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Urban Farm Bears Financial Fruit For Pasadena Family

PASADENA ( — When it comes to Pasadena and plants, the Tournament of Roses Parade probably comes to mind. But for the Dervaes family, plants are much more than simply decoration.

Former teacher-turned-farmer Jules Dervaes has spent 30 years turning his property into profit by morphing his one-fifth of an acre of land into an urban farm.

"When I ended up here in 1985, I brought the country life into the city," Dervaes said. "I wanted to break free of the supermarkets which were dependent on industrial agriculture, factory farms, everything that's not natural, and I wanted to be natural and I wanted my kids to have a natural life."

Since then, the whole family has become a part of the process. Jules, his two daughters and his son grow vegetables, tend to the chicken coop and sell their goods on the front porch and online.

Last year, the Dervaes family topped $60,000 in sales. And when they're not selling their produce, they're teaching others about it by holding food workshops to educate young people about where their food comes from.

"More and more people are becoming aware of where their food comes from and we offer a local organic source for that," Annais Dervaes said.

Just about every inch of the Dervaes' property is sustainable, from a water-saving toilet to an outdoor shower and even the garden itself.

Jules even trademarked the phrase "urban homestead" to describe their way of life.

"I thought the students and the children of the next generation should know about this, so now we do some classroom activities — we go out or bring in classes here," he said.

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