Dennis Carter and Anneli Sundqvist have operated Deer Isle Hostel for four years now. Last year more than 200 people came through its doors. They’ve been named by Mother Earth News as one of six Homesteaders of the Year.“He has the farming background and I have the hostel background. Up until four or five years ago I had never done any work in a garden,” Anneli said. The garden Anneli works in supports not just her and her husband’s life, but their business too. “I couldn’t see us having a job where we would make the kind of money it would take to eat this well, and live in such abundance if we had to supply it from a conventional source.” The garden provides enough food to serve at the hostel. They have a solid granite root cellar where they store food all winter long. They say more people are looking into their way of life. “This kind of lifestyle of self-sufficiency and independence and organic, local, the low impact, it’s growing rapidly and we see that in the way people take interest in what we’re doing,” Anneli explained. Self-sufficiency is taken to a whole new level at Deer Isle Hostel with solar panels and a compost toilet. “When the hostel is operating Dennis and Anneli pump 80 gallons of water a day, that’s just for things like the bathroom, washing dishes, and to feed their animals. If they want to do laundry it’s an additional 80 gallons for that as well. They use some of that water for a special compost-heated shower. The water can get as hot as 190 degrees. The couple says if they didn’t live like they do, they wouldn’t live as well. “So we never tried to estimate the value of the food we grow, or the building materials we produce, or what it would cost to heat our house, and provide the electricity if we did not do it all ourselves, but it’s a paradox that we could not support our own lifestyle if we did not do it all ourselves,” Anneli said.