NY TIMES: THE GREEN ISSUE
Some Bold Steps to Make Your Carbon Footprint Smaller
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Watch 5 min Video LIFE (MOSTLY OFF THE GRID) by David Clair NY TIMES
URBAN FARMING: Jules Dervaes and three of his adult children live on one-fifth of an acre in Pasadena, Calif., a block away from a multilane highway. On this tiny sliver of land, they manage to be mostly self-sufficient. “This is our form of protest,” says Dervaes, who is 60, “and this is our form of survival.”
The family harvests 6,000 pounds and more than 350 separate varieties of fruits, vegetables and edible flowers annually. They brew the biodiesel fuel that powers the family car. Solar panels on their roof reduce energy bills to as little as $12 a month. Goats, chickens, ducks and two rescued cats are in residence. Red wiggler worms turn the kitchen and garden waste into compost, which is then recycled back into the garden.
Dervaes’s father worked for Standard Oil, but his son took a markedly different path. Dervaes moved into his current Pasadena home in 1985 — temporarily, he thought. As the years passed and his hopes of relocating to the country were delayed, he “decided that he wanted to see how much we could grow here,” says his 33-year-old daughter, Anais.
The family generates cash for their limited expenses by selling produce to local restaurants. Though Dervaes and his children are accustomed to the neighbors’ strange looks at their crowded lot, the local chefs don’t seem to share the skepticism. “They’ll call me in the morning and pick the amount that I need for that night,” says Jim McCardy, who owns Marstons, a restaurant in Pasadena. “The flavor is just incredible.”
- CHARLES WILSON (NY Times)
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