One of the perennial summer gems in Wisconsin is the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Energy Fair. It happens every June, and brings together people from across the country who are interested in renewable energy, homesteading, and just generally living a lower-carbon-footprint life. I like to think of it as an off-grid Disneyland for the sustainably-minded. This year the MREA Energy Fair will take place June 19-21 in Custer, Wisconsin. Here are the top 5 reasons you might enjoy going yourself.

  1. You get to be surrounded by forward-thinking, like-minded people. If you’re the only one in your neighborhood with chickens or a wind turbine in your backyard, or the only person in your social group who understands what “passive solar” means, it can be invigorating to be surrounded by thousands of other people who value the same things that you do. Lots of fun conversation happens when you’re waiting in line for breakfast or mingling after a workshop.

    A group of Organic Valley employees have fun in front of our bio-diesel-powered bus at the Energy Fair.

    A group of Organic Valley employees have fun in front of our bio-diesel-powered bus at the Energy Fair.

  2. Learning (and inspiration) opportunities galore! The workshop grid for the Energy Fair is truly impressive. In years past I’ve learned about biodiesel, how to make non-toxic paint, and grant programs for renewable energy projects… all in an afternoon.

    Organic Valley Farmer-Owner Rick Adamski discusses the challenges and benefits of installing a wind turbine on his farm during a workshop session.

    Organic Valley Farmer-Owner Rick Adamski discusses the challenges and benefits of installing a wind turbine on his farm during a workshop session.

  3. Yummy food you can feel good about eating. Summer fairs can be a difficult place for people who prefer to eat locally and sustainably-sourced organic food out of recyclable/reusable/compostable containers. At the Energy Fair, you have lots of delicious options that don’t compromise your values. One of my favorites is the all-organic breakfast Organic Valley sponsors every year. For a $5 suggested donation, you get all the sausage, eggs, fruit, coffee and other delicious treats you can eat to start your Energy Fair mornings off right.

    OV Breakfast at MREA & Energy Fair Breakfast

    OV Breakfast at MREA & Energy Fair Breakfast

  4. A delight for your senses. Beyond the workshops, there’s an impressive array of music, visual arts and demonstrations to enjoy as you wander the fairgrounds. Many attendees choose to camp in an adjacent pine forest, which offers its own special sensory experience.

    The Beehive Design Collective displays one of its amazing hand-drawn murals at the Energy Fair.

    The Beehive Design Collective displays one of its amazing hand-drawn murals at the Energy Fair.

  5. Support an important cause. While the Energy Fair is one of MREA’s key initiatives, they also develop and support a variety of other educational and training programs throughout the year to help educate the public about appropriate use of natural resources to meet our energy needs. By becoming a member, you not only support this mission, but get free tickets to the Energy Fair! Learn more about becoming a member.

Organic Valley is committed to environmental and organic education for all and is proud to support the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Energy Fair.