Sustainable living- save the environment, your money, your health

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by Jess Wolfe, Sophie Kaminski, Morgan Corey, Lindsey Kamppinen, Emily Podsiadlik, Hannah Garrison, Bryce Gable, Josh Lawrence, and Christian Lubbers

“From my home alone I have prevented 118.9 pounds of food waste from going into a landfill,” Carolyn Peterson said.

It positively impacts the environment. There is no need for worms. It saves you money. You can improve your health. It’s easy and convenient.

“I thought it could be very sustainable and more of a long-term project.”

Carolyn Peterson took on home composting as a method for solving an environmental issue after being inspired by an independent research project in her Environmental Science Class. Continue reading →

“Sowing Seeds Daily”

by Jess Wolfe

“The idea of bringing the production of fresh wholesome food hyperlocal to communities is really the mission,” Brian Harris said. 


Esmee Arugula – Brian’s favorite leafy green


Retiree Brian Harris has been growing two acres worth of crops inside a shipping container in downtown Grand Rapids ever since June of 2017. His aspiration to grow using hydroponics stemmed from a curiosity about indoor urban agriculture.

“I had to self-educate myself . I’m not a farmer, I come from the steel industry and furniture industry.”

Brian started experimenting in his basement, learning different ways to grow hydroponically, and aeroponically.

“I got hooked because there are so many interesting aspects of both biology, and science, and technology associated with it.”

Brian came across a producer of a container farm out of Boston, Massachusetts called Freight Farms. This company produces customized container farms suitable for all climates, even extreme environments, such as Alaska and Saudi Arabia where fresh, nutritious vegetables never used to be accessible.


“I thought it would be a good way to introduce Grand Rapids to what the idea of indoor urban agriculture is all about.” 

Soil-free, pesticide-free, low waste, low cost, and using only 5% of the water that traditional soil farming uses.

There is no need to use herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides because of the controlled environment with no pests or weeds. The solution given to the plants includes the basic minerals that plants normally find in soil. These nutrient elements are water soluble with zero chemicals or synthetics.

“I think it’s important to grow food that is organic. Everything stems from what you eat. When you eat healthy, everything is generally better,” Grandville High School Environmental Science student Madison Humphry said. 



Plant nutrient system


Plants don’t see light the same way humans see light. They only see the blue and red end of the spectrum.


“We don’t waste any energy producing light for them that is not useful.”

LED technology has changed the industry dramatically because they are cool to the touch and don’t generate a lot of heat, meaning they can hang close to the plants without putting heat stress on them. It is also 65% more efficient than typical lighting. Brian runs the LED lighting throughout the night. Electricity is cheaper at night, thus saving money.


Everything is controlled through Brian’s phone. The LED lights and cooling system can be turned on and off. The nutrient levels can be adjusted. The only thing Brian cannot do from his phone is transplant seedlings and harvest.

“I think that what Brian is doing is pretty cutting edge and really new. I think in general there’s an understanding that urban agriculture is beneficial for our community. We want easily accessible, local food options that are healthy for us and create job opportunities and all the sorts of things Brian is looking to develop through his project,” Leison of the Urban Agriculture Committee Catherine Zietse said.

Food waste is an emerging problem in society right now. Traditionally in a field harvest, plants are cut at the stem.

“And at that instant they are on the dying end of life as opposed to the thriving end of life.”

This means shelf life for a field grown crop is very short and much of it ends up getting thrown out because it is not consumed quick enough. To reduce or potentially eliminate the issue of food waste, Brian is able to harvest his plants with the roots still attached, meaning it is still alive. The shelf life of hydroponically grown plants is much longer than field grown crops. Another aspect of reducing food waste, comes from the controlled environment, allowing all crops to ‘look good’ and appear consistently uniform. This means the consumer is less likely to throw out oddly shaped produce.

“An ugly carrot is an ugly carrot, but it still tastes the same.”


“Our motto here is ‘sowing seeds daily,’ and so it’s not literally just sowing seeds, it’s sowing seeds of knowledge, education, and health. Our mission is not just to run this as a business but to actually impact the community and create jobs.”

365 days a year, every seven weeks marks a new harvest. 

“We can grow specialty crops that most farmers don’t want to get involved with because they’re trying to grow large volumes of highly consumed product, like romaine, iceberg, and those common things. The idea here is that the world is full of great tasting lettuce and greens that we just don’t get the chance to get because no one is growing them.”



Exotic Rosie Pac Choi



Current zoning ordinances prevent putting a farm next to a school, grocery store, or in a vacant neighborhood lot. With a struggle to get a permit for the shipping container in downtown Grand Rapids and battle to convince the city of what he is doing, Brian recently testified at city hall, before the Urban Agriculture Committee. Many people are unsure about what hydroponics really is.


Brian explains the exceptional flavor of his Butterhead Lettuce

“Grand Rapids will be in a learning curve and I’m hoping to help them learn.”

Brian explained we’re going to have to work with Grand Rapids on bridging the understanding that as a footprint this is not incompatible with neighborhoods. There’s not a lot of light, noise, or biomass pollution.

“On behalf of the Urban Agriculture Committee, we are completely for what Brian is doing in terms of bringing agriculture to the hyperlocal area,” Catherine Zietse said.

As of right now, no one else is growing hydroponic food in Grand Rapids. This is a big reason why the city is hesitant to adopt this new way of growing.



Restaurants and chefs have come to the farm and have tasted the products and seen the process. They are all interested in having the produce in their restaurants and grocery stores. His first delivery to restaurants around Grand Rapids will occur at the end of November.


Looking further into the future, 

Brian will only be operating out of his current shipping container for about two years because the ultimate goal is not to run this as a business out of a container but to actually scale up to a larger ten thousand square foot facility. The ten thousand square foot facility will yield the equivalent of about 60-65 acres of crop.

“At that scale, we’re talking real jobs and intentionally hyperlocal jobs in the inner-city and the intent is that it has an impact on the economics and the opportunities in that neighborhood from an employment standpoint.”

Hydroponic farming not only has the potential to scale up but also to scale down, where it can be put into a biology lab or into a classroom, creating a curriculum around the biology of plants, the science of chemistry, or even engineering and innovation. The opportunities for new learning are endless.

Senior Madison Humphrey from Grandville High School’s Environmental Science class is working on a scaled-down hydroponic farming project. Her goal is to provide 5 families with low-cost organic food. If the trend of student-led hydroponic farming continues, it has the power to transform many communities for the better.






Hydroponic indoor farming is emerging all over the world, with the controlled environment solving many environmental, health, and inner-city problems.

“There’s a value on local, there’s a value on fresh, there’s a value on organics.”

Brian Harris is starting an innovative, eye-opening movement in Grand Rapids with a lot of potential to grow and transform our city to an even more sustainable place.

“The main thing it’s really doing is bringing consumable leafy greens and vegetables hyperlocal for the benefit of health, wellness, and general happiness. “


Football team savors pregame bonding


by Chloe Deckrow

Every Thursday night the football players head to the cafeteria after practice for a team dinner. The team dinners help the boys build chemistry and relationships.

“Everyone comes together and shares a meal the night before the game. Everyone is relaxed,” Noah Elders said. “There are a lot of jokes and laughing.”

The food they eat not only looks delicious, but it is also important for pregame energy.

“The moms coordinate the meals and the food is donated from local restaurants,” Elders said. “There is usually protein, carbs, fruits and veggies in each meal.”

Aside from good food, the team also uses music to get ready for every game.

“We crank up the speaker in the locker room and blare the music,” Elders said.

GHS Top 5 Fall Activities

Based on a school wide survey at Grandville High School, students determined these fall activities as the most popular to get involved in. As the fall season quickly approaches, don’t miss out on the best events!

1. Football 

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MSU Football Schedule-

Michigan Football Schedule-

2. Apple Orchards

Robinettes- U-pick apples, Corn maze, Hayrides, and a 5 mile bike & hike nature trail.

3. Pumpkins

Post Family Farms- Hayrides to a U-pick pumpkin patch, Famous homemade Pumpkin donuts, and a beautiful nature trail.

4. Fall Leaves 

Hager Park- Photography spot & nature trails

Provin Trails- Photography spot & running/biking trails

5. Halloween 

The Haunt- A Haunted House experience open September through November

Ghosts of Grand Rapids- A tour of Haunted GR

Seniors Top Three Choices for Lunch

Seniors are the only students who are allowed to leave GHS campus for lunch. Here are their top three choices.


“It’s fast and cheap,” Matt Anderson said.


“I like their fries and it’s right across the street so I can always get back on time,” Alyssa Perez said. 


“Everything’s better when it’s free,” Olivia K. said. “And you can make whatever you want.”

10 restaurants GHS students and staff recommend

Osgood Brewery

Osgood Brewery is located on Chicago Dr. in downtown Grandville and is a great place to get yummy pizza. It has a soft crust and it’s very flavorful. The hours are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The local restaurant has a 4.1 star rating. Joel Breazeale, Dean of Students at GHS, states that Osgood Brewery is his favorite place to eat because he likes all of the food there. Mrs. Carla Chamberlain, Attendance Secretary at GHS, loves it because her son-in-law, GHS teacher Mr. Denning, owns it.

Noodles and Company

Noodles and Company is located on Rivertown Parkway near Family Fare in Grandville. Noodles and Company is a wonderful place to get some great chicken noodle soup. It has a 4.5 star rating. and they are open from 11a.m. to 9p.m. Junior Josh Garner  says he likes to eat carbs after a workout and said it’s the best place to get a yummy carb loaded meal or for an after school date with his girlfriend. Sally Tran likes Noodles and Company because she likes the Pesto Noodles.

Kobe Japan

Kobe is the best place to get Japanese food in Grandville. Kobe is located on Rivertown Point across from the mall in Grandville. It has a rating of a 4.5 stars and they are open from 11:30 a.m to 10 p.m. Personally, I really like the sushi at Kobe. Senior Hailey Sytsma says the filet mignon is the best hibachi meal to get and orders it all the time. Senior George Pham  likes the place the best because he thinks it tastes the best of all the other restaurants like it in the area. Dirk Tipton says that the white yum-yum sauce is amazing and that he can’t ever get enough of it.


Carrabba’s is an outstanding place to get Italian food locally. This establishment is located on Century Center and has a 4.4 star rating. Their hours are 4p.m to 10p.m. I think the chicken marsala is the best item on the menu. Senior Graciela Alvarez  loves the fresh bread. Mrs. GW says it’s her favorite type of food and loves the atmosphere.

On The Border

On The Border is a fun restaurant to get Mexican food with a 4.3 star rating. I love the Border Sampler. I share it with my boyfriend and it fills us both up without getting an entree. I am also a sucker for their guacamole and chips. I just can’t stop eating them. I think that’s another reason why I don’t need to get entree because I get half full from the chips and guacamole. If I had any addiction, I would say I’m a chip-oholic! Senior Maggie Simons, a senior at GHS, loves the tacos. GHS Secretary Mrs. Ploeg says she loves the chicken quesadillas.


Qdoba is not a restaurant where someone serves you. It’s more of a restaurant where you get your food and sit down or bring it home to eat. This restaurant is located on Rivertown Parkway near Family Fare in Grandville and has a star rating of a 4.1. Their hours are 10:30a.m. to 11p.m. I  would recommend a burrito with the chip bowl.  Secretary Mrs. VanderWest  says she likes the loves their queso and chips.

Windy City Grille

Windy City Grille is a restaurant to get Mediterranean sandwiches. Windy City is located on the Byron Center Ave and their hours are  11a.m. to 8p.m. It has a 4.6 star rating. Assistant Principal Mr. Lancto says he likes it the best because we don’t have many restaurants like that around here.


Applebee’s is a great choice if you want to get hearty American food and is rated 4.1 stars. Their hours are 11a.m. to 12a.m. Applebee’s is located on Potomac Ave. in Grandville across from the mall. I  like the quesadillas and senior Hailey Sytsma says she loves the appetizers. Mrs. Beckett loves to go to Applebee’s during the half off apps promotion!

China Max

China Max is a convenient food court restaurant in Rivertown Crossings Mall to get Asian food and has a star rating of a 4.8. I  like to get a bite to eat there when I go shopping. Sophomore Aubrey Tomack likes the orange chicken. Mr. Groenleer enjoys the orange chicken as well.


Dungeon is a great place to get Mexican food and sandwiches. Their hours are from 4p.m. to 11p.m. and is located on Chicago Drive. It has a star rating of a 4.2. Mr. Kleinheksel says he likes this place because he likes the atmosphere. I haven’t found a favorite on the menu yet, but many people in the area have!