On Sept. 29, Blackmer Farms hosted the sixth-grade class from North Polk Schools, about 140 students. The students came to help with the gardening project for the Food Bank of Iowa. The service work is part of the school’s priority to teach students about community service projects.

Tracy Blackmer, farm owner, said the kids picked peppers from about 1,500 pepper plants, pulled up plastic mulch and drip irrigation lines from almost six miles of rows, cleaned off and tore down the trellising (T posts and woven wire fencing) from 1,000 foot of row, and prepared and started harvesting about one row mile of sweet potatoes.

The sixth-graders who came out last spring, Blackmer said, planted a lot of the plants that this group came out and harvested and cleaned up.