7 a.m. Never Felt So Good

Image result for yoga gif

by Simone Krabbe

As you walk in the room you see the desks, chairs and the stale white walls. The bulldog posters hanging in every corner and the book filled shelves. It looks like an ordinary classroom, except every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., this classroom is turned into a workout place. Two GHS students, Alex Morales and Celesta Van Wyk, decided to create a yoga club this year, and it has been a success so far. The only thing you need to bring is your own mat and a good morning attitude!

Yoga can be traced back to around 5000 years ago when the indus sarasvati civilization first starting exercising yoga, and now we continue to exercise yoga here at Grandville. However, the yoga we do today has changed a little bit since then. Unlike 5000 years ago where technology didn’t exist, it does today and we use it for almost everything, including for yoga.

“We have a team stretch for like 5 to 10 minutes, where usually I lead it, where we all just count together,” said co-founder Morales. “Then we watch the video of the yoga lesson.” image

The use of video for yoga has apparently also made for some good laughs, as the yoga director in the video makes some funny but awkward comments when showing the poses. As Ariana Star a member of yoga club confirms:

“The person we watch makes really weird comments sometimes and we just kind of look at each other and laugh,” club member Ariana Star said.

Currently the yoga club is doing a 30 day yoga challenge where they watch the YouTuber Yoga With Adriene” and her thirty minute long videos.

Instead of doing a video a day they watch one once a week over the course of 30 weeks. They are currently on episode 10 meaning they have been doing the challenge for the past 10 weeks and they only have 20 more to go.

A lot of people find it embarrassing or nerve racking having to try to do yoga for the first time in front of classmates and friends, but co-founder Van Wyk reassures fellow students that it is a open and welcoming space.

“It’s a good environment and a good way to start your mornings,” Van Wyk said. “It’s really relaxing.”

Not only is yoga a good way to start your morning it also has multiple health benefits. In yoga one of the main things that is focused on is breathing and meditation. Yoga focuses on the body getting to a state of relaxation.

“ I makes mornings a lot easier because you’re finally wide awake and you feel more relaxed and it helps decrease the stress that you have,” Morales said. “So for me I like it because it relaxes my body and my mind.”

Hopefully after having read this article you are interested in learning more about yoga and experiencing the relaxing sensation that yoga is. If this is the case you should try stopping by room 117 every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. where I am positive you will be welcomed with open arms.

“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. “


Inner beauty shines through at ArtPrize

“The word henna means to bring out the inner light that’s inside of you onto the skin, that inner beauty coming out. It reminds them that they are beautiful.”

2017 top 20 ArtPrize artist Amanda Gilbert says henna is an art form she will take with her anywhere as a theraputic coping outlet for anxiety. When she started applying henna on other women, Amanda came to the realization that it can be just as therapeutic for others as it is for herself.

Amanda had the vision to use henna as a ministry.

“It wasn’t neccesarily the goal was ArtPrize it was more this movement for creating this ministry.”

She started on this journey by volunteering her time at a salon in Comstock Park called Beautiful You. This salon gives free services to cancer patients once a month, which was very fitting for Amanda’s ministry.

Conversations with cancer patients began to get deeper and these women started opening up to Amanda.

“This art breaks all cultural boundaries and all religious boundaries. Women from all over the world do it for the same purpose of bringing beauty on the skin.”

It is a blessing for Amanda to know that what she and the team are doing reminds cancer patients to speak love of their body instead of hating their body because they are sick. These women decide to choose joy over fear.FullSizeR-4

“You don’t always hear the stories, and a lot of the time, cancer is fought behind closed doors. I was able to be blessed enough to be in these women’s lives.”

This art is bringing positivity to the process of losing hair. It is hard for women to let go of something that society says makes you beautiful. These women would go to Amanda telling her it is scary for them to look in the mirror because they wouldn’t know who they were. These women are losing more than just their hair, they are losing a part of their identity.


“It is temporary so it reminds you that everything in life is temporary, and what you’re going through right now will soon fade just like this tattoo, and your hair will also come back.” 

These women inspired Amanda to crown them with beauty and crown them with courage so they could let go of their hair and not be afraid to take control by choosing joy and love over fear.

“The psychology of it is crucial for the healing process and a lot of times people focus on the diagnosis instead of the person. It’s not just a physical battle, it’s a spiritual and emotional battle. It’s one you have to choose that you’re already winning.”

With the help of boyfriend Steven Stone, photographer David Burgess, and make up artists Jessica Renusson and Tara Pennington all in collaboration, Amanda has created a FullSizeR-7ministry for so many amazing women.

The photoshoot provided by David Burgess is a timecapsule for these women to look back on and remember that they are beautiful.

The confidence of these women has grown immensley while Amanda’s perspective has changed so much. She is beyond thankful for the women she has crowned with courage because they have helped her just as much as she has helped them.

Amanda says these women have become family to her and that is a big reason why they have a goal to make Crowns Of Courage in to a non-profit and continue to crown women with courage.

“I want to make them warrior princesses.”

Please consider donating to Crowns Of Courage so that Amanda and her amazing team can reach their goal of turning this ministry into a non-profit. Visit their website https://www.crownsofcourage.org/ to read more about each woman’s individual story.


The Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s was Saturday, September 16th, where thousands of people walked carrying flowers representing the ways people struggle with the disease on a daily basis. To learn about what the flower colors symbolized, hover over the white circles on the image below.

Hannah Lyons was there and said “I have never dealt with someone having Alzheimer’s on a family level,” but she has friends who deal with this disease everyday and “it’s the least I can do for them.”

This walk is amazing for everyone involved. Everyone walking around with nothing but smiles on their faces is a very beautiful thing to see.

The walk happens every year and more volunteers and supporters are always welcome.

Healthy Food Trends

by Alyssa Potyraj

In this day and age healthy food is all the rage as the image of the perfect body is becoming prevalent in our society. As the pressure of perfection has been on the rise, the idea of eating healthy has increased along with it. The search for new trendy “superfoods” is never ending and constantly on the rise. Although many people think eating healthy tastes bad, that is not always the case. There are many different recipes that include a wide variety of foods that are flavorful and tasty!

A run down on some of the trends and how you can use them:

Kombucha  (How to make Kombucha)            



Pea Protein Powder


Bitter Melon

More healthy foods with recipes

Green smoothies  (Green Detox Smoothie) 

Kale (Kale Chips)

All things Coconut  (Coconut Chicken Tenders)

Avocado  (Avocado Brownies)

Chia seeds  (Quinoa Chia Seed Protein Bars) 

Quinoa  (Quinoa and Veggie Stuffed Peppers) 

Almond Milk  (Smoothie with Almond Milk)

Zucchini  (Zucchini Alfredo)

Banana  (Breakfast Toast)

Rooibos Tea  (Health Benefits)

Sweet Potatoes (Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet)