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National Self Reliance Expo has something for everyone

Portable water filtration by Berkey
Portable water filtration by Berkey
Photos by Michele Melio

The National Self Reliance Expo was held at the National Western Complex this weekend and had something to offer for everyone.

Sun Ovens booth
Photo by Michele Melio

The expo wasn’t just for survivalists like Ted Nugent, but for people with interests in renewable energy, non-GMO seeds, energy efficiency, emergency preparedness, supporting local businesses, and living locally off the land.

It’s no surprise there were booths featuring military weapons with large magazines to shoot many bullets (Is this needed to tenderize wild game prior to its consumption?). This was a much smaller than the Green Festival held a couple of years ago, but the expo attracted those who want to live locally whether they were gun toters or gardeners.

One of the highlights was the custom built sheep wagon which is much more energy efficient in comparison to a typical R.V. and can withstand high winds. Generally used for sheepherders where they are hauled to remote locations to guard sheep from wile coyotes. However, this wagon on display was more than a trailer but a cozy cabin on wheels. Hoss Port can customize a wagon as cozy as a cabin and can run off of solar or other renewable energy resources. These cozy wagons include a bed and windows with plenty of storage space. The interior has wood paneling, not veneer, benches with storage space beneath, a pull out table, rustic horseshoe hangers for lanterns, wood flooring (not linoleum), and a full size mattress. According to Port, they are light weight and can be towed by a Ford F-150, as they weigh as little as 1700 pounds. They start out at about $9,000 and are insulated with compressed Styrofoam, much like the structurally insulated panels use in energy efficient homes. These custom trailers can be used as a vacation cabin in the mountains, a trailer to take on a trip, or as a guest bedroom. These are made right here in Colorado!

This examiner spoke with Chris Sheridan with Duke’s Garage located in Westminster. They specialize in electric vehicles, like the two Porsche Speedsters they had on display at the expo. These vehicles can drive 100 miles on one charge. In comparison to the Tesla, starting at about $90K, the E.V. Speedsters sell for $55K. The garage will also convert your combustion engine powered vehicle into an EV at about $35K. While this may be a bit pricey for most, Sheridan believes the cost of the lithium ion battery technology will decrease in the future, making it more affordable for those of us with less cash on hand.

There were a number of booths selling non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds for heirloom gardens. Down to Earth Seeds was one of these companies. (There are, however, local seed producers that also provide organic heirloom seed varieties like Botanical Interests, Inc. located in Broomfield.)

Another booth provided heating and cooling information, along with a free green reusable shopping bag, which was Cooper Heating and Cooling. This company offers regular maintenance and repair on traditional HVAC units, but also installs solar thermal water heaters, computerized control systems to manage the heating and cooling of an entire home, and they also work with geothermal heat pumps.

The world famous Sun Ovens International had a booth and were selling their ovens with a $40 discount at the expo, which included the pot. The ovens are very efficient and save energy. They cook and bake a wide variety of dishes off the energy of the sun. They are also animal proof here in North America, as long as you bring in the oven at night. These ovens are being sold in many areas of Africa to women who rely primarily on charcoal or kerosene to cook their food, which saves these families money. Learn more about these ovens from a previous article by this examiner. Also check out the Elephant Energy article on energy alternatives in Africa.

Looking for a quiet generator that runs off the energy from the sun? Humless offered portable generators that can use renewable power, rather than filling up a traditional noisy generator with gasoline. The generators can be charged with AC or DC and power lights, a computer, and a television. There is no need for an inverter, which saves on the cost of the unit. It is light weight and takes up a third of the space of traditional generators for homes and RVs. It can also be taken camping or backpacking.

Another booth provided a breeze from an attic fan that keeps your home cool in the summer by pushing hot air out. Attic Fan claims that homeowners can cool their homes for as little as “25 cents a day”. It reduces the need for air conditioning or swamp coolers during the warmer months of the year.

There were a number of other booths featuring items like natural skin care products, renewable energy, survival food, books on self reliance, ready-made shelters, aquaponics (symbiotic system growing a vegetable garden and raising tilapia together) and emergency preparedness workshops and booths provided by the American Red Cross and Ready Colorado.

The expo provided an insight on being prepared for emergencies and methods to be self reliant and energy efficient. There was something for everyone looking for a sustainable future.

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