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From Fourth-graders to Tables

Joseph Hutchinson and Jacob Patrick both like bell peppers, but beyond that the conversation becomes contentious.

“They’re not very good on pizza,” Jacob insisted.

“They are so,” Joseph countered.

Any way you slice them, the hot, sweaty, dirty work of growing their own peppers — and potatoes and garlic and beans and spinach and squash, among other food items — is something both boys, fourth-graders in Jill Connor’s class at Cherry Creek Elementary School, can get behind.

All the district’s 12 fourth-grade classes have their own garden plots, where they will grow vegetables this summer that will be donated to the food pantry at Flat River Outreach Ministries

“This is pretty easy, I think,” said Jacob.

“I grow carrots at my house,” added Joseph.

The pair are among all district fourth-graders who are taking part in the annual community garden project at the Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center. The service-learning project puts fresh vegetables and other edibles on the shelves of the Flat River Outreach Ministries food pantry.

Folded into lessons in agriculture, science, ecology and social studies, students prepare the soil in their class’ dedicated garden plot, then plant seeds or transplants grown by Lowell High School students.

During their recent first visit of the season to tend to the community gardens, fourth-graders also learned from Lowell Area Historical Museum guides about early settlers in the area and the state’s agricultural history.


Wittenbach/Wege Center

Lowell Area Historical Museum

Flat River Outreach Ministries

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio


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