A literacy incubator in the form of a farm...


The Academy of Impossible

Demand the impossible

About Us

The Academy of the Impossible is a peer to peer lifelong learning facility, founded in 2011 by Jesse Hirsh and Emily Pohl-Weary. The Academy is currently based in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada, and is led by Dr. Jeanette Herrle, a free-range intellectual and nomadic teacher, currently focused on agro-ecology, public health, community building, and the cross-pollination of ideas.

At its core, the Academy of the Impossible is an incubator for literacy. Technological literacy. Media literacy. Agricultural literacy. Environmental literacy. Physical literacy. Critical literacy. Structural literacy. Political economic literacy. We create programs, projects, media, events, and opportunities for learning.


Expand your knowledge of agriculture while examining the fundamentals of media production, or hacking. Learn something new while teaching peers about your skills and interests.


Open your mind to the impossible, and let your inspiration flow. Critical thinking and collaborative cognition are essential.


Knowledge increases in value the more it is shared. Explore the power of shared human creativity.

Current Programs

Our programs focus on cultivating emerging literacies from diverse sources. If all the world's knowledge is merely a "click away" what should we do with it? We want to model and explore the future of education as each one teach one. A peer to peer process of creating and mobilizing knowledge.
Jeanette with two birds

Open Source Agriculture

Our current primary program and focus is on open source agriculture. This combines an agro-ecological approaches with open source technology and robotics.

We recognize that the combination of technology and a focus on agro-ecosystems offers the potential to both address major faults in our current food system and make agriculture more accessible and successful.

The Academy of the Impossible moved from Toronto to the rural Ottawa Valley in order to make this program possible. We're still in the early stages, but are currently sharing some of our results via live streams, and plan to offer pandemic appropriate events and programs in 2021.

Please also explore our partner, Ottawa Valley Smart Farms, that provides agricultural technology, services, and consulting to farmers and rural properties.

Edutainment Agency

Participatory Media and Edutainment

We believe that the future of education is interactive and part of a "flipped classroom" in which learning happens on demand and driven by the needs and interests of the student.

As part of this vision, we produce participatory media and edutainment that seeks to share and mobilize the knowledge that we think is valuable and important.

Meet the Animal Faculty

In its new rural (and virtual) campus, the Academy has expanded its focus on networks and community to include human-animal-plant relations. Interspecies peer to peer learning courtesy of an animal associate faculty means that we can approach topics like health or agro-ecology from a broader perspective.

Live from the Academy of the Impossible

You can get to know the faculty and observe that learning process live on Twitch. The Academy of the Impossible channel features a continuous feed of the inside of the barn and pastures. Evening chores are regularly broadcast at 7:30pm: Tuesdays on the Herrleklären channel it’s The whys and hows. On Thursdays, the action happens on the Murlatron channel. Friday and Saturday nights it’s The Academy of the Impossible Show on the Metaviews channel.

Faculty chats

Our animal faculty are always observable on the Academy’s Twitch channel, but they are keen to mentor directly too! Each of them (individually or in small groupings) is available to appear in your online meeting or event, alongside a human colleague. Ask them anything! For further details and pricing, contact us.

Impossible Salons and Workshops

Currently on hold due to the pandemic with outdoor events planned for 2021. Join us for an afternoon or evening to enjoy thought provoking discussion and refreshments. Every salon produces an intriguing and curious conversation that builds collective knowledge, curiousity, and friendship. Previous discussion topics have included micro-farms, social media, artificial intelligence, robots, public policy innovation, and government automation.

Past Programs

See some of the events we've hosted in the past to get a sense of our unique learning experiences that push the boundaries of education.

Hacking Reality: Tactical Technology and Social Media

Coordinated by Jesse Hirsh

Tactical technology, social media, and entrepreneurialism programs will be offered in conjunction with the ongoing efforts of the Metaviews think tank. Associates and experts will join the group to lead workshops on specialized topics, including YouTube Engagement, Role Playing Games, Investigative Journalism, Improvisational Theatre, and Multimedia Production.

Toronto Street Writers: A Free Writing Group

Coordinated by Emily Pohl-Weary

Founded in 2008, the program caters to a diverse group of 16-to-29-year-old poets, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, artists, and playwrights who work with established writers from the community to learn about writing, generate careers in the arts, and use writing as therapy to overcome complex life challenges.

Participants learn self-expression, literacy skills, and develop strategies for their careers. Perhaps most importantly, they become part of a community that will help them overcome their personal challenges and a space that they can consider safe no matter who they are.

Sound Poets' Circle

Facilitated by Rosina Kazi and Nic Murr, Mindbender Supreme and The Grimace

Sound Poets' Circle is a free hip-hop and spoken word workshop series for youth ages 16-29 on Monday evenings. This workshop focuses on creating and recording sound and music, writing hip hop lyrics and spoken-word poetry.

It's a "use what you got to get what you want" program to inspire group participation, creativity and resistance through art. Participants work with established and emerging facilitators and artists. Space is limited. To join, must register: soundpoetscircle@impossiblearts.ca

Impossible Hockey

An intergenerational family friendly hockey experience to help foster skills, camaraderie, and fitness. Open to aspiring hockey players of all ages, skill, and fitness levels. Our sessions generally involve warm-ups, scrimmages, skill contests, and friendly exercises to help improve one’s ability to play hockey.

We’re currently meeting semi-regularly throughout the year, renting ice time, and slowly but steadily building our hockey program in the spirit of our peer to peer lifelong learning network.

What's the word?

Hear what people have to say about our work: