Urban Farmers Plant Seeds Of Change (CBS Nightly News with Bill Whitaker)

Jules Dervaes and his three children are groundbreaking pioneers. CBS news correspondent Bill Whitaker reports they are at the forefront of a fast-growing movement in these hard economic times: getting rid of the sacred front lawn and replacing it with the urban farm.

“We turned ours into a garden in the front yard, and the side yards,” Dervaes said, where they grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, grapes and apples.

This veritable Eden is on a standard lot on an average street in Pasadena. In fact the whole lot would fit on the football field at the Rose Bowl down the street seven times.

“We are cultivating one-tenth of an acre and can grow up to 6,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables per year.

So much food, they started selling organic produce to upscale restaurants. They say they’re saving the earth, and they know they’re saving money. Daughter Anais says they spend a few hundred dollars a month on staples they can’t grow, like flour and rice.

“Everything else is homegrown,” Anais said.

Spending on vegetable gardening in the U.S. shot up a whopping 21 percent in just the last year. For the Dervaeses, it’s a full time job, but anybody can garden, they say.

“Most of this stuff was picked just this morning,” said Michael Fonti, showing off a bounty from his front lawn in suburban Los Angeles. Architect Fritz Haeg helped them transform their lawn.

“It happens to be one of the most wasteful, useless spaces,” Haeg said of lawns.

Eyeing some 30 million front lawns in America, he’s the Johnnie Appleseed of gardening, sowing his green revolution from California to Kansas, New Jersey, Baltimore, and even London.

“It’s such a natural thing, to grow your own food and yet, such a radical thing,” Haeg said.

It’s seeds of change, taking us back to the future.
Copyright 2009 CBS. All rights reserved.

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