Doomsday Preppers: Jules Dervaes and family

Here we have another guy from Cali, this time preparing for the collapse of our industrial food system.
He says our reliance on GM  crops (not to mention petrochemicals) puts our farming model at the mercy of superpests, which—thanks to the monoculture of our totalitarian agricultural system—could destroy a harvest, driving up the price of food and thereby leading to hyperinflation.

In this scenario, fuel and electricity could become a luxury, and so as the narrator describes, “[their] strategy to live without…is to live without.” And good on them—plain living for the win!

To combat the shortsightedness of the food industry, he and his children have taken it upon themselves to try and grow as much of their own food as possible. And they’ve definitely succeeded— especially on less than an acre of land—as Jules rattles off a most impressive breakdown of their harvest: beans (188 lbs), carrots (38), cucumbers (241), onions (109), peas (115), peppers (113), tomatoes (958!), and 500 pounds of salad fixings, plus some comically large squashes. And I’d say it’s a safe bet that their produce is of the heirloom, organic, non-GM variety.

Basically, their system is what the city farmers call SPIN farming (Small Plot INtensive)— which is a great way to get the maximum amount of produce out of a limited amount of space.  By wisely utilizing vertical space instead of growing horizontally, they’ve turned their backyard into a permaculture ‘edible forest’. They also keep a menagerie of ducks, goats, chickens, bees, and fish for eggs, dairy, honey, and meat, plus a cat for pest control. In all, they have a pretty sweet self-sustaining spread.

As their car runs on old french fry oil, the expert appraisal is simply, ‘get a diesel generator’. This is the only problem I can see with this family’s plan: like a lot of biodiesel folks, their source of fuel comes from restaurants—so I guess it’d be hard to resupply post-disaster. Although it looks like they only use the biodiesel in the old Mercedes, I guess the experts want them to get a generator so they could use their extra fuel to keep their lights on, or something.

No mention of weapons or defense/security, although as gardeners they should have plenty of sharp metal things on long handles, and since they are part of a co-op, there’s a ready-made community to lend a hand in defending the ol’ homestead if need be.

After three episodes, I’m starting to notice a trend on this show: the ‘preppers’ who have low-impact, actually sustainable strategies focused on fresh foods (Chris Nyegres, the Harrisons, and these guys) are also the ones who don’t fixate on guns and ammo (or conversely, the guns-and-ammo preppers’ strategies are always focused on hoarding/stacking buckets of prepackaged, processed food up to the ceiling!). They’re also the ones I have a hard time labeling as ‘preppers’, because if something bad were to happen, I can easily picture these folks continuing to live pretty much like they do already.

For what it’s worth, this is another example of the show profiling people who aren’t just random preppers off the street. I mean, Jules Dervaes has his own page on Wikipedia.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stephanie Mayo Pehrson on 27 February, 2013 at 11:05

    I think what you are doing is great! I do have a suggestion. It would be a good idea to secure your glass bottles on your shelves in case for whatever reason the house is shaken-earthquake(don’t know where you are located yet), House can be shaken for other reasons as well, Even a flood will disturb stuff. I will start to be more prepared myself. God Bless, Stephanie.


    • Hi Stephanie,
      Please understand that while I’m not Jules Dervaes, I definitely appreciate your thoughtful and well-written comment. And you’re right, they definitely need to think about securing their pantry/larder–especially seeing how they live in California (earthquake central)! Thanks for reading!


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