“Progress starts with envisioning a new (yet old) lifestyle with the home as central to all aspects of life—work and leisure, food and energy. So, real progress means bringing the economy, beginning with the food economy, home again.”  – Jules Dervaes

Want to start living more sustainably, but you are stuck in the city? talks with yours truly.

{Please note: there is a misquote in the article.  Just to clarify, we are vegetarian and don’t sell or supply chicken or duck meat – only chicken and duck EGGS!}

The Urbanite’s Guide to Living—and Cooking—Like You’re off the Grid
You don’t have to own a farm to experience a bit of ‘Little House on the Prairie.’

Eli Manning could throw a football from the intersection of the 134 and 210 freeways to the front porch farmstand at The Urban Homestead. It’s a sliver of Southern California land with a Craftsman-style house that the Dervaes family has been running as a self-sustaining micro-farm since 1985


What small steps are you taking?



  1. Glenda says:

    Wonderful article. Your homestead is the biggest inspiration for all of us town dwellers. Thanks for sharing and bringing the blog back!

  2. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, I have to say that your family and your blog entries are the inspiration behind my endeavor into Urban farming. I do have some raised beds (4) in my back yard but the bulk of my gardening is about a 20 minute drive to a much larger garden. It’s actually a vacant lot I purchased from the city foreclosure website three years ago. Development of that property lead to another vacant lot purchase last year that hasn’t been developed just yet. Your city lot development techniques have inspired many more people than you know to try growing vegetables and living a more simple life.

    It’s a wonderful thing what your family does with continuing to educate people about food. So many people, especially city people, don’t really know much more about food than it comes from the grocery store. I believe that food education is an important part of our future survival. The petroleum based transportation of food from far away places, in my humble opinion, can’t be sustained long term.

    Have a great Urban Homestead day.


    Today I met you by Facebook and its proposal seems wonderful. I never had the inclination to crops, but I liked having ornamental plants. I’m thinking of the land of 600 meters we have next to our house which has so far served only as a place of recreation.
    The Felicitos for his great idea and the time and dedication with which they have built their farm. The idea of freedom is sublime.

  4. Lill Mari Mogstad says:

    Love your way of living – inspiration all over to Norway <3

  5. kaaren says:

    Hello All!

    Wonderful discussion and we all share a similar goal. I am challenged with three obstacles
    1 wildlife. we live in a very peculiar area of Texas and are inundated with wonderful wildlife , they too love our garden .
    2. The pesky horned worm. this guy ruined our small crop last summer.
    3. neighbors who use LOTS of pesticide to manage their lawns.
    Any suggestions would be helpful on how to manage and mitigate loss in an eco friendly way.
    Thank and good luck in all your home steading endeavors.

  6. Deb Lewis says:

    I have just found your website and blog. I cannot stop reading & watching everything you are doing. I live in Central PA, in a small town. I also have a small “in town” lot with neighbors on 3 sides. I currently have an herb garden, and just planted 2 dwarf apple trees this year. I have also just started two raised beds. Of course now that I have seen what your family has created, I am so very inspired to utilize my property in a better way. Instead of mowing, I’d rather be growing. I live alone on a very moderate income, so the physical work would be challenging, but I am ready to try. I currently work full time and will be for some time – unless I can adopt this way of living, which would totally change my plan & my outlook on things. Thank you so very much for sharing & inspiring others. Please keep posting everything you can.

  7. Kukurei crew nz says:

    Hi from Waiheke Island New Zealand. We saw a clip of your urban homestead posted on WIPP facebook page and are inspired. We live on a houseboat and will be looking for a small plot of land to follow your example. Thank you.

  8. Sophia Smith says:

    Enjoyed seeing your site. I was born on a farm and grew up in a rual community. Hope to return to a farming lifestyle. Thank you for posting your home. Love it too.

  9. Jessica says:

    We don’t have a garden because we’re renting right now. The landlord wants the lawn to remain as it is. The potted plants didn’t work (over 20 plants and I got one zucchini and 3 tomatoes). We are hoping to move soon and start our own “urban homestead”.

    We do can and freeze, though! Someone at our church gets bulk orders of good pears and peaches so we can those, as well as spaghetti sauce, soups, stews, and beans. When I find a good deal on produce, I buy a bunch and either can or freeze. I’m hoping to buy a capsule-filling machine so I can dehydrate greens and make my own “green powder”.

    We hang laundry. Since we’re in an apartment, we just hung up ropes in our bedroom! Haha! It doesn’t look great, but since guests don’t go in there anyway, who cares?

    We use cloth diapers, buy everything used (books, clothes, furniture, cars), use reusable bags and water bottles, and try to eat out as little as possible. We try to use the car as little as possible as well… Hard with 3 kids, but do-able! The grocery store is just a mile away from our house so I pop one in the sling, one in the double stroller, and use the rest of the space in the stroller for our groceries. 🙂

  10. Nilesh Mulherkar says:

    Watched your videos on Youtube.Thanks for inspiring me to grow my vegetables.My piece of land remained mostly unused for 10 years.I have started planting vegetables now.Only problem is the weeds.They grow too fast.

  11. Irma Barberena Martinez says:

    Love to get started what do I do first please advise thankful to you

  12. Barb says:

    We purchased good soil – our compost isn’t producing too much yet, and are making beds and put a winter crop one of them. Today we are planting onions in the other. We are in the process of putting up solar panels, and our bee colony seems to be thriving. We cook at home and have rid ourselves of the washer and dryer. It’s not going as slow as I once thought. We are really trying, and enjoy reading your website

  13. M metcalf says:

    U guys r a beautiful inspiration to us all. I do a small veggie garden mixed with flowers and I love my fresh eggs from my chickens. When I ever eat out eggs just don’t taste good! Thanks for all u guys do and yer inspiration!

Leave a Reply to Jessica Cancel reply