"We're not your typical farmers … We are the future of farming," That's the slogan of Urban Container Farm, hydroponic gardens made from recycled shipping containers. Urban Container Farm is also one of the many creators at One Spark in Downtown Jacksonville.
For about a year, its owners, Andrea Shaw, Kent Ridley and Staci Chamberlain, have been working on a unique farming system with a controlled environment that grows organic, pesticide-free vegetables. Also, unlike a traditional outdoor farm with just a couple of growing and harvesting seasons per year, Urban Container Farm's regulated climate allows for harvest every week.
One of the most interesting aspects of the farms is that they run themselves.
"Our farms can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet by an app," Shaw said. "The farms monitor themselves, letting you know what they need. They will let you know, say, if your pH levels are too low."
Although only a prototype, one Urban Container Farm has been engineered to produce up to 1,000 heads of lettuce a week. Shaw and the other creators are hoping they receive support to be able to take their vegetable growing device to the masses.
"We would one day like to see them in schools, backyards and behind restaurants," Chamberlain said. "I think it would be great to go out to eat and really have that 'from the farm to your plate' idea implemented."
One Spark entry #701 is Jackie Kuhn’s “Yarnbomb Downtown Jax.” The Neptune Beach resident aims to educate Jacksonville’s population on the international yarn bombing movement – essentially a non-permanent form of street art that places colorful yarn on statues, poles, bike racks and more.
One Spark creator David Engdahl has been producing laminated plywood sculpture art for 41 years. He exhibits in 21 states across the country.
He has sold his work for upwards of $4,000 in the past. At One Spark, however, he wants to win the money for another reason.
"Anything I make from One Spark is going right back into the Jacksonville art community," Engdahl said. "I've seen the art community grow in great ways over the years, but I want to see more. I know we have it here."
Engdahl's art has a sleek, contemporary look.
He has exhibited his art in four U.S. embassies: Bahrain, Latvia, Angola, and Zimbabwe.
"One Spark is great for Jacksonville, especially for Downtown," Engdahl said. "It gives artists and creators a chance to present what they have created to the people."
Local artist Y.C. Lozano, known for her paintings of faceless children and a blue dog, is taking part in One Spark with entry #421. #IMJAX, Lozano’s project’s title, is explained as “a public art project that celebrates the people who make up Jacksonville.” Located in Hemming Plaza Skyway, #IMJAX is an interactive installation where users step-up to a life-size red and white silhouette and scan a QR code with their smartphone. The code gives information on a random person in Jacksonville. #IMJAX aims to combine public art with social engagement and technology, so the people of Jacksonville can get to know each other better and feel a cohesion throughout the city.
Artist Rosemarie Adcock's passion is helping others. She founded the charity Arts for Relief and Missions after an international touring exhibition of her paintings of Russian refugees in the 1990s raised $1.25 million in donations for Russian orphans.
ARM is a charitable organization that incorporates the use of arts and music for evangelism locally and abroad. The organization provides humanitarian relief and has aided projects such as Home For Every Orphan and Russian Ministries.
In order to generate extra funding, the Chapel Gallery Project was started as the for-profit sector of ARM. The gallery contains a variety of paintings produced by Adcock. The proceeds from Adcock's paintings support the work of ARM.
"If we're out collecting donations, I'm not painting," Adcock said.
The Chapel Gallery Project entered One Spark hoping to receive funding to allow Adcock to continue her paintings and establish their very own gallery to display the work. A portion of the profits from the gallery would in turn go to serving the needs of orphans, disadvantaged widows, at-risk children and more.
Hatchware, the new digital menu application created by We Are Charette, a web design firm based in St. Augustine, allows restaurants to easily update their online menus.
Through Hatchware, customers can place a to-go food order without calling. The new application also allows customers to interact with the restaurant. If you're a fan of a certain item on the menu, with Hatchware, you can share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites.
The menus are always available because they are backed up by reliable cloud hosting. If restaurant owners need to change their menus or add new specials, they can do so via laptop, tablet or smartphone with Wi-Fi.
Two businesses in St. Augustine already utilize Hatchware's digital menu, The Kookaburra coffee shop and Smoothie Fresh.
For more information about Hatchware, visit the website or the company's Twitter page.
Most people in Northeast Florida know the name Al Letson. A poet, playwright performer, host of NPR’s “State of the Re:Union” and local celebrity, Letson’s seizing the One Spark opportunity to garner support of The Wall. Also known as entry #491, The Wall is a large-scale, multi-tablet installation aimed at encouraging people to participate, share, create and explore media in a public space.
“This experience has been a bit overwhelming, but I just love the energy that’s around,” admits Bret Lawrence, co-creator of The Wall. “We’ve met a lot of people interested in collaborating with us.”
The Wall is located adjacent to MOCA’s lobby. The display features flat screen TV’s with a video of Letson explaining the project running on a loop. Entry #491 hopes to gather support from One Spark revelers to reach their initial financial goal of $40,000.
Easily the most colorful One Spark entry, Elestial Sound’s mobile stage is located on the outskirts of Hemming Plaza. A structure completely covered in various knit afghans, the stage has proven a main attraction by featuring musical acts like The Dewars, Lady Dug and Levek.
“We had no idea what we were getting into,” admits Davis Hart, co-founder of Elestial Sound, a Gainesville-based record label focused on creativity and sustainability. “We didn’t start preparing for this until two weeks ago.”
The record label's mission is to garner support to purchase and renovate new headquarters to be located in Gainesville. The company’s colorful afghan stage is an extension of the independent record label and has previously traveled to events like SXSW.
A Fernandina Beach-based filmmaker and educator, David Montgomery is hoping to drum up support of his One Spark entry, “Propagating.”
“This experience has given me a lot of confidence,” Montgomery admits from his post at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s lobby. “I’ve connected with a few people who have genuine interest in what I’m doing.”
Montgomery’s entry explores the iteration of Internet technology, media landscapes and the filming of patterns occurring in nature. It also expands on a previous work by Montgomery titled “Dandelion Free Culture,” a series of experimental animated loops focused on the structure of the dandelion.
Local artist Scott Morphew drew a picture of the Virgin Mary kissing Jesus as a baby titled "The Kiss of Life" Feb. 6, 2012. The next day a mirror image of Jessica Cooksey Paulraj kissing her son, Adam, and the story of his rare syndrome were published in The Florida Times-Union.
Jacksonville native Jessica Cooksey Paulraj and her husband, Raja Paulraj, were working as missionaries in a hospital in India when they first met Adam. He was born with Bartsocas-Papas, a rare syndrome that left him with extreme deformities. At birth, Adam had no eyelids or fingers, his legs were webbed together, and his mouth and nose were underdeveloped. The Paulrajs adopted Adam and brought him back to the United States.
Morphew, touched by the resemblance of Jessica and Adam to his drawing and the child's story, entered his drawing to One Spark. He hopes to raise money for the mass production and sale of "The Kiss of Life." Every dollar Morphew receives from sales will be sent to Jessica and Raja Paulraj for their son's medical expenses.
Manning the One Spark booth is Adam's grandmother, Teresa Cooksey. Armed with flyers, she's rallying for votes to help her daughter and son-in-law finance the surgeries Adam needs to grow up comfortably.