Putting Up Shoots Perspective from the Host
Perspective on the Aquaponics Association’s September, 2018 Conference in Hartford, CT
By Spencer Curry
I’ve been a member of the Aquaponics Association ever since the Denver conference in 2012 and have been to four conferences since then. Back in 2012, I only had a basic desktop setup going. In fact, I returned from the conference to find that my little desktop system had flooded while I was away, soaking my bed in fish water. That was just a small setback compared to the wealth of information and overwhelming feeling of community I found with the Aquaponics Association.
I still vividly remember workshops with Murray Hallam, Glenn Martinez, Rob Torcellini, and Max Meyers, and incredible conversations with more people than I could list here. At the time, I had only experienced aquaponics through a few YouTube videos, so I felt like I had entered a whole new world with a wealth of information to be explored.
My partners and I took our inspiration from the conference and have been hard at work ever since, culminating in the incredible honor of hosting the 2018 Putting Up Shoots conference in my home state of Connecticut. We grew from a small desktop setup to running a 3,500 sq. ft. indoor controlled environment aquaponics farm and building/servicing systems for dozens of clients around the state. However, with all of the hubbub behind hosting a conference, it didn’t hit me until the end of the first tour we gave during the 2018 conference just how far we have come as a company and as an industry since 2012. Being able to showcase our creation to all of the people who have influenced, advised, and mentored us for the past six years will remain among the proudest moments of my life.
It also became apparent that we are not alone, nor unique, within the industry. We had many conversations over the weekend that felt like talking with ourselves from 6 years in the past. This industry is attracting more and more brilliant, inspired, and action oriented minds to help make our food system as awesome as we all know it can be. This is so exciting to see because this industry needs more skilled people to make it flourish!
It is such an exciting time to be part of the aquaponics industry. To all the people thinking about getting started with aquaponics, my recommendation is this: go to the conference. Meet as many people as possible. Find those you resonate with and take action to get growing! All of us remember what it was like to be starting out, flooding bedrooms, basements and greenhouses. We love to share those stories, to help newcomers avoid the mistakes we made and see new generations of aquapioneers sprout!
To me, the value of the Aquaponics Association conference is all about these relationships. It is the people in the room during the conference that are changing the world with aquaponics. The people who will take it to the next level are in that room. You can meet them and even become one of them with enough persistence!
About the Author:
My name is Spencer Curry. I am the CEO and cofounder of Trifecta Ecosystems, and in my spare time I am a Senior Advisor to the Aquaponics Association and have served in many different roles over the years.