How to Grow 6,000 Lbs of Food on 1/10TH Acre

How to Grow 6,000 Lbs of Food on 1/10TH Acre

The Dervaes, a southern California family, don’t just teach us about Another How to Grow 6,000 Lbs of Food on 1/10TH Acre, they teach us what it’s like to live off-the-grid (OTC), to reconnect with nature (even while living in an urban space) and about being self-sufficient on their path to ‘freedom’.

Typically ‘growing your own’ means moving to the country, ploughing fields, cultivating crops, harvesting the bounty… but these days more and more people are turning to their own back yards to create ‘urban farms’. The Dervaes family is revolutionizing what can be done in an unlikely place by importing the country to the city (this is a little like a throw-back to the storied days of self-reliant, rural America… but in the middle of the city). From just 1/10th of an acre (about 4,000 square feet) the Dervaes are able to produce 6,000 pounds of food each year, including over 400 varieties of vegetables, fruits, berries and edible flowers. This is enough to feed the family and what they cannot eat, they sell to local chefs in order to buy the things they can’t grow, like grains.

Living off-the-grid refers to homes which are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal services and a true OTC home can operate completely independently. It is a self-sufficient way of living that includes growing your own sustainable food crops, creating your own sources of electricity and heat, and so on. The Dervaes family not only grow their own food, they also create their own gasoline for their vehicles and create their own electricity to heat and light their home (all-in-all, while the gasoline – which is donated used cooking oil that is put through their bio-diesel brewing station – is free, the electricity – created by installed solar panels – ends up costing a whopping $12.00 per month).

Because of their OTG lifestyle, the Dervaes don’t own a microwave oven or any other electrical kitchen gadgets. While they do have kitchen gadgets, they’re all ‘hand-powered’. Each member of the family has a ‘job’ to do (a job that doesn’t involve a daily commute or any office politics), including looking after their animals (they raise chickens and ducks for the eggs and goats for the milk), cooking their vegetarian meals, tending to their homemade water irrigation systems (clay pots which are filled with water that weeps through the clay as needed by the plants) and making sure that every last inch is utilized by their urban farm (and, trust me, it is!). They also pickle and preserve and raise honey-bees.

The Dervaes are self-sustainable through their own elbow grease – they aren’t afraid of hard work or of getting their hands a little dirty, which almost all OTG homesteads require. Jules Dervaes’ ultimate dream is a ‘homestead village’ where he, his family and their extended families can live together in harmony, growing their own crops, raising their own animals and living ‘free’ from the burdens of normal, everyday living the rest of us experience.


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