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We kicked off “40 Days & 40 Nights of Re:Birth 2.0” with style on Thursday, April 5.  The temperature stayed in the 70s, a nice breeze blew gently, and the people came in droves.  The ECO-TradeShow gave many great NWA and statewide companies and organizations the opportunity to show off eco-friendly wares and raise support for their causes.

The ECO-TradeShow was held at East Square Plaza.  Outside the doors you could embrace your inner child thanks to Nick Jones of Lavish Longboards, who offered longboard rides to those brave enough (see more great pics of Mikel mastering the longboard on our Facebook page).

Thanks to Josh Hart of Natural State Treehouses for bringing out of his fine creations.  These treehouses are for the young and old.  Like many vendors in attendance, both of these companies use locally sourced items when possible.  Lavish Longboards uses recycled, local woods to craft their fantastic boards. Natural State Treehouses also uses local wood and keeps a keen eye on sustainability.

“All of the wood is native Arkansas wood with no harmful chemicals,” said Josh Hart, company designer. “We try to make sure that these are low-impact installations. Also, we think that encouraging people to be outside helps expose them to nature and living a sustainable lifestyle.”

Inside, we had a lot of great organizations: Mountain Air Beds, TriCycle Farm, Green Fork Farm, OMNI 350, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Northwest Arkansas Land and Trust, and Terra Tots.

Hari Newark of Newmarket Naturals displayed a variety of his water filters for individual and whole house use.  He wanted to spread the word about how your run-of-the-mill water filter just doesn’t cut it.  People need more thorough systems to rid their water of toxins.

For the gardening enthusiast, Tricycle Farms was on hand to spread the word about their shared sustainable gardens here in Fayetteville.  Almost all of their work is bio-intensive farming, meaning it is mostly human-powered. They are hoping to expand in the coming years to a 6,000 square foot facility off of Garland Avenue.  The garden would be open to anyone able to make a contribution, whatever the kind—nothing is too small.

“We share the work, the crop, the place,” said Don Bennett, of Tricycle Farms. “We want to connect the neighborhood, the church, the city, and the county to create an urban agriculture policy. We came out [to the ECO-TradeShow] to spread a message about sustainability. Part of having this farm is getting more people to understand what sustainable food is.”

For those looking to feed children who need their food a little less than whole, Fran B. Free and Terese Post of Oh Baby had free samples of some of their food for the old and young (The Oh Baby Basil is delicious!).  Terra Tots (which carries Oh Baby foods) was also in attendance, showcasing a variety of their organic baby products.

Northwest Arkansas Community College had their training trailer on hand. The school has done a lot to expand programs for LEED energy audits and other green jobs.

Car enthusiasts got to see some of slickest, greenest rides around the area. Keith Kaderly, manager of marketing/energy services for Ozarks Electric Cooperative, brought the organizations Chevy Volt, which is one of the hottest vehicles out today. The vehicle is an electric hybrid that uses domestic fuel sources and has a zero-emissions tailpipe.

Kaderly said, “The Eco-Tradeshow is a great venue to showcase environmentally responsible products and companies.  We had a great time educating people about electric vehicles and talking to other sustainably-minded individuals.  Great stuff!”

Also, Superior Nissan brought the new Nissan Leaf, a fully electric car. Sales Associate David Rathjen shared his knowledge of the car, which is incredible. The entirely electric car maintains its charge for around 100 miles, making it perfect for people who do most of their driving locally. Rathjen said that charging stations are beginning to pop up across the area and, within the next couple of years, should allow for people to drive longer distances in the state.

“Superior Nissan came out to show our commitment to green energy and zero emissions automobiles,” he said. “Nissan is going to be at the forefront of this. We came to show people the way of the future.”

As the ECO-TradeShow came to a close people made their way around the square, enjoying the revelry of First Thursday. Tiffany Christopher provided entertainment as people browsed the various artists’ booths and other vendor tables. Later, people packed out the Matt Miller Studio for a B:Earth Day party. We’ll have some pics and a blog on that fantastic event soon.