Each year Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America, delivers cabbage plants across the country to third grade classrooms whose teachers have signed up for the National Cabbage Program.
Bonnie Plants initiated the program in 1996 around their headquarters in Union Springs, Alabama, with a mission to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people and grow the next generation of gardeners.
By 2002 the program grew to become a national endeavor, including the 48 contiguous states. The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state. If nurtured, cultivated and cared for, crops can grow giant cabbages, some bigger than a basketball, often tipping the scales at more than 40 pounds each.
At the end of the season, teachers from each class select the student who has grown the “best” cabbage, based on size and appearance. A digital image of the cabbage and student is submitted online. That student’s name is then entered in a statewide drawing. State winners are randomly selected by the Commission of Agriculture’s office, in each of 48 participating states.
Congratulations are in order to the Massachusetts State winner, Evanthia Chapman of the Halifax Elementary School, in Halifax, MA. We are told that Evanthia has begun an educational fund for college with her $1,000 award.
According to Stan Cope, President of Bonnie Plants, “This unique, innovative program exposes children to agriculture and demonstrates, through hands-on experience, where food comes from. The program also affords our youth with some valuable life lessons in nurturing, nature, responsibility, self-confidence and accomplishment.”
The National Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program is free to any third grade classroom in the country. To learn more about the contest, visit www.bonnieplants.com.
Congratulations and Best Wishes, Evanthia Chapman!