Mesa's Self-Reliance Expo offers family fun, educational activities - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa's Self-Reliance Expo offers family fun, educational activities

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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2:52 pm | Updated: 5:09 pm, Thu Oct 25, 2012.

The list of workshop topics and vendors for this weekend’s Self-Reliance Expo reads like a walking encyclopedia of preparedness and resourcefulness, everything from alternative energy to self-defense, sprouting and water purification.

“The show provides a fun learning environment for the entire family — with great ideas, samples and savings on products,” said Ron Douglas, show promoter and National Self-Reliance Expo president.

He added that while the Self-Reliance Expo does include information about food storage and emergency preparedness, “It’s a whole lot more. We called the show a Self-Reliance Expo because we wanted to convey its all-encompassing aspect of providing help for becoming self-reliant in gardening, in jobs, in education, health care and finances.”

The two-day event includes vendor displays, workshops and hands-on activities in a broad range of topics.

“It’s really promoting a lifestyle and a way to help families become more independent,” said Douglas.

Categories for products and information include alternative energy, cooking and heating, emergency kits and supplies, food storage, essential oils, gardening, seeds and sprouting.

Presented at the show will be home-schooling resources, homeopathic and natural health solutions, and ideas for homesteading, shelters and solar power. Attendees also will have an opportunity to learn about precious metals, security and firearms and blades.

Douglas said among the most popular workshops and activities for all ages are the cheese-making and soap-making demonstrations, the shelter tour, as well as the marksmanship course. This activity features an inside course and shooting range where children and adults can learn about firearm safety and the basics of marksmanship.

While most of the classes are covered in the $10 entrance fee, a few require pre-registration and an additional charge for materials. For example, those who attend the suturing class will use pigs’ feet to practice at the expo and will leave with a suturing kit they can use for future emergencies. From the herb class, attendees will learn how to make tinctures and will take home needed materials.

Douglas said the Self-Reliance Expo team is particularly pleased to have Robert A. Wiedemer as keynote speaker. Wiedemer, president of Aftershock Publishing, co-wrote “America’s Bubble Economy,” the landmark book published in 2006 by John Wiley, that predicted the current downturn in the economy.

Wiedemer’s follow-up book, “Aftershock,” was published by John Wiley in November 2009, and was chosen by Smart Money magazine as one of the five best investment books of 2009. The second edition of “Aftershock” was published in August 2011 and became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller. Both editions have sold over 600,000 copies.

“Everything he said would happen, has happened. He has been dead on with his predictions and recommendations,” Douglas said.

Both “Aftershock” and “America’s Bubble Economy” have been the subject of articles in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Hedge Fund Journal and many others. Wiedemer speaks to groups of analysts and economists including the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable and the World Bank and is a frequent commentator on TV including CNBC and Fox Business News.

Another well-known speaker will be Lisa Bedford. Known as “The Survival Mom,” Bedford is a preparedness-minded blogger, trainer and writer. Her articles and blogs about family preparedness and suburban survival encourage others to adopt a calm and common-sense approach to an uncertain future. She is the author of “Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios,” published by Harper Collins in March 2012. Bedford has been featured in Newsweek, The Today Show, the Glenn Beck show and numerous print, Internet and radio interviews around the world.

Other speakers at the Expo will include Adam Francis, an expert in wilderness and urban survival, bushcraft, wilderness living skills and emergency survival preparedness; Dr. David Christopher, a master herbalist and director of The School of Natural Healing; and Mark Price, owner of Noah’s Pantry and instructor in the fields of nutrition, food safety and food production.

Also presenting will be Derek Williams of Amendment II American Armor, a company dedicated to better personal protection for law enforcement, military and law-abiding citizens; Ralph Anderson, a guru of alternative energy who is committed to helping others become “energy independent”; and Peggy Layton, popular author and lecturer, who, with her husband, Scott, has completely eliminated personal debt and maintains several years’ worth of bulk food supplies and has a fully stocked bomb shelter. The Laytons provide for their family of seven children and prepare for emergencies by, among other things, growing a big garden, maintaining a year-round “Growing Dome” and raising chickens.

The Self-Reliance Expo is Friday, Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St.

Tickets for ages 13 and older are $10, which covers both days. Children 12 and younger are free. To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit

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