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The Big One

Easily one of the most recognizable entries to grace One Spark, The Big One (Entry #837) features multiple large-scale structures throughout the Creator Zone. Artist Susan Natale created “Sparky,” a 20-foot tall air puppet at the corner of Laura & Monroe streets. Brett Waller’s wire car, “Spirit of ’76,” rests in front of the Times-Union Center. Sharla Valeski structure “Ego” in the main lobby of the Times-Union Center and “Sgt. Quakers,” the giant yellow duckie in the pool at Hemming Plaza by Jenny Hager’s UNF Enliven Spaces class are also included as is “How Davy Crockett Conquered Cowford” in Hemming Plaza by Drew Hunter of Sally Corp.   More


Apod Project

Jonathon Fletcher and Paul Nicholson have created a sustainable agriculture food production system called the Apod Project.

The Apod is a repurposed shipping container that stores a system to produce healthy non-genetically modified organic foods using aquaponics, Fletcher said. Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, recirculating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients.

“We think of this invention as the future of food. This is George Jetson and how they would be growing food,” Fletcher said.

The system can be a standalone unit that can operate in a field, a parking lot, the side of a mountain or wherever you need it, he said.

The system overproduces the amount of power it needs to run using solar energy. The food is produced through aquaponics, and the only input into the system is through the fish. The fish are fed and their waste is processed into nutrients for the plants, Fletcher said.

It’s a continuous, self-regulating system with its own natural ecosystem.

The Apod Project is displayed inside of a durable shipping container on the Northbank Riverwalk directly in front of the Hyatt hotel. It contains catfish, goldfish, koi, algae eaters and an array of plants inside the shipping container.

It is ideally set up to have edible fish — anything that resides in fresh water, Fletcher said.

The Apod does not damage the environment. The product features technology that can make plants grow faster without altering the plants themselves, he said.

The starting cost to purchase one would initially be $40,000 and it will feature a three kilowatt system, wind turbine and battery bank, Fletcher said. This product can produce up to $15k a year and after two-three years the initial investment will be earned back.

A unique feature of this system is that it can operate with no petroleum, unlike everything in conventional …   More



Kevin Varnadoe was tired of hauling his kayak seven blocks to the ocean.

Varnadoe said after he bought his kayak, he looked around for something to haul it in and was disappointed in everything he found. So, he created W.E.T., which stands for Waterman Equipment Trailer. 

“You heard ‘necessity is the mother of invention’? Well, this is it,” he said.

W.E.T. is extremely lightweight and easy to haul. The trailer attaches to a bike.

Varnadoe said every time he takes his W.E.T. out, there are at least three or four people who are interested in purchasing one.

With a capacity of 200 pounds, the W.E.T. has an adjustable top rack that can carry two kayaks or multiple surf and paddleboards at one time, he said. 

There are stores that are interested in purchasing them, Varnadoe said. They could easily be sold for $350 to $399 in stores.

He said One Spark is a good way to meet people and possibly come up with production ideas.

“We are looking for funding to build a factory and build these right here in Jacksonville and put some people to work and get this on the market.”



Jenni Reid

Jenni Reid has entered One Spark to pursue her dream of touring the country playing the music she loves. She taught herself how to play guitar at the age of 17.

“The great thing about my music is that it is has been able to reach people all over the country,” Reid said.

She said she has been asked to perform across the country, but she just needs the funding to get there.

She has offers to go to Colorado, Texas, Tennessee and New Jersey.

Working at Tijuana Flats doesn’t provide the money she needs to tour, Reid said.

My music definitely changes genres by song, she said.

“If Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Michelle Branch all had a child by some miracle, it would be me.”



Burro Bags ImPACKt Line

For the past six years, Jacksonville’s Burro Bags has created messenger bags from billboards but has recently gotten into the cycling industry.

Burro Bags ImPACKt line is made from promotional material, said Meghan Johnson. Every component of the ImPACKt line products, such as the straps and thread, are U.S.-sourced materials.

“We needed something more durable, so we strayed away from billboard and made everything out of a high-grade canvas material called Cordura,” Johnson said.

The ImPACKt project is recycling promotional material, such as banners, signs and tent-toppers, Johnson said.

Most companies throw these products away at the end of their promotions, so Burro Bags take the materials and turns them into something useful like totes, accessories, tablet cases and backpacks, she said.

The ImPACKt Project has worked with The Cummer Museum, MOCA, JEA and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.

Johnson said companies can take promotional materials from their events and give their employees the recycled Burro Bags products. Or if a company wants to make something out of promotional material and doesn’t have its own, Burro Bags has a large stockpile of promotional banners and other materials that companies like Vans and Volcom have dropped off.



Local Artist is Named Third Vote Getter in Arts

Local artist Shaun Thurston would like to see “20 Murals in a Year” as per his One Spark entry of the same name. Entry #767 is described on the festival’s website as, “Jacksonville needs more public art and my contribution towards fulfilling that need is mural work. Painting a mural can be an expensive process and most of the time, I cannot take on large projects unless the materials and labor are funded by a client or sponsor. This is where One Spark comes in.”

Lucky for Jacksonvillians, One Spark supporters and Thurston, his entry #767, “20 Murals in a Year,” was named number three “vote getters in art” for total seed money of $4,010.39 (according to One Spark’s tumblr page):

Congrats to Thurston and his team. We look forward to seeing more public art gracing the buildings of downtown Jacksonville.



The Most Votes at One Spark

These are the projects that received the most votes at One Spark.


Fathom Sphere: $2,509.43

Boneshaker: $2,495.36

The 5 & Dime: $2,326.50



The Wall: $3,466.29

Kona School: $3,137.96

The Riverwalk Project: $2,448.45



123-Fresh: $2,945.65

1 Food Park Project: $3,189.55

Tiger Trail: $4,183.94



Rethreaded: $6,768.42

Beyond the Façade: $4,202.71

20 Murals in a Year: $4,010.39


The Kona School project also received the most individual contributions at $2,320.



Summing Up One Spark

It’s been a week since One Spark began, and just a few days since it concluded. Touted as “the world’s first crowdfunding festival,” a lot of hard work and high hopes went into the five-day event. Media outlets all over Northeast Florida covered the festival, and Folio Weekly was no exception.

I covered 10 out of the dozen speakers flown in from all over the world for the One Spark Speaker Series. I learned the importance of being a generalist rather than a specialist from Leslie Jensen-Inman. I was schooled by Jessica Sherok on how “Facebook Isn’t Your Friend” (I immediately changed all of my privacy settings). Martin Atkins shed light on just how difficult traversing the music business is — he also threw blueberry muffins into the crowd and used the f-bomb at least a hundred times.

When I wasn’t at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts’ Terry Theater, I was in the media room at the Dalton Agency blogging and enjoying a few complimentary snacks or perusing my assigned group of venues, including Hemming Plaza and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. 

The event left me inspired and educated on innovative ways to guide my career – even as a freelance writer. I watched local musicians perform on a stage draped with colorful Afghans. I spoke to multiple filmmakers about everything from a zombie disease taking over small town America during the Civil Rights era to filming the musicians of Libya who had previously been silenced by Muammar Gaddafi. I also took in my fair share of public art – mural work by Shaun Thurston, an installation based on Davy Crockett by Drew Hunter and an intimate look at Jacksonvillians by Y.C. Lozano.

“I spent about $200 on my project and had a sponsor to cover the paint, so for me it’s a great return for a few days of sweat and fun,” Thurston said about receiving the fourth greatest amount of votes (855) equaling …   More