Following the film, a panel discussion with director McFalls on the issues raised by the film.
A Documentary About Modern Day Urban Homesteaders
HOMEGROWN (2008) follows the Dervaes family who run a small organic farm in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. While “living off the grid”, they harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, make their own bio diesel, power their computers with the help of solar panels, and maintain a website that gets 4,000 hits a day. The film is an intimate human portrait of what it’s like to live like “Little House on the Prairie” in the 21st Century.
Many people are becoming aware of the environment. We may have gone to see “An Inconvenient Truth”, changed our light bulbs, or started to recycle more. But how many of us are really walking the walk? I know I’m not.
When I heard about the Dervaes family, I sensed that there was a human story behind the headlines about global warming or buying organic produce. I wanted to find out what it takes to live the life of an environmental pioneer. I don’t wish to simply glorify or romanticize their way of life, however. I want to show that along with the positive benefits there are also sacrifices. Truly living by your ideals can have costs. I believe that recognizing the hardships the Dervaes have faced makes their work all the more inspiring.
HOMEGROWN is ultimately a family story. It’s about what lead them to where they are today, what changed them and what keeps them together. Perhaps by learning of their journey to a sustainable life style, we might be inspired to take our own first steps.
About Robert McFalls
Early in his career he was an associate editor on “American Dream”, the Barbara Kopple documentary, which won the Academy Award in 1990. That experience helped him to see what a broad reach a well-crafted documentary could have. He recently edited a documentary feature on the Dalai Lama, which is now screening at festivals around the world.
The beautiful music for this documentary was performed by our great American homegrown musicians Jay Unger & Molly Mason.
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are best known for their haunting composition Ashokan Farewell in Ken Burns’ hit PBS series “The Civil War”. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy. They’ve garnered legions of fans through their appearances on “Great Performances”, “A Prairie Home Companion”, their own public radio specials, and work on film soundtracks such as “Brother’s Keeper”, “Legends of the Fall”, and a host of Ken Burns documentaries.
About the Family
The Dervaes Family (Jules, Anaïs, Justin & Jordanne)
Since the mid 1980s, Jules Dervaes and his family have steadily worked at transforming an ordinary residential lot in Pasadena, California into a verdant oasis in the midst of the city. On their small fifth of an acre they are striving to be a self-sustaining urban homestead complete with bio diesel power, solar energy, and wastewater management. These eco-pioneers grow much of their own food and raise a menagerie of chickens, ducks, goats, and an occasional cat. They have been the subject of numerous articles in newspapers around the country, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and were recently featured on ABC’s Nightline. You can learn more about them at their website: www.pathtofreedom.com
Will We Be Attending?
In fact, Farmer D was invited to participate in the panel following the film.
Unfortunately, he is Farmer D and that means he’s, well, farming. So instead, Farmer D will be doing the next best thing – writing a statement for the director to read to all those of you who attend the screening of HOMEGROWN
Meet Me In St Louis
So anyone from St Louis or Missouri going to be attending? Post here and hook up with fellow Missouri Freedom Gardeners in your area.
Here’s some nifty Freedom Garden badges you download and print on label paper wear with your FG ID name. Or print up some of these flyers to hand out at the event to recruit more Freedom Gardeners in the St Louis area.
This “Facebook” for modern day victory gardeners is a site by and for the people – and you are the people!
So use this comment box below (or Freedom Garden Forum) to give a shout out if you will be attending and start hooking up and networking – hey, even bring seeds to swap. It’s up to you to make this screening a “happening!”
We’d love to have photos of the film premier complete with a GROUP shot of Freedom Gardeners who attended. We’ll post the pictures and reviews of the film.
Who’d like to volunteer?