities. We don’t have to rely on a centralized industrial system that is poisoning public health and the environment more than ever with pesticide-laden, GMO food. We can get off the couch and start providing for ourselves.
Most of the Dervaes’ food production is for their own consumption, but they do sell excess harvests to local establishments and individuals, and then use that to buy other basics like flour and rice. They are truly one of the most independent family units in the country, with an ever-decreasing environmental impact.
Not only do they provide a model for suburban-style sustainability, but their efforts are beneficial to the community and local schools. The Front Porch Farmstand sells Dervaes’ organic produce to neighbors and restaurant chefs. They offer workshops, film screenings, and exhibits at festivals. They host school field trips at the homestead and offer school visits with their “citified” farm animals.
By Justin Gardener