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.
“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.