Just a stone’s throw from an 11 lane freeway, A birds eye view of our 1/5 acre urban homestead ( 66 ft x 132 ft)

The large building that runs behind and alongside our home is a school

A closer look.  You can see the 12 solar panels on the garage.  On our house, the metal roof and in the back and front yard our intensive food operation.  If you look closely, I think you can spot someone there among the raised beds!

Another view: you see our animal yard and get the sense how small our property is.  With only 1/10 acre growing space, we are showing that small can be beautiful and productive.  How much is a 1/10 acre, you ask.  Well, if an acre were a dollar, we are growing our food on 10 cents!

First, want to welcome all new readers via MEN’s newsletter that re featured its article about our AMAZING & PROLIFIC URBAN HOMESTEAD

Feel free to introduce yourself are you just starting our or are you a seasoned homesteader? Share how big your place is, your growing efforts, if you have any backyard barnyard and any other self reliant, back to basics skills you are doing to turn your ordinary home into a homestead.

Moving from the country to the city in 1985,  we brought a bit of the country/homesteading life with us; however, the beginnings were painfully slow.  The house needed a lot of work and the soil was a wreck due to years of neglect.   But that didn’t affect Farmer D – he saw potential and went on the motto “do what we can, where we are, with what we have, now.

25 years ago we started on a journey towards living a more sustainable life here in the city – for years we quietly did our own thing (living simple low impact life, planting a garden, keeping bees, cooking in solar oven, etc.)

As the years passed, we became more and more aware of food and environmental issues and we wanted to do something – but what?  We’d never have the influence of Greenpeace or Organic Consumer Association – what could we, as individuals, do to protest against this downward spiral of consumerism and corporate take over of our food supply.

Well, looking at ourselves first,  at what we were doing and how we chose to live was a step – a living protest.

When it was decided to share this journey online back in 2001, no one really had an idea that from a little “LA” city lot tthe modern urban homesteading movement was born.

Now there are clusters of urban homesteads in Berkley, Chicago, Denver and even here in Los Angeles where folks are striving to live a sustainable life in the city.   Nine years later, some have made a call to to make urban homesteading a new year’s resolution or some have even written that urban homesteading movement is a growing “phenomenon”

Although this kind of life was common in the past and people have always grown food or raised chickens in their backyard, etc,,  the description and the use of “urban homesteading” to apply to a modern 21st century city life wasn’t really defined.   Having been the first modern urban homestead model, we’ve been asked so many times about what we feel defines an urban homestead. What, EXACTLY, is it?

Jules Dervaes, the protagonist of the modern urban homesteading movement, came up with these 10 KEY FACTORS that define an urban homestead in the 21st century. The principle that underlies all these factors is that urban homesteading is a way of life–a journey towards a sustainable and self sufficient/reliant life.

While these 10 factors make up the “ideal” urban homestead, it should be understood that individual circumstances vary greatly and that many of these factors take years to implement fully. Therefore, any urban homestead SHOULD be a work in progress (we’ve been digging away at it for over two decades).

10 Elements of Modern Urban Homesteading

:: Field Hand Appreciation :: LS $50  EM $100  Thank you so much for your generous (tax deductible) donation. These funds will be put to good use – we need some printing done and working on a new, updated power point presentation for January.  Also we’d like to purchase public screening liscenses for a few new documentary’s so we can screen at our Film & Food Nights


  1. Cc says:

    To The Little House in the Big City! Merry Christmas! Thankyou for sharing your lives with us. I’m a displaced homesteader,(living in the city on rented property). So am limited, but can’t wait to see your pictures and read your articles. You sort of help me keep going until Iam once again living in the country. Can’t have animals in this town! Baa hum bug! Thanks again, and Merry Christ filled Christmas! C

  2. DoubleD says:

    That was fun to see the birds eye view of your lot and homestead. We are on a 1 acre lot that is mostly woodlot with just a small footprint of property that is suitable for growing on. Our goals are a little less lofy than yours – we grow 100% of our own veggies and just a little under half of our fruit needs, but are content to purchase locally for what we are not able to produce ourselves. We live a quiet life of simpler living – even though I work outside the home as a chief financial officer for a large organization.

  3. Carl says:

    Your urban homestead is a beacon of Hope. When ever I need a bit of inspiration I check out this website. Yesterday I harvested about 1.5 lbs of carrots. I am very proud that my backyard is becoming a urban homestead. It is a slow process, but one I will strive for. Keep it up! Power to the gardeners!

    Thank you again!

  4. Sandy Winters says:

    Great overhead photos! It really brings home how much you do on such a small lot. What is that large building that runs along two of the sides of your property? Is it a school?

  5. Sarah says:

    Great photos! We live on 10 acres in Indiana, and I have recently decided not to just “sit” on all of this space. We have had chickens, this spring we got ducks & more chickens, sheep, And a larger garden, which the chickens took everything out of! Next Spring, more big plans for my garden, including a fence? And a bigger garden! With more heritage seed… Soon to come turkeys, a cow or 2 and some goats for milk. We purchase 7 gallons of milk a week for my 4 little boys and hubby, plus soy milk for me!

    Your site has been some inspiration to DO more with what we have! It IS possible! We want to not have to RELY so much on others to provide food in exchange for our hard earned money!

    I am also making more gifts this year for Christmas!

    Thanks for inspiring so many! Have a Merry Christmas!!!

  6. Susan says:

    There was no comment box on the apron post (maybe one of the goats ate it?) so I’m posting here to say how beautiful those aprons are.

    I love wearing an apron when I cook. It makes me feel all Little House on the Prairie. I should start wearing an apron around the house even when I’m not actually cooking.

    “Besides the their eco qualities, aprons are so very feminine! And we gals certainly need a dose of femininity with chicken crap on our feet.” LOL!!

  7. Blythe says:

    For Homestead apparel. Old t-shirts get worn for working until they are finally cut up into napkins and wipes for cleaning. I have hung my clothes outside in good weather for years. I bought a sturdy, tall wooden rack dryer about 10 years ago at a flea market and I have used that to hang dry clothes in the winter indoors ever since . Since we have to buy propane for heat, I figure not using a dryer also has saved us tons of money and put less carbon in the air. We also wear our clothes longer to save on laundry.

  8. Joleen says:

    I love your website and your family is a great inspiration to me. I’m just starting my journey to self-sufficiency and simplicity and have a long way to go, but at least I know where I want to go. Right now I happen to live in a condo on the third floor of my building with just a balcony! My neighbors actually grow a whole garden on their little balcony, including corn, tomatoes, squash, and many other vegetables! It’s quite facinating to see in the city. I’m going to try starting some gardening in pots myself this summer and try to get a garden plot in a community garden in the city (Salt Lake City) and find a source for fresh eggs. There are many people here who are urban farmers with chickens and fresh produce to sell or share. It’s a start.

  9. viggie says:

    Very cool pictures! Now that I finally have a home I did a test garden this year. It went so well that I’ve already turned over the rest of the back yard to jump right into homesteading next year. I only have 1/10th acre, but it’s just me so I have high hopes of producing more than enough.

    I made the decision this fall too late to get started right away outdoors, but I’ve begun cooking from scratch, growing veggies indoors, and picked up a pair of angoras to produce fertilizer and give me something to spin into yarn. I’ve also gotten contacted and will try getting involved in the pro-chicken group in my area in hopes I can add some hens soon 🙂

  10. Louise says:

    Hello from Maine. I stumbled on your site a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m VERY interested in what you’ve accomplished and love reading the posts. I’m so inspired! I am just getting starting with some small goals to produce at least 10-20% of what we eat here in our house. With a husband and three boys this should be a challenge! Also, our colder climate to boot. We already have plans for a greenhouse in the backyard come Spring since my raised bed covered with a wooden frame and cheap plastic (not the best choice) was shredded in a wind storm – just when the new batches of spinach and lettuce were up. I’m converting an area in the kitchen with great south facing windows into my “greenhouse” to get my Winter gardening fix. We’ve had chickens for 2 years now and we love it! Raised turkeys as well this Summer. Keep doing what you’re doing – the message is so important today and so many think they know all about organic this and green that and they are so far removed from what’s real. Thank you for sharing and you can bet I’m reading and appreciate what you’re doing all the way from the other side of the county!

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