Urban Homesteads and Communal Farms: How To Turn Dirt Into Gold

by Carmen Allgood
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

When Tiny is Huge: How a Family Produces 6,000 Pounds of Food in Their Back Yard

Just 30 minutes north of Los Angeles in the burbs of Pasadena, California, is a burgeoning tiny farm tucked snugly between three major freeways. For the last decade, the Dervaes family has proven the impossible dream can come true and happily shares the trials and tribulations of their Urban Homestead with the world. Using Laura Ingalls Wilders’ autobiographical Little House children’s stories as a sweet-dream lifestyle, their chosen model for sustainable self-sufficiency is now dubbed: Little Homestead in the City.

The family of four raises more than 350 varieties of fruit, veggies, herbs, and berries on 1/10 of an acre, which translates to a 66′ x 66′ garden space. The tiny farm is also abuzz with bees making honey, while chickens and ducks lay eggs and lend their considerable skills to insect control. Other animals share the farm but are safe since the family has a vegetarian palette.

The entire homestead is 1/5 of an acre, and includes their home, outbuildings, and the porch-market for shoppers. All told, the farm yields more than 6,000 pounds of organic food annually.

Aside from their personal consumption, the Dervaes yearly sales top $20,000 in fresh organic food, herbs, and edible flowers to local restaurants. They also host a variety of events and workshops through outreach programs and services to help keep the world and their cash flow moving in the right direction.

“Together we can ignite a revolution of spirit that will truly change our world for the better.” ~ Jules Dervaes

Sowing The Seeds Of Love

A family that grows together, stays together. Emotional scraps dissolve quickly when everyone is too busy to hold grudges. Besides, there’s too much work to do when there’s a farm involved, and it is never a good idea to go to bed hungry or grumpy.

Communal farms have seen a renaissance as thousands of projects are sprouting up like mushrooms all over the planet; the energy channeled into a common cause – let’s eat! Kids and the elderly love being involved and nothing is as soul-satisfying as the holy work of raising food for our families, friends, or the masses.

In Denver, Colorado, Gardens for Growing Healthy Communities is transforming “garbage lots” in the city’s poorest neighborhoods into celestial garden spots. Crime rates drop when beauty arrives, and that’s a fact.

In the U.S. the number of small farms and organic permits is as astonishing as it is resourceful. There are currently nearly 2 million small farms in America, which make up more than 90% of all U.S. farms. Working in concert with the farmers, there are 9,000 Farmers Markets in the states with annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

In Australia, farms produce 93% of the total volume of food consumed in Australia; 60% of the food raised is exported and  MORE