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Urban Innovation Exchange: The sustainable projects transforming our communities

In the Urban Innovation Exchange series, Editor Matthew Russell highlights the people and projects transforming West Michigan through sustainable efforts. From education to city building to recycling, these are the leaders making change in our communities.

Cheshire Neighborhood

Here's what you've missed in Neighborhoods of GR

Over the past year, Rapid Growth has just scratched the surface of the many unique places and spaces in Grand Rapids. From Alger Heights to Fulton Heights, from Creston to Midtown, here's what you may have missed in the Neighborhoods of GR series.

tamales

Can't hold me back: Women of Color entrepreneurs break boundaries in West Michigan

Across the country, female entrepreneurship is on the rise, and we sat down with three fearless females in West Michigan who are plugging away at their own unique businesses, despite the challenges, and celebrating a craft undefined by their gender or race.

img_8646

G-Sync: Getting to the heart of community takes conversations

Getting to the heart of community takes dialogue. Rapid Growth's Publisher Tommy Allen's first seven interviews of the year are shared here along with thoughts on why localism still matters ... maybe more than ever.

Rob Hanks

RapidChat: Rob Hanks on GR's cocktail culture and the almighty Negroni

While most evenings you can find his smiling face behind the bar at Reserve Wine and Food, the current serving President of GR's Bartender's Guild, Rob Hanks, aims to elevate Grand Rapids' drinking establishments...one Negroni at a time.  

Lee Township resident Judy Wirtz confers with community health worker Jerry Burton.

How community health workers bridge the gap between at-risk communities and healthcare providers

Distrust, misunderstanding, and disconnection often exist between at-risk communities and the healthcare system. Community health workers use deep knowledge of their communities to mitigate those issues.

gardens

UIX: Grand Rapids residents are growing stronger communities through gardening

Neighborhood gardens provide space for food to grow, for new skills to sprout, and most of all, for individuals to realize the power they have in their own communities. Though they may support similar crops every season, each space provides a unique definition of what it means to get involved and grow.

FT Zeeland Farm Services

Zeeland Farm Services: The family-owned company quietly conquering midwestern agri-business

By focusing on their mission of food for people, prioritizing local partners, and producing sustainable alternatives like bioplastics, Zeeland Farm Services will soon be processing half the soybeans grown in the state.

Dirt Dogs

Riding into a love of the outdoors with GR Dirt Dawgs

Members of the GR Dirt Dawgs hit the trails to learn mountain biking, an appreciation for nature, and how to take care of local trails. From ages two to 15, the nonprofit is spreading the love of mountain biking to all ages.

Cheshire Neighborhood

Neighborhoods of GR: What the North Quarter CID's plan means for Cheshire Village

Thanks to the North Quarter Corridor Improvement District (CID), residents along Plainfield on the North East side can expect new development in the area. Hoping for similar developments seen in Creston Business District, Cheshire Village may become GR's next destination neighborhood.

Luis Avila

Rapid Blog: Luis Avila explores Hispanic philanthropy in West Michigan

In this Rapid Blog, Attorney Luis Avila explores the Hispanic community's vital and diverse approach to philanthropic giving.

Shaunte Oliver received support services from Strong Beginnings while she was pregnant with her daughter Alona.

Untangling the complex issue of health equity in Michigan

Michiganders may experience dramatic differences in their quality of health due to a host of social factors. We took a look at some of those factors, and what's being done to address them.

Bike Lanes

Biking in Grand Rapids: A commuter perspective on culture and safety

It's been 2 years since the launch of the City of Grand Rapids' Driving Change Campaign. Since that time, how has the city and its citizens improved in cycling safety and awareness?

Town Hall Auk Med

Tommie Wallace: A Heartside artist rooted in history

This month we sat down with local Heartside artist Tommie Wallace, aka Town Hall Auk Med to learn more about his life, distinct artistic style, and the roots of his imagery/meaning.

Lauren Rahman Thompson

RapidChat: Lauren Rahman Thompson on World Refugee Day, Treetops Collective, and more.

"It’s easy to forget 'refugee' is only a status, not an identity," states Lauren Rahman Thompson, Director of Operations at Treetops Collective. It's time to be more aware, get educated, and take action beyond World Refugee Day on June 20th.
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