Greetings from the Windy River Energy Fair up in Little Falls. The fair continues today and tomorrow, with displays and workshops all day long. This is the fifth year, and for the last couple has been held in conjunction with the Morrison County Fair here in Little Falls (FYI, there’s wireless everywhere in Little Falls!). Just two months ago, they had groudbreaking for their wind turbine at the fair grounds, and now it’s up and running.


This year, Kristen Blann, of the Sustainable Farming Association, did much of the organizing, her first year coordinating all the displays and workshops under the Windy River tent on the eastern edge of the county fair. A wind turbine has been set up on the site that looks pretty permanent. Here?s Kristen talking with Jim Etzel, of Hackensack, who runs Earth Is Our Home, focused on composting and recycling. Other exhibitors include the Clean Energy Resource Teams, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Power (gulp!), and more.

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Below are Chuck Knierim and Greg Nolan, we?re chatting over a BIG bucket of blueberries and Marcia’s blueberry muffins. In the background is Chuck?s Wildrose Farm display. He and his wife Karen, from Breezy Point, make and sell the Wildrose Farm organic cotton creations, all either in natural colors or hand dyed with non-toxic low-impact dyes and/or printed with water-based inks.

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Greg Nolan is sustainable through and through, in energy and agriculture. He and his wife, Marcia Rapatz, run Snowy Pines Reforestation, in Browerville. He was telling his story of getting his solar system hooked up to the grid, which was not as bad as some I’ve heard. The local rural utility was clueless, but had the good sense to refer him to Great River Energy, and the engineer he dealt with paved the way. The major delay was in getting the meters the utility wanted, and the cost was pretty high — $600! He?s producing almost as much electricity as he uses on his farm and hardwood business, which requires some power. He?s the guilty party who invited Tom Dunnwald and I to present on ?Lobbyists ?R? Us years ago, I think I’d staffed the MREA booth before that, and since then, I’ve tried to get up there every year.

Head on up to Little Falls for the Windy River Renewable Energy and Sustainable Agriculture Fair, tomorrow should be a beautiful day!


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