Photo by permission of Robert McFalls
“Homegrown is the inspiring true story of the amazing Dervaes family who are living off
the grid in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. They harvest over 6,000 pounds of
produce on less than a quarter of an acre while running a popular website that is known
around the world. The film is an intimate human portrait of what itʼs like to live like Little
House on the Prairie in the 21st Century,” as stated on the documentary’s website.
According to the director, Robert McFalls,
“Many people are becoming aware of the environment. We may have gone to see “An Inconvenient Truth”, changed our light bulbs, or started to recycle more. But how many of us are really walking the walk? I know I’m not.
When I heard about the Dervaes family, I sensed that there was a human story behind the headlines about global warming or buying organic produce. I wanted to find out what it takes to live the life of an environmental pioneer. I don’t wish to simply glorify or romanticize their way of life, however. I want to show that along with the positive benefits there are also sacrifices. Truly living by your ideals can have costs. I believe that recognizing the hardships the Dervaes have faced makes their work all the more inspiring.
HOMEGROWN is ultimately a family story. It’s about what lead them to where they are today, what changed them and what keeps them together. Perhaps by learning of their journey to a sustainable life style, we might be inspired to take our own first steps.”
When I first heard about the story of a family which produced 6000 lbs of food on a 1/5th of an acre on a suburban plot, I was immediately intrigued. I am passionate about gardening but this concept of growing this much food on such little acreage was mind boggling. On the Homegrown website, I watched the following inspiring trailer release of the movie:
The poignant part of the video is when Jules Dervaes states that we should treasure the top six inches of our soil since it is what we live on. It sent chills up my body since he was talking about the survival of the Planet and our ability to feed ourselves.
The Dervaes are an extraordinary family with a message. Their life is not just about growing food, but living in a sustainable manner in an urban setting. Watch the following video produced by them to learn more about this family:
I reprinted their message at the end of the video for everyone to contemplate:
“In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is tuly the only effective protest, one that can and will overturn the corporate powers that be.”
There is truth to that statement. In our grocery stores are genetically modified foods, pesticide-laden vegetables, milk with antibiotics, and high fructose corn syrup in our breads. The list can go on and on how food has changed since our grandmothers’ era. We live in a convenient time where we can eat what we want, when we want. We ship vegetables and fruits around the world regardless of the carbon footprint, so that we can enjoy them any season. You have to stop and think. What are we doing to ourselves with the quality of food we are eating?
I thought I was accomplishing a lot on my little piece of the Earth. It is nothing compared to what the Dervaes have accomplished. As I write this article, I am in awe of how the Dervaes family is changing the world and using their website, Path to Freedom as a tool for their message.
This documentary, HomeGrown, is being showing at Lincoln Center, NYC, November 3, 2008. Check the website for more information about the film and future screenings. This movie is worth seeing. It will inspire all of us to be more sustainable.