About the Urban Homestead
In the mid-1980s, our family set out to do the seemingly impossible: To create what we dubbed an urban homestead and live a self- sufficient, low-impact life in the heart of the city. For years we worked steadily to transform our ordinary urban lot in Pasadena, California, into an organic permaculture garden that supplies us with food year-round.
Having found food security in our own backyard, we were emboldened to take further steps. We began powering our home with alternative energies and fueling our car with home-brewed bio-diesel. Along with new technologies, we also embraced the simple living of past generations. We kept farm animals for egg production and manure, used secondhand goods to decrease our consumption of earth’s nonrenewable resources, and taught ourselves a variety of back-to-basics skills. Through much hard work, and no small amount of blessing, our "urban homestead" now enjoys a dramatic degree of independence, with ever-decreasing environmental impact.
The journey is ongoing — and we are by no means finished — but we are grateful to have come this far. In 2001, we named our homegrown venture “Path to Freedom” and created this website — the first ever devoted to urban homesteading. We hoped that by documenting our personal experiences we could offer encouragement to those striving to live a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle. Eight years later, PathtoFreedom.com is now the largest and most comprehensive urban homesteading website, with more than five million hits per month. We believe that our family’s real-life experience is what makes the site unique: We aren''t just writing about the latest eco- practices and products; for more than two decades, we have been living the revolution. At our daily blog, "Little Homestead in the City," you can witness first-hand our struggles and joys, defeats and successes on this pioneering journey.
We now run a family of websites which offer goods and interactivity for others on "the path." For our expanded online outreach, non- profit organization, and progressive online stores, visit this link.
Please note that Path to Freedom is a noncommercial, family-operated venture. We devote countless hours to this site, and, despite the opportunity for profit, we remain committed to keeping it an advertisement-free forum. We do this because we believe in giving freely to others, a value upon which strong, healthy communities are built. We hope you will take this principle to heart, and will view this site not just as a place to “take” (answers, ideas, inspiration), but as an opportunity to “give” as well. Whatever you may gain by reading about our journey, please remember to “pay it forward” to others in some fashion. Together, we can ignite a revolution of spirit that will truly change our world for the better!
– Jules, Justin, Anais, and Jordanne Dervaes