Murray Hallam Set to Partner With Ingenuity Innovation Center

Murray Hallam Set to Partner With Ingenuity Innovation Center

Attendees of the Murray Hallam Aquaponic Workshop Retreat gather after the first day of classes to celebrate over dinner at Ingenuity Innovation Center.

Legendary Aquaponic Pioneer, Murray Hallam, left a huge impression on the aquaponic community during a three-day event at Ingenuity Innovation Center.  Enthusiasts from around  the Pacific NW traveled to the facility to participate in a rare opportunity to learn with Hallam.  The retreat started with an organic dinner where Hallam shared his  background and  message.  Nearly 60 people were in attendance.

“We know changes are happening.  Hallam stated. In Australia, the Chinese are buying many of our farms.  I am certain that we are on the verge of an impending food crisis and it is up to us to learn what we can do to prepare ourselves.  My message is quite simple.  We must have food purity, security and sovereignty.”

Throughout the evening, Hallam shared his perspective on the importance of knowing where your food comes from and how it has been raised (purity and security).  However, his discussion turned directly towards the audience when he asked them to consider who actually owns the food supply.

Hallam also touched on the growing concerns around climate change by sharing his own personal experiences of running out of water and food in Australia.  These events, with this daughter’s tragic cancer diagnoses, shaped and influenced his message of the importance in finding ways to become more self sufficient while cultivating health. For Hallam, aquaponics serves as one of the best ways to do this and build community.

“I am convinced that our future looks similar to what Ingenuity Innovation Center is creating.   Small family and community based farms are changing the way we think about food and our food system.  I do see advancements in larger commercial aquaponic operations, but I believe it comes down to people like Kate and Aaron, stepping forward to grow and educate others on how to do the same for themselves.”

The evening concluded with a powerful Q and A session, leaving many people wanting more.

“I am so frustrated that I cannot attend the rest of the event now that I had a chance to hear Murray’s message.  I didn’t know what aquaponics was until I came here, but now all I know is that I want to do this,” stated one of the attendees.

The next two days were dedicated to hosting an introductory, intermediate and advanced workshop sessions.  With close to 30 participants present for the first two workshops, the best attendance was the last day for the 8 hour advanced workshop intensive.

In order to capture the rich amount of content, motivated videographers from Portland Community Media worked in collaboration with Ingenuity Innovation Center. Bring out equipment, film students and professionals so they could get hands on experience working with a Multi Camera Unit (MCU) that had the capability to capture and edit content instantly.  Norman Countryman, Producer, led the project.

“I saw this as a perfect opportunity where we could help people learn about aquaponics from one of the most well known people in the industry and provide a chance for our students and film community to learn how to use this piece of equipment.  After talking with a few people, we soon had the green light to move forward.”

A total of 10 videographers came out to participate in capturing the event.  In exchange for having access to the equipment for the event, a one hour program from the three day weekend will air on Comcast Cable channel 22, 23 and 11 in the near future.

Murray Hallam shows workshop attendees how to make their own wicking beds at Ingenuity Innovation Center.

In addition, to the one hour program, footage shot from the event will also be made into a series of online videos and e-learning modules that both Hallam and Ingenuity Innovation Center will be making available.

“Meeting Murray has been one of the best experiences of my life,” stated Kate Wildrick.  “He was the one who inspired us to build our aquaponic system.  When Aaron and I picked him up at the airport, we knew we were in store for something very special.”

Hallam’s meeting with the Ingenuers excited him.  Beyond aquaponics, he was able to spend time with the founders and learn about their mission, vision and values for doing a community supported innovation center that focuses on sustainable solutions. Aaron Imhof’s passion around new energy solutions sparked Hallam’s curiosity.  Both began to explore how to take what thay had learned to implement off-grid solutions for remote areas. This would allow people to have aquaponics in many regions.  Hallam was also intrigued with Wildrick’s background in developing new business ideas and engaging people to participate in creating solutions.

“The whole experience at Ingenuity Innovation Center was just spectacular,” recalled Hallam.  “The whole team was very professional and helped make the event successful.  Beyond that, they have me thinking about what legacy I want to leave behind.  After all, I won’t be able to travel and teach forever.  So we need places like Ingenuity to help others.”

Lengthy conversations soon began to develop during and after the event about how Hallam and Ingenuity Innovation Center could help.  What emerged was a decision for the two groups to develop Ingenuity Innovation Center as the first U.S. training center that will teach and certify others using Hallam’s curriculum.

“During one of the classes, Murray shared that he had been working with the Australian government to develop standards around aquaponics,” stated Wildrick.  “I immediately perked up, because I saw the need for something similar here.  While working with others, we recognize the lack of education and the disconnection there is around aquaponics and it is up to us to help inform others using sound practices and reliable information.  After Murray spoke, I told him we need to talk because I see a way that we could create a helpful working model using what each of us have developed to empower others with the tools, practice and knowledge so we can begin to close the gap.  After hearing what I had to say, he agreed and we began to look at what infrastructure each of us could contribute to move things forward.”

Murray Hallam teaches attendees how aquaponic systems work at the Ingenuity Innovation Center.

“It seemed fitting that we looked at the INDY 23 Aquaponic Plan design I have created as a teaching model that we can look to certify others with,” stated Hallam.  “This plan has all of the major components that I see necessary to be a part of an aquaponic system and occupies 23 square meters of space.  It is enough to feed a family of four and has a parts list that anyone can find regardless of where you live in the world.”

Hallam and Ingenuity Innovation Center are anticipating their next event in July 2015 where together they will offer a class on how to build an INDY 23 plan.  This center will then serve as a facility where people can come and learn how to do aquaponics using the foundational knowledge Hallam has developed as well as the techniques Ingenuity’s community has invented.

“We are so excited to do this,” stated Imhof.  “It makes perfect sense to partner, as we have already been teaching others the skills and techniques we have learned from Murray.”

“None of this would have been possible without the help and support of our community,” stated Wildrick.  “The greenhouse was built with many helping hands and people who believed in our vision.  We want to express our tremendous gratitude to Norm and the film crew that came to our event. A heartfelt gratitude to our volunteers (and closest supporters) who include Dr. Dan, Peter Croce, DJ Doherty, Kenny Decauwer, Daniel Vanderkin, Stan Joseph, Laurie Oliver, Sundee Hudson and Ariel Howe.  We really could not have pulled this off without everyone of you.  Thank you so much for being in our lives!”

Stay tuned for more information about this training center, our building event in July and our online curriculum.  In the interim, check out our online store to see what new Murray Hallam products we are selling.