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Permaculture at the 2014 MREA Energy Fair

Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s (MREA) annual energy fair in Custer, WI celebrated it’s 25th year of exposing the public to alternative energy technologies. This three day event includes demonstrations, educational workshops, vendors, and copious networking opportunities.

MREA puts on the AEFParticipants were able to browse through numerous displays, as well as enjoy a farmers market and local beer tent.

midwest renewable energy association food courtPermaculture has become more and more prevalent at the energy fair over the years. Workshops on various topics related to permaculture included butchering and charcuterie, permaculture and edge, urban permaculture, composting, aquaponics, seed saving, kombucha, as well as various natural or low-energy building methods.

bio-fuel tractorBio-diesel tractor demonstration.

MREA participant origins mapPeople come from all over the globe, though most come from the Midwest.


Midwest Permaculture at the AEFMidwest Permaculture’s display with Becky Wilson.

Annual Energy Fair DisplayKristine Beck answering a visitor’s question to the Kinstone Academy booth.

1-GLPP (4)The year a special extended workshop in permaculture was available from Midwest Permaculture. Three, three hour long sessions covered the reasons to practice permaculture, it’s ethics and principles, and some basic design concepts.

Bill Wilson teaching edge effectHere, Bill Wilson speaks to students in Midwest Permaculture’s extend workshop about the edge between the MREA site and the horse farm next door. In this wild space between the two properties he identified basswood, cherry, boxelder, raspberries, serviceberries, wild grapes, a rocky home for pest predators and signs of water runoff that could be a potential resource.

It’s fascinating to see how the fair has broadened its vision over the years to recognize more aspects of energy usage, including the food system, built environment, and technology, which explains the rise in prominence of permaculture at the event.  Next year the energy fair with be held June 19th-21st.

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