The Spark

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The Spark -- A Documentary

Documentary on the budding sustainability movement, Open Source Ecology, and Nat Turner of Our School at Blair Grocery.

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The Spark needs your help to ignite change around the world! Crowd funding is going to put a LifeTrac tractor built by Open Source Ecology into the hurricane devastated neighborhoods of New Orleans to bolster urban farming efforts. Click here to visit the website of the International Documentary Association and make a tax deductible contribution to The Spark! -

The Story:

Meet Dr. Marcin Jakubowski, who lives on a remote farm in rural Missouri. His world is one of mud and machines, and most nights he can be found welding in the back of his earthen brick workshop. Elsewhere engines rumble and sparks fly. This is Factor E Farm, ground zero of the Open Source Ecology movement. Their mission is to re-design the world’s most important machines using common tools and materials. Marcin’s team of engineers design and test these machines day and night, and then release the plans over the internet… for free.

Meet Nat Turner, who drove a school bus to New Orleans with a dream of healing the Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. He gained national attention for transforming an abandoned grocery store into a community youth education center, Our School Blair Grocery, where he teaches kids to sell vegetables instead of crack. Most of his students come from within the Ninth Ward, and for some it’s is not just a classroom; it’s a sanctuary.

While Marcin tackles world issues, Turner works locally. What happens when these two projects collide?

Cross Pollination - when powers combine...

So now the next step in the film is to bring these two groundbreaking projects together. On July 13th, 2013, Open Source Ecology and The Spark team are going to complete the first one-day build of the open source LifeTrac tractor. In an epic convergence, OSE veterans and new power players will come together with Nat Turner and his students from Our School at Blair Grocery to make this happen on-site at Factor e Farm. After the build, the tractor will be donated to Our School at Blair Grocery, making it possible for them to realize their vision of expanding urban farming across the empty lots of the Lower Ninth Ward. Ian sees this collaboration as “an example of how sustainability projects all around the country and all around the world can network and share resources to build stronger projects.”

Become a participant in the project and contribute to bring the projects together with an epic tractor build at Factor E Farm on July 12th!

The Inspiration:

Film director Ian Midgley travelled across the country for a year and a half, filming underground activists. He was granted exclusive access to these and other projects, often the first camera to be granted a behind-the-scenes look. His feature documentary,The Spark, is about transforming from passive observer to participant in the world around us. Ian’s camera linked these two projects together, and with the release of The Spark, will continue bridging connections through sharing information between pro-active organizations worldwide. The Spark is not just a film; It’s a social action campaign.

At the dawn of the 21st century, America’s spiraling energy consumption hijacks our democracy and gambles our planet’s future. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans live in poverty, while our government stalls behind party lines. How can we break the cycle? The Spark shows a blueprint for realistic, immediate solutions. We follow two rogue pioneers —Dr. Marcin Jakubowski and Nat Turner—whose audacious thinking and radical community empowerment may raise the scaffold of a new American evolution: a healthy, fair, honest culture.

The Spark team and OSE needs your help to spread the word. Please visit The Spark website and make a tax-free contribution to this initiative. Email this post to everyone who may be interested and share it online through social media. It is Ian’s initiative to fund The Spark, including the tractor itself, entirely with support from the community. He needs to raise an additional $13,200 by June 15th. Large or small, every donation helps. If you can contribute $1000 or more, we invite you to join us at Factor e Farm for the build and to be in the film!

In making The Spark, Ian finds that his own role as filmmaker has been transformed: “By being the bridge between Open Source Ecology and Our School at Blair Grocery, I become a participant in the world around me, not just an observer behind the camera…. Making the film has changed the direction of my life, too.” Watching the cross-pollination happening between OSE and Our School at Blair Grocery has Ian envisioning how to further inspire and facilitate collaborative projects.

Great endeavors always begin with The Spark that changes each of us and brings us together. Become an active participant and help to make this amazing convergence happen.

The Life Trac Tractor

Check out the plans for The Modular Life Trac and the Micro Tracks.

The Spark Planning Log

The Spark Planning Log

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