Improvise to Survive on Sportsman Channel’s “America Unplugged”

Tune in for back-to-back episodes featuring Mark Patrick and Arvo Thomson

Arvo Thomson, one of the featured guests in this week's "America Unplugged"
Arvo Thomson, one of the featured guests in this week's “America Unplugged”
Sportsman Channel
Sportsman Channel

New Berlin, Wis. –( In a special airing of back-to-back episodes of America Unplugged exclusively on Sportsman Channel, July 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, viewers join two men living off the grid – Mark Patrick and Arvo Thomson.. The first episode follows Patrick, who believes preparedness is the ultimate force against major disasters.  In the following episode, Thomson shares how he survives in extreme weather conditions on just $6,000 a year.  Both men must continuously improvise to survive almost, if not completely, off-grid.

What do pennies, cardboard, and vinegar have in common? Not much – unless you’re Mark Patrick. Living in a home deep in the woods of Saraland, AL, the collapse of the economy forced Patrick to re-examine how he uses what’s around him, so he improvised a way to make his own batteries with the materials he had available. His 13 acres of land provides ample space for livestock, vegetable gardens, and solar panels. Patrick’s home requires more work to maintain than an average household, but his environmental impact is less and he is able to separate from a system he believes is doomed to fail.

“If you want to live off-grid and you want to romanticize about it, just go flip the breaker. See what it’s like for a day, two days, two weeks,” said Patrick. “Where we live, hurricanes happen and it’s very common. The gas station’s not open, the grocery store’s not open. Whatever you have at that time is it.”

“Hope for the best — prepare for the worst.”  That’s the idea behind Arvo Thomson’s sustainable lifestyle in Tierra Amarilla, NM. Harsh New Mexico winters call for innovative ways to harness the sun to heat and power his home – what he refers to as “The Solar Ark,” a 2,000 sq. ft. building made out of mud and straw. Thomson finds ways to reuse and recycle everything, including water and energy. He also creates his own food sources, meaning he doesn’t have to rely on a store to provide his daily meals. Unplugged from the system, Thomson only needs $6,000 a year to survive.

“The biggest problem I see is overpopulation, there are too many of us. Right now we are growing at an absolutely unsustainable rate. There are too many people that use up too many resources that produce too many poisons. The thing is just, what can we do about it?” asks Thomson. “Life will always survive in one form or another, but life as we know it, we just might not be able to continue.”

America Unplugged airs exclusively on Sportsman Channel on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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About A. Smith & Co. Productions: A. Smith & Co. Productions creates some of the most innovative, highly rated and high-quality programming for the domestic and international television marketplace. The company has produced more than 2,000 hours of award-winning programming. Current productions include such hits as Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, American Ninja Warrior, Ellen’s Design Challenge, Unsung, Full Throttle Saloon, Burns BBQ, Celebrity Crime Files, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, Too Young to Marry?, Save Our Business, UFC Countdown, Joe Rogan Questions Everything, Divorce Hotel and many others. A. Smith & Co.’s library of programming includes hit shows such as Paradise Hotel, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, The Swan, Trading Spaces, Pros vs. Joes and Skating with Celebrities. A. Smith & Co. has developed and produced the No. 1 show in America 25 times and a Top 10 show more than 200 times, producing programs with budgets totaling approximately one billion dollars for more than 42 broadcast and cable networks.

About Sportsman Channel:Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel/Sportsman HD is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to honoring a lifestyle that is celebrated by millions of Americans. The leader in outdoor television, Sportsman Channel delivers entertaining and informative programming that embraces outdoor adventure, hunting and fishing, and reveals it through unique, surprising and authentic storytelling. Sportsman Channel embraces the attitude of “Red, Wild & Blue America” – where the American Spirit and Great Outdoors are celebrated in equal measure. The network also is dedicated to promoting our nation’s military heroes and veterans, as well as providing a voice for conservation throughout the United States. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 36 million U.S. television households.Stay connected to Sportsman Channel online at; Facebook, (; Twitter ( and and YouTube (


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