An Amazing and Prolific Urban Homestead

How our family of four has created food and energy self-sufficiency on a fifth of acre.

by Jules Dervaes

Looking back at 1965, the year I entered college, I hardly recognize myself! At 18 I was headed — like everyone I knew — for life in the professional world. My dad was providing for our family by working for Chevron as a district manager of central Florida. For me, class valedictorian at Tampa’s Jesuit High School, the die had been cast to make my living by wearing a white collar. Working at manual labor was never a possibility, never even imagined.

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You can also order a hard copy of this magazine from us which contains nearly 14 photos of our very own photos of the urban homestead.


  1. Carol says:

    Could you please consider posting a “floorplan” of your garden so someone could replicate it? Perhaps you could make one in the spring. Then add to it. It sounds as if you have perfected the planting time of the crops so space is never wasted. So it would be helpful to know when and where to plant the next crop. Thank you so very much for all you do.

  2. J says:

    Wonderful article! One curius thing tho- What happened ot Jeremy? Those of us who have been following PTF for years know Jules has 4 kids, so its easy to assume he left and did his own thing, but Jules never makes mention of it and his name isnt listed on the site but comes up on old cached google search hits. Not trying to be nosy, was just not sure if something unfortunate happened to him or he just chose not to be involved with the homestead anymore.

  3. Ellen says:

    Can you let me know when those of us who ordered a copy of MEN from you will get it? I’m anxious to see the pictures!

  4. CatHerder says:

    Fantastic! Every time I fill out my Mother Earth News surveys I always mention Path to Freedom, asking when theyre doing an article! Im so glad!..I too long to go back out to the rural area we once lived, but with the economy we arent going anywhere for awhile….i put in a new raised bed just for garlic, and cleared everything out in the fall so im ready for the summer to plant as much as I possibly can. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  5. Katie says:

    Ack! I can’t wait to get mine in the mail. My husband and I fight over who gets to read it first.

  6. Shirley says:

    The pictures are here:

    There are 14 pictures!!!

  7. CIndie K. says:

    Major kudos to Farmer D. Wonderful and beautifully written article. Yet another compelling presentation for sustainable urban living. Thank you for continuing inspiration.

  8. Sherri says:

    I second what Carol said! I think it would be great to get some ideas of how to space/companion plant/rotate plants to get the most out of a small space, especially for people like us who are relatively still new to gardening!

  9. URBAN HOMESTEADING IN REVIEW | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] highlights as urban homesteading becomes more and more accepted by the mainstream – Oprah, Mother Earth News, Sundance Channel, UK Telegraph, CBS Evening News, The Times of India and many other tv, radio and […]

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