HomeGrown is the inspiring true story of a family “living off the grid” in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. They harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, while running a popular website that is known around the world. The film is an intimate human portrait of what it’s like to live like “Little House on the Prairie” in the 21st Century.
By dawn, the interchange of the 134 Freeway and Interstate 210 is already starting to thrum with traffic. But only a hundred feet away, the Dervaes family has been up for hours. Their surprisingly tiny green oasis is a working farm right in the middle of Pasadena. Once seen as a nutty idea, the family homestead now produces three tons of organic produce a year. Jules and his adult children, Justin, Anaïs and Jordanne speak candidly about what shaped their family and their need for independence. We learn about Jules’ father, an oil executive with a green thumb, Jules’ adventures as a young man homesteading in New Zealand, and the sorrows and hardships their family has faced over the years, including divorce, lawsuits and a stint foraging for recyclable cans. We watch them wrestle with their quest to live a simple lifestyle even as their website, “Path To Freedom,” demands more attention from followers around the world. Originally set up to share farming tips, it now dangles tantalizing prospects of a financial windfall. But what would it mean to sell ad space on their website instead of getting their hands dirty? Would it change their way of life if they got used to easy money? And how will Jules’ children be able to buy their own homesteads and carry on in the future? There are no easy answers. But along the way, the Dervaes have grown stronger and found a tight knit community based on family, friends, good food, hard work, and the commitment to tread lightly upon the earth.