This weekend Judy and I were CobraHead Exhibitors at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s 20th annual energy fair in Custer, Wisconsin. It is the largest show of this type in the U.S. This was our third year at the show. We sell lots of garden tools. In fact it is a way better show for sales than almost any garden or flower show we do.

The reason is the audience. MREA attracts people with interest in sustainable energy. They have a very high awareness of what is really “green”. Thus there are lots of gardeners and small farmers. Overall, the people are way hipper than the average show crowd when it comes to environmental issues and a knowledge of food and gardening.

All aspects of renewable energy and sustainability are represented in vendor exhibits, workshops, and talks and keynote addresses. The three day show also has some excellent food vendors including the Wisconsin staple – beer – by a great and “green” local brewery, Central Waters Brewing Company, and good entertainment. Saturday night we saw Michelle Shocked and I immediately became a fan.

Here’s Judy trying to make a sale.

Solar is cool! Pictured are a vendor of panels, a huge solar cooker designed for villages where there is no firewood, and a solar powered water heater.

Wind power for home, farm, commercial, and community was represented.

This experimental house features locally produced inputs and is super energy efficient.

The big boys like Toyota attend the show and don’t pass up an opportunity to show off their energy efficient vehicles.

But the home enthusiast modified Mercedes that runs on vegetable oil is in many ways more interesting.

My favorite vehicle – an Allis-Chalmers “G” tractor modified to be solar powered. No gas fumes in this farmer’s organic veggies.

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