Jules Dervaes (born 1947) is an urban farmer and a proponent of the urban homesteading movement. Dervaes and his three adult children operate an urban market garden in Pasadena, California as well as other websites and online stores related to self-sufficiency and "adapting in place."
Self-sufficient in the city
Dervaes has a one-fifth acre lot in Pasadena, California, on which he and his family raise three tons of food per year. This provides 75 percent of their annual food needs, 99 percent of their produce and helps them sustain an organic produce business. They also raise ducks, chickens, goats, bees, compost worms and are running an aquaponics fish experiment.
Dervaes started experimenting with self-sufficiency while he lived in New Zealand and later in Florida, then decided to see how efficient he could make an urban homestead in Pasadena, California, USA. According to Natural Home magazine, "The Dervaeses' operation is about 60 to 150 times as efficient as their industrial competitors, without relying on chemical fertilizers and pesticides."
In addition to growing a significant amount of food, the Derveas family attempts to live off-grid as far as possible and have invested significant amounts of money to experiment with other ways of attaining self-sufficiency. They have 12 solar panels on the roof of the house, a biodiesel filling station in the garage, and a solar oven in the backyard; they use a wastewater reclamation system, a dual-flush toilet, a composting toilet, and a number of hand-cranked kitchen appliances (to reduce power consumption). They also use solar drying, and have a cob oven.
Dervaes owns several websites, including julesdervaes.com, pathtofreedom.com, urbanhomestead.org, urbanhomesteading.com, freedomgardens.org, peddlrswagon.com, backyardchickens.org, barnyardsandbackyards.org, thehiddenyears.org, and dervaesinstitute.org.
As of 2008, Path to Freedom got five million hits per month from over 125 different countries.
In 2008, Dervaes operated websites promoting prophecies of the "end times" and criticizing the Worldwide Church of God's (WCG) doctrinal changes from 1995. The site's mission was "TO SHOW that repeated WARNINGS to God’s Church, beginning in 1986 after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, were ignored, by documenting the outright rejection of the messages; TO WARN God’s people that the unique challenge of the Last Era is continuing to be met with the wrong solutions or none at all; TO ANNOUNCE the true and only way we can be prepared for the establishment of the Kingdom of God and Christ’s Second Coming."
In 2011, Dervaes took the websites down but an archived version can be found here.
The Dervaes Institute is registered as a tax exempt 508(c)(1)(a) organization, a status which is limited to "churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches"
In 2008, the Dervaes filed to trademark the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading," among others. In October 2010 their trademark was finally approved under the supplemental registry after initially being denied for not being distinctive enough. In 2011 they began sending notifications to maintainers of websites who used these terms that these terms were now under their trademark and that they were not to be used without crediting the Dervaes family.
The Dervaes Institute asserts that it's protecting a legitimate business interest, that their usage of the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading" are new usages and distinctive, and that its trademark of the term "urban homesteading" prevents other corporations from trademarking it. However, the same usage is documented back to at least 1976 in Mother Earth News.
This has caused an uproar within the urban homesteading community and created a backlash against the Dervaes family. An activist group called "Take Back Urban Home-steading(s)," was started on Facebook on 16 February 2011.
On 21 February 2011, Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which is representing Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, Los Angeles-based authors of The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, and publisher Process Media), sent a response to the Dervaes Institute and published the letter on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website.
On 4 April 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a petition to cancel the trademark on "urban homestead".
On 7 April 2011, Denver Urban Homesteading filed a petition to cancel the trademark on "urban homesteading".
Over the course of 2011, the Facebook group has evolved into a general urban homesteading resource.
- Path to Freedom Dervaes family website
- The HomeGrown Movie official website
- The Urban Homestead - City slickers revive the family farm.
- Los Angeles, I Am (1 January 2011). "A Greener Living For An Urban Family". I Am Los Angeles. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- Urban Homestead - Living the Real Simple Life (ABC Nightline)
- NYTimes.com - Life (Mostly) Off the Grid
- The Urban Homestead California Heartland (PBS)
- Dervaes, Jules (February/March 2009). "An Amazing and Prolific Urban Homestead". Mother Earth News (Ogden Publications). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Clark, Justin (2006-05-01). "Pasadena Paradise: The Perfect Garden with Creative Urban Results". Natural Home Magazine (Ogden Publications). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Murphy, Jennifer (2007-05-25). "LA Chickens". World Changing LA. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Caires, April (2004-02-21). "Really green living". Pasadena Weekly (Southland Publishing). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Let Elian Gonzales Go Home by Jules Dervaes
- "Doomsday Preppers". YouTube. National Geographic. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "The Hidden Years: About" maintained by archive.org, retrieved 2011-02-17
- Dervaes, Jules. "the sabbath economy". Urban Homestead Supply. Urban Homesteaders. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- Dervaes, Jules. "A Grassroots Creation Care Organization". Urban Homestead. Urban Homestead. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "26 USC § 508". Legal Information Institute. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- A Victorian mansion in Berkeley California is converted into an urban homestead.
- Take Back Urban Homesteading, an activist group on Facebook
- 21 Feb 2011 EFF Letter to Dervaes Institute
- Petition to cancel 'Urban Homestead' trademarks
- Petition to Cancel 'Urban Homesteading' trademarks