The Urban Homestead at a Glance
Jules Dervaes sold his 10 acres in rural Florida and purchased this "fixer-upper" home in the mid-1980s at a reasonable price by California standards.
Sorely neglected by years of being occupied by renting tenants and located in a low income neighborhood, the home was in bad need of repair (and, heck... we ain’t kiddin‘... it still does in most places! Just sayin’) and the yard was a combination of broken asphalt, large concreted areas, weeds, Bermuda grass, chalky "adobe-type" soil, and a few rather pathetic “landscape” plants.
You will not find movie stars on this set, but we do have our own cast of characters and enough daily dramas here on the Urban Homestead model to be more than interesting. And it's a REAL reality show, not Hollywood manufactured and scripted. The Urban Homestead model is on a completely opposite spectrum to the hustle and insanity that surrounds us.
Thousands of people zoom by on the freeway in their own little automobile cocoons. A few blocks away, people stroll Old Towne in their latest designer threads, buying things they probably don’t need. We’re a whole different world; our triumphs and struggles are so far different from what the majority of Angelinos experience. It may surprise you but we live under a constant dictatorship! Gardening is not a democracy. We are ruled by nature and there isn't much we can do about that. This "tough love" dictatorship teaches us the valued lessons of patience and perseverance. One hard lesson learned is that we aren't in control and can't vote to change the outcome. In fact if we had custom t-shirts made this might very well be our saying for one of them.
Over the years, we have documented our progress in our journey towards becoming self-sufficient in a densely urban setting with charts, diagrams and stats. The Urban Homestead model is a continually evolving work in progress and these records have helped us to compare our successes and failures. They also serve as an aid in planning future plantings and projects.
In no way are our accomplishments "one size fits all." In viewing the aerial shots of the Urban Homestead model , it’s hard for even us to even to imagine that such a small space could produce so much. But these aerial shots offer even more -- zooming out farther from this isolated view, one sees America. Zooming even farther shows the entire world. We know that in that great big blue marble earth, there are fellow travelers and homesteaders, each scattered about on their isolated oasis, yet all connected in a common effort and spirit. We realize circumstances and situations have allowed us to take these steps. We do not intend to compare or endorse our progress as being possible for everyone.
However, we hope that by providing this information and making our records public we can prove that YOU can make a difference. Perhaps you may get inspired to make your own changes by the examples provided here. After all, no matter how small the change, you too, can take a step in the right direction.
And then, who knows where the path will take you? Let's walk!
::HELPFUL RESOURCE:: View the 10 Elements of Urban Homesteading Checklist
The Urban Homestead model at a Glance
Location: Northwest Pasadena, one mile from downtown Pasadena
Property Size: 66’ x 132’ = 8,712 sq.ft. (1/5 acre)
House: Simple, wood frame craftsman bungalow. Circa 1917.
House Size: 1,500 sq. ft.
Garden Size: ~ 1/10 acre (3,900 sq.ft. / ~ 66' x 66')
Garden Diversity: Over 350 different vegetables, herbs, fruits & berries
Productivity: Up to 6,000 lbs harvest annually on 1/10 acre
Tour Guide of the Urban Homestead model (2007)
Geography & Climate
north | west | south | east
Urban Homestead Charts & Figures
Food & Garden
HEALTHY SOIL / PLANTING METHODS
FOOD PRESERVATION & PREPARATION
Energy & Fuel
ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
ENERGY EFFICIENT ELECTRONICS
ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING
NON-ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES / HAND POWERED
PASSIVE COOLING / HEATING
Fuel & Transportation
HEALTH & BEAUTY
Skills & Crafts
FRONT PORCH FARM STAND
LOCAL & GLOBAL