Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Path to Freedom through self-sufficiency

A story for all of us who dream of living off of the grid, on a budget, and in the city if necessary.

Just the idea of being able to support oneself, and be less dependant on the powers that be, that wield the power, because they have the masses so ensnared.

Check this family out!


Jules Dervaes and three of his adult children live on one-fifth of an acre in Pasadena, Calif., a block away from a multilane highway. On this tiny sliver of land, they manage to be mostly self-sufficient. “This is our form of protest,” says Dervaes, who is 60, “and this is our form of survival.” The family harvests 6,000 pounds and more than 350 separate varieties of fruits, vegetables and edible flowers annually. They brew the biodiesel fuel that powers the family car. Solar panels on their roof reduce energy bills to as little as $12 a month. Goats, chickens, ducks and two rescued cats are in residence. Red wiggler worms turn the kitchen and garden waste into compost, which is then recycled back into the garden.

Dervaes/Path to Freedom

Visit there website:

Path to Freedom

Check out the two minute trailer Homegrown

HOMEGROWN follows the Dervaes family who run a small organic farm in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. While "living off the grid", they harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, make their own bio diesel, power their computers with the help of solar panels, and maintain a website that gets 4,000 hits a day.


  1. Wow! Thanks for posting this. I sent it to my buddy Nina since we're having a chat about this right now.

  2. This IS awesome! Thanks Penny for putting it up and Noby for bringing it to my attention. I must send this to Charles Hugh Smith at his Of Two Minds blog and Ran Prieur at his blog and forum. I link to both on my link list. Its quite one thing to talk about it and entirely another to live it, especially to live it so fully. It takes courage and creativity, things that have been deleted from our culture following WW11 and the rise of advertised convenience.
    I have seen a whole community in the Nevada mountains, entirely off the grid. A beautiful place with freeroaming wild Mustang, all the houses remind me of this family's home. It can be done. We badly need to do it. Its the only way we're going to survive. Let's do it now.

  3. I got into sprouting recently, as a city dweller its about all I can do for now to become more self sufficient.

    I'm not a fan of solar panels, it costs more energy to make them than what you would ever get out of them + they add concentrated toxins like dioxin and all the other most deadly toxins to the environment. A rule of thumb in semiconductor physics is that the more poisonous a substance is, the better the semiconductor it makes. My EE prof once said swallowing a small IC can kill you. No wonder the fake environmentalists are pushing pushing solar electric.

    I would be running a generator from alchohol - a much more environmentally friendly and cost effective way of making electricity - unless you believe that carbon dioxide is somehow bad for the environment.

    Self sufficiency is great, but black is white, up is down and 2+2=5 in the fake environmental movement.

  4. glad you guys enjoyed it.
    You to doug!

    I don't know to much about the manufacture of solar panels, but the idea of being more self-sufficient frees people up in a way they don't realize.

    Given the conditioning we have endured our entire lives.

  5. Wonderful!

    Granted it's alot easier to do living in sunny California, where one can rotate between summer and winter crops.

    Next spring I'll be digging up and redoing almost half my backyard, about 400 sqft. This will be all veggie garden. Still though, where I am I only have about a six month growing season, but hey - at least it's something. Looking forward though to nice old heritage Mackintosh apples from my Dad's tree! I will have many - and a great cold room to store them!

    I think all of here are in the same mindset.

    Hey Poly - do people really still believe in GW?????

    Now, that's a laugh.

  6. G'day Miss Penny:
    Since others are weighing in on this topic of self-sufficiency I thought that I would throw my two cents in as well.
    First a little background, as some of you might know I sorta maybe sometimes retired some twelve years ago and being somewhat fed up with the whole thought of living in the cobweb of life in the big city I said fuck it I'm going home, where home was I really didn't know. What I did know was that it sure as hell wasn't where I was. Where I was at was a Huge great house in the burbs , basically out of work, not knowing my neighbors, not wanting to know my neighbors. Like who really knows their neighbors in the city?

    So my wife having passed away the previous year I really had no anchor holding me back, I sold the house and with my family (four Great Danes a Doberman a Miniature Pincer and a Cat) we hit the road looking for a home, didn't find one. We traveled the length and breadth of Canada in our gas-guzzling beast of a motor home and nothing was right, nothing talked to us, nothing said "Welcome this place, This is where you Need to be".

    Then one day while back in Manitoba not thirty miles from where I had been born and raised we found it.(life's strange that way) We found an empty field surrounded by bush on three sides and overlooking a large peaceful valley. I liked it the dogs liked it and even the cat seemed to like it, so after some negotiations with the owner I bought 110 acres of some top land but mostly bush down in the valley.

    I knew what we wanted but not being Daniel Boone or anything even close to a woodsman I had some others do the work of building the Log House, putting in the geothermal heating, and installing the wind turbine for power, drilling the well and such.

    I now live completely disconnected from the grid, even my internet is via satellite, our vegetaedibles are all grown organically in my garden of five acres. While this is far more than we can consume, I store that which we need in a large root cellar and trade the rest to neighbors for both organic pork, beef range fed chickens, eggs and so on.

    The rest of the arable acres are used to grow organic wheat for flour, barley and corn for feed as well as organic hay and alfalfa, which is also traded for produce and or services.

    Whilst the initial cost was high, my costs today excluding the ever present land and property taxes, are almost zero. I would think that a family of five could easily be maintained in this fashion at no additional cost save clothing and other consumables.

    So while I do still travel a fair amount considering my semi retired status I'm always so glad to be back home and when asked if it was worth it I say YES, YES a Thousand times Yes. Even with every man busting rock that had to be moved it was worth it and I recommend it highly.

    Also if you live in a fairly sunny local I have info on passive solar panels that are easy to construct, work amazingly well to supplement heating and above all are cheap to make and totally free to use. If interested let me know and I'll tell you how to make them.

    By the by I don't own a pair of skates, I have NEVER dreamt of a White Christmas and I still hate Snow.

  7. Hey Silv. Your whole set-up sounds over-rated. I don't know anyone who'd give you tuppence for it. But I'll help you out. I'll give you a grand (real money!) for the whole thing. I'd offer you more but there's all that dreadful snow you were telling us about and that's a bit of a detraction.

    No need to thank me. (smiley winkyface thing!)

  8. hey silverfish

    my hubbys says he'll double nobody's offer, two grand, cash in hand, cause you seem to be livin' his dream!
    And the snow thing doesn't bother us.
    I love snow, can't wait for the first snow fall, love to walk in it.
    All sparkling in the light.
    Hell, I just don the long johns or as I call them long janes and off i go.
    When our daughter was younger we would all bundle up and do these Sunday am hikes, through the snow, cold, cold ,cold, almost 7kms.
    This was a good walk for a pre-teen kid. (8-10)

    questions: is there deer in the woods? do you hunt?

    (hubbies questions not mine)
    I can hardly kill anything, and have a guilt feeling over the mice.

    but really what a set up you have there! Years ago when my spouse talked about living off the grid etc., I was like, I married a crazy person.

    But now, this concept of living in that manner, I get it.

    oh and one more thing, do you have the plans on your computer that you can just send as some sort of file or something?
    (non tech person, so bear with me)
    If so let me know, and I will post an e-mail addy to send them to