CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tucked neatly beside the Brookstone School in the Ashley Park neighborhood of Charlotte, is a bountiful garden, brimming with colors and flavors of the season.

Harvesting their fruits and vegetables Tuesday include students from not only Brookstone, but from St. Patrick Catholic School a very unlikely pairing.

The two schools couldn t be more different socio-economically and culturally. Brookstone is predominately African American, and St. Patrick the opposite with 87 percent Caucasian students. Together through the Front Porch Grant these young people are uniting and building a bridge to better understanding.

Just ask the kids.

One experience is my friend Nick over at St. Patrick. We got to play with worms and put them in [the ground] so it was really fun, said sixth grader Terryn Desrosier of Brookstone.

The students were joined by Chef Marc Jacksina of Halcyon restaurant to whip up a gourmet, farm-to-fork meal of healthy, nutritious watermelon gazpacho, bruschetta from their tomatoes, and much more.

We ll fill these up with cheese, said Jacksina, holding a zucchini flower something many of these students have never seen before.

Kathleen Smith, Brookstone s Garden Project Coordinator from St. Patrick, says the garden has given the students opportunities to work together, learn about vegetation, science, math, and the weather.

She hopes the lessons last a lifetime.

The children have been so enthusiastic about the project. Hopefully it ll build generations of gardeners and healthy eaters, Smith said.

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