I’m obsessed. Absolutely, totally, 100% in love with this wonderful website: urbanhomestead.org and the family that runs it.
I mentioned previously that the more we accomplish and work towards, the more we keep seeing how interrelated all of our goals have been, and how much more so they will be as we continue farther down our own path. So far, our path has been aiming at cutting down and cutting back: processed foods, pesticide foods, and waste. Now, we’re looking into ways to up the ante. Can we stop buying from the grocery store, the health food store, and (gasp) even the farmer’s market?
This family has incorporated all of the ideals we’ve been working towards, along with some others that are also very much in line with our thinking. Add to that the fact that everything about this family: their story, their life, their passion, and their mission, is beautiful and inspirational, and this blog/website is pure gold! Years ago, they had the same idea we had recently: why wait around to move to the ‘ideal place’ to start living your life? Why not take the steps you can right where you are, TODAY?
They created this website, and the blog that goes with it, in 2001, and it’s still going strong today. They are the originators of this movement we slowly found ourselves joining without even knowing it!
Their website is chock full of information, links, tips, and tricks to starting your own Urban Homestead revolution right in your backyard. As well, they have a wonderful blog that dates back to July of 2001 with all of their adventures (and misadventures) as they lead the way through this rough and tumble path. But they are also the beacon down the road, urging us all to follow in their footsteps down what they call The Path to Freedom.
So what are we trying to free ourselves from?
– Freedom from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) that are contaminated the food supply (I can pretty much guarantee you eat them without even knowing it!)
– Freedom from oppressive (almost) monopoly companies like Monsanto
– Freedom from pesticides and synthetic chemicals in our food
– Freedom from oil companies and their oil-driven interests (you would be AMAZED at how many things are controlled by oil, and the companies that control the oil)
– Freedom from living “on the grid”
The goal is to go back to a simpler way of life. To live like our grandparents and great-grandparents did: earning your living from the land, getting to know mother nature (and thriving or struggling because of her whims), and ultimately foregoing our “instant gratification” culture that so many of us take for granted. If every person on earth lived the way we Americans do, we would need 7 earths to sustain our way of life.
Jules Dervaes, patriarch of the Dervaes family, and his 3 adult children have managed to turn their 1/5 acre plot of land (only half is usable garden space) into a working urban farm, complete with chickens, ducks, goats, bees, and fish. Oh, did I mention they produce about 6,000 pounds of produce annually? That’s 3 tons!
Take in to consideration their monthly electricity bill is about $15, and their annual (yes, ANNUAL) water bill is about $600, and I’m on board just for financial reasons! They produce 99% of their annual produce needs for their vegetarian diet (buying staples like flour and dried beans from a co-op), and they sell the surplus to restaurants, caterers, and to the general public!
How do they do it? A combination of water-wise practices, solar panels, and the practice of ‘unplugging’ anything that isn’t necessary (the only kitchen appliance they own that plugs into the wall is their energy-star rated refrigerator). In the garden, they use live mulching, “square inch” gardening, and vertical growing (among other things) to produce beautiful, tasty treats year-round (Yup! Year-round! They’re lucky enough to be located in Pasadena, CA).
Instead of waiting around for the oil to run out, global warming to burn us all up, and for the end of the world to simply swallow us whole, why don’t we start with ourselves? Why don’t we start here, in our own backyards, our own houses, our own lives?
Follow in the Dervaes family’s footsteps and take the first step down the path: to freedom.
To find out more about what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, to free yourself from the powers that be, or to take back your food, visit: urbanhomstead.org and get reading.
What steps have you taken down the Path to Freedom?