Devaes Urban Homesteading
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Urban homesteading at it’s finest.

Since the mid 80’s the Dervaes family has transformed their small city lot into the sustainable and self-sufficient Urban Homestead project.  On just 1/10 of an acre they supply enough vegetables for themselves as well as a local produce business.  They’ve really set the standard on what possible in an urban environment.

In addition to food production, the Dervaes family runs on solar power and brews their own biodiesel using waste restaurant grease.  They also raise goats, chickens, rabbits and some fish on their plot.  Let’s hope more and more people embrace this sort of living.

Check out their video on Urban Homesteading

They reminded everyone that their transformation from ‘home’ to ‘homestead’ has been a 20 year evolution, with many trials and efforts.  (Our gardens are just on year 2 and this story motivates us!)

“This lifestyle is difficult,” admits Jules(the father). “My attitude is survivalist backed up with stubbornness. I’m not saying that this lifestyle is for everybody, but some of it is for everybody.”  – Sentinal & Enterprise

To achieve 6,000lbs of food on their 1/10 acre urban homestead, the Dervaes family uses a variety of methods to maximize their space.

Planting and Soil Preservation Techniques

  1. Seed Saving
  2. Companion planting
  3. Square inch, intensive growing methods
  4. Polyculture/intercropping
  5. Remineralization
  6. Self watering containers
  7. Integral pest management
  8. Square inch plantings
  9. Polyculture
  10. Successive sowing

Composting Methods

  1. Making / Using EM Bokashi
  2. Vermicomposting
  3. Composting food, garden and green waste
  4. Brewing compost teas

Food Preservation and Preparation

  1. Bread making
  2. From scratch
  3. Cheese, butter & yogurt
  4. Sprouting
  5. Canning
  6. Drying
  7. Freezing
  8. Fermenting
  9. Brewing

Animals Incorporated Into System


  1. Chickens (eggs/manure)
  2. Ducks (eggs/manure)
  3. Dwarf rabbits (manure)
  4. Dwarf/pygmy goats (milk/manure)


  1. Captured wild swarm
  2. Without the use of antibiotics
  3. Unfiltered, unheated, hand extraction


  1. Tilapia
  2. Water used to grow veggies
  3. Solar pump and heater

Their amazing urban homesteading project has been featured on OPRAH, ABC Nightline, CNN, CBS Evening News, KCBS, KCAL, National Geographic Channel, VH1, Food Network, Mother Earth Magazine and Natural Home.