The Benefits of Homesteading
There’s something really deep and empowering about learning to live a self-sufficient life. It frees us to connect with creation, to be better citizens of the world and to have more freedom to pursue our passions.
EASTON — Do you want to be more self-sufficient on your own land, but you’re not sure where to start? Are you already homesteading and want to add to your skills? The Southern Adirondack Homesteading Festival, May 19 to 21 at the Washington County Fairgrounds, will offer classes and hands-on workshops to new and experienced homesteaders from a variety of presenters.
The weekend will start Friday with self-guided tours of participating local homesteads and businesses and a foraging walk at the fairgrounds. Saturday and Sunday will have keynote speakers, classes and hands-on workshops, and a vendor fair. A chicken barbecue Saturday evening will benefit a local Scout troop.
Fair co-manager Rebecca Breese credited Greenwich homesteader Brian Wells with bringing the idea to the fair management.
“It’s all his brainchild,” Breese said. The annual fair focuses on agriculture and agricultural education in Washington County. While historically the fair has featured the county’s commercial farms, “there are many different segments of the agricultural community,” Breese said. “Interest in homesteading has grown since the pandemic. The fair’s mission is agricultural education—what better than a full weekend of homesteading?”
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A few presenters are from outside the area, but most live and work within a few miles of the fairgrounds. “We have such amazing talent here locally,” Breese said. “It’s a testament to what an amazing place Washington County is.”
Wells will start Saturday with a keynote speech on “What Is Homesteading and Why Does It Matter?” Pork Rhyne, known as the “Pork Evangelist,” will wrap up Sunday afternoon with the concluding keynote speech, “What Do You Want From Your Homestead?”
Attendees can choose on both days from classes on either a beginner or advanced track. Topics include raising mushrooms, grains, bees, poultry, rabbits, and hogs; small-scale fiber production, gardening basics, composting with worms, farmhouse cider, pruning, maple production, seed saving, entrepreneurship, and food preservation. Hands-on workshops will cover soap-making, poultry processing, butter and buttermilk, foraging, soft cheeses, and canning basics.
In addition to Wells and Rhyne, presenters will include Rodrigo Solar from farmhouse cidery Melo Moon, crops and soils educator Aaron Gabriel from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Dr. David Peck, director of Research and Education at Betterbee, forager Rich Giordano, Wild Hill Maple, Dough Haven Farm LLC, gardener Deb Bailey, JoAnne Steele, and baker Ida Williams. Check the schedule for the full list.
“Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, there’s something for everyone,” Breese said.
Admission for the weekend is $75 per adult, which includes lectures, keynote speeches, and the vendor fair. Children 13 and under enter free. Hands-on workshops have an extra fee of $10 each. The Saturday chicken barbecue is $15. Camping with water and electricity hookups is available on the fairgrounds for $40 per night. Restrooms and showers are available.
For more information and to order tickets, visit https://www.washingtoncountyfairgrounds.com/copy-of-fairground-events.