Anna Duhon and Paul Rix, homesteadersAnna Duhon and Paul Rix are in their fourth growing season at their homestead in New Lebanon. They moved to the property in 2013 after falling in love with the land at first sight. Anna and Paul have six goats, fifteen chickens (give or take), vegetables, fruit trees, and berry bushes. They are growing everything for their own use rather than commercially. “It’s been really fun and also really challenging,” Paul said, “because we’re often fitting things in at the bookends of the day—before we work and after we’ve been gone all day. Homesteading is equal parts more challenging and more rewarding than people expect.”

Paul grew up in Minnesota but fell in love with Columbia County. “Being in such a rich part of the country for farming, there’s so much wonderful energy around the local food systems,” he said. Paul studied English Linguistics at Arizona State and has a graduate degree in Education from National University. He is an educator both at Hawthorne Valley doing kids programming and farm-based education and at the Darrow School where he teaches woodworking and environmental science.

Anna grew up in Great Barrington, and has always felt at home in the Berkshire landscape. She has a degree in Cultural Anthropology from Harvard and studied Natural Resources and Sustainable Development in graduate school at the University for Peace. Anna works as a social scientist with the Farmscape Ecology Program at Hawthorne Valley. She does research and outreach around the agricultural landscape of the county, which has introduced her to many farmers in the area.

Anna and Paul enjoy the many opportunities to learn and try new things that homesteading affords. They like to share skills and knowledge that visitors can incorporate into their own lives, and their workshops are very much a sharing process that is accessible to everyone.