Here’s what Farmer D had to say:
Examples of the use of individual residences for suburban agricultural use can be found in Pasadena California, and Boulder, Colorado.
Path to Freedom Since 1985, Jules Dervaes and his three adult children have gradually transformed their 8,700- square-foot (800 sq.m) Pasadena property, which includes a 1917 craftsman bungalow, into a bountiful suburban homestead.
Its central feature is a 4,300-square-foot (400 sq.m) organic garden containing more than 350 varieties of edible and useful plants and producing more than 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables annually. The garden is a testament to Dervaes’s belief that small properties can be used efficiently to “produce in every way possible.” For example, he continues, “A fence line is not just a marker of privacy, but an opportunity to grow peas and beans.”
The expansive garden, however, is just one illustration of the Dervaes’s holistic approach to independent living in a suburban environment. The Dervaes family also raises chickens, goats, and goats, not just to provide eggs and potentially milk, but also to manage the garden waste. The animals eat leftover greens and, in turn, supply fertilizer for the garden. The family’s home features technological elements, including solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and biodiesel processor, to decrease reliance on nonrenewable energy resources. And the Dervaeses purchased these and other items with money made from the sale of homegrown, specialty salad greens to local restaurants.
While the Dervaeses move toward self-sufficiency, they recognize the importance of community and interdependence. The homestead adapts well to its context, and the frontyard landscaping is a carefully considered blend of herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers that provides visual appeal and continuity with the surrounding single-family homes. “I give a nod to the city lifestyle and then try to change people’s minds about the responsible use of the land,” acknowledges Dervaes.
With trends, like with urban homesteading, sometimes people get carried away and forget the basic principle or the golden rule – “being a good neighbor” So Farmer D’s simple advice to ask yourself before taking the plunge is “would I like to live next to me” If you can answer with a positive ” YES” then you know you are on the right track of not only being an urban homesteader but a responsible citizen and neighbor.
More musings on being a good urban homesteader coming up….