Our Porchfest Model Home Tour was a fun-filled couple of weeks, and a celebration of community—from the fresh homes to the fresh food and the fresh air. We gathered together to celebrate neighbors, nature and all the things that make Wildlight so special.
For those who couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed: live music from local artists (a feast for the ears), six beautiful model homes to tour (a feast for the eyes) and delicious fare from local eateries (a feast for … well, a literal feast).
It was our way of showcasing the wonderful way that Wildlight lives. We like to say we’re a new kind of Florida lowcountry. A town in nature, where your new home is an easy walk or ride (bike or golf cart) from a town center full of shops, restaurants, a YMCA, parks and trails. A place where, whether you prefer coastal or Craftsman, you can find a home that fits your flavor. And a spot where, without a doubt, the porch is the perfect place to spend time with family and friends.
We already can’t wait for next time.
A seafood boil isn’t unique to the Florida Lowcountry or even to the south. Folks from Maine to Louisiana have been celebrating family, friends and good food for decades, and even the west coast has its own spin on the tradition. But there is something about being outside on a sunny day in Florida, enjoying a dish of fresh shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes and onions with family and neighbors around that truly feels like it belongs right here in the Lowcountry.
The tradition of getting together, sharing food and time and memories is as true to this region as sitting on your front porch at sunset, waving to and chatting with your neighbors. If you have the opportunity to attend a Lowcountry boil or want to try to capture the experience wherever you are, here are a few tips to make the most of this grand get-together.
• Fresh is best. A good boil is all about the ingredients, especially the seafood. Down here, a boil will use shrimp caught that day (or that hour!). If you have a local seafood market, we recommend stopping by and getting a heaping portion of shrimp or your shellfish of choice there.
• Be ready to get dirty. Digging into a plate of shrimp and sausage and veggies can get messy, but that’s what makes a boil so much fun. You’re around friends and family, so don’t stress and just embrace the experience. Everything tastes even better that way.
• All are welcome. A Lowcountry boil isn’t just a recipe, it’s an event best shared with others. Whether it’s family, friends, neighbors or whoever’s around (that delicious smell might just attract some new friends), it’s best to make plenty of food and enjoy the time you spend together.
If you’re throwing your own boil, we wish you luck, good food and good company. And if it seems intimidating to host, just come on down to the Florida Lowcountry for the real thing. It’s an experience you won’t regret, and you’ll make memories to savor for years to come.
Feeding FLOCO’s Future with Aquaponics
As populations grow and fewer young people enter into farming, the need for new and cost-effective solutions to maintain food supply becomes more urgent. Aquaponics is one such innovative solution that yields ample crops with more efficient use of land and water than conventional farming techniques.
A collaboration between North Florida’s largest aquaponics farm, Traders Hill Farm, and Nassau County School District is giving Wildlight students the opportunity to learn about aquaponics. This mutually beneficial partnership allows West Nassau High School students to apply what they learn by growing lettuce for the school cafeteria.
Working with aquaponics in science classes also helps prepare Nassau County students for careers in sustainable farming.
“With our biotechnology and aquaponics program at West Nassau, we have all phases of a model workforce development program,” Director of Career and Adult Education Brent Lemond told the Nassau County Economic Development Board. “There is an employer, Traders Hill Farm, assisting us to plan curriculum and ready to hire our graduates. We have a post-secondary partner in Florida State College at Jacksonville.”
We look forward to watching this program continue to grow (no pun intended)!
Television, personal computers, space flight… There’s no denying that the past century has been a huge one in terms of technological progress. But according to industry insiders, we’re just getting started.
In fact, some of our biggest innovators are forecasting that we’ll see more tech changes to our lifestyle over the next four to five years than we did over the past 100. What might that look like? Here are a few predictions:
1: Mind Control
Scientists have already created next-generation prosthetics where brain signals can move a robotic arm in the same way as a regular arm. The next step is wider uses for paralyzed patients, like mind-controlled wheelchairs and even day-to-day applications. The jury’s out on how soon we’ll be able to conjure up our favorite show with a thought, but experts agree it can’t be far off.
2: Bottleneck-Free Internet Access
The amount of time the average American home spends streaming, downloading and uploading, has challenged internet providers to up their game. While top providers offer average speeds of around 50 Mbps, that’s a snail’s pace compared to the gigabit communities now in development, which will have connections 20 times faster. Take a look at this video to see how one community is starting from scratch to bring unlimited bandwidth to its homes and businesses.
3: A Sharing Economy
You can share your home via Airbnb, borrow a dress on Rent the Runway and even lend out your private plane on OpenAirplane. These businesses are built on the idea that it’s more efficient to borrow something – say, a car – rather than own one that sits unused for 22 hours a day. Big players like Apple, Google and Uber are following this model and working on technology that will allow us to own less and share more.
4: Wall-to-Wall Screens
It’s hard to believe that your shiny new LCD TV may soon be considered an antique, but at the speed that display technology moves, it’s certainly a possibility. Imagine, walls, windows and mirrors covered with paper-thin OLED panels. Miniature chips in the screens will wirelessly connect to nearby devices, effectively eliminating TVs but bringing its viewing pleasure to every square inch of your house.
Setup for Economic Success
How do you kick off a thriving business community?
Economic development is both an art and a science. It’s not as simple as checking off a list of ingredients, but without some key elements, achieving success can be near-impossible. To build strong, vibrant communities, economic development boards are tasked with finding the right balance of work and play, business and pleasure. That way, communities can encourage businesses to build, expand or relocate, as well as homeowners to put down roots and support those businesses as customers and employees.
One factor communities must consider is transportation. Good transportation is not only dependent on a community’s infrastructure, but also on the location of the community itself. Access to Class I rail lines, major interstates and international airports all support business travel and consumer traffic. Seaports for importing and exporting can also impact how a business operates, manufactures its goods and distributes worldwide.
But transportation is just the beginning. For healthy economic development, you also need a quality workforce for local businesses to employ and a robust residential community to surround and support those businesses. That relies on residential perks such as smart urban design, first-rate schools and libraries and infrastructure for safety and security.
Economic development boards should make their community a place to play as well as work. Places for relaxation and recreation – lakes, oceans, greenspaces, parks, dining, entertainment and more – are essential to attracting and retaining residents. It’s not just about great offices, it’s about having a great time and loving where you live.
With these pieces in place, in a community that is well-planned for its residents and well-marketed to potential businesses, that community can grow and flourish.