A total of 15,256 third graders in Louisiana currently participating in the gardening program. In addition to third graders in Mire Elementary, third graders in Branch, Crowley, Martin Petitjean and Crowley entered the growing event.
The contest is sponsored by Bonnie’s Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America.
This season, more than 1.5 million third graders in 48 states dug in and got hands-on gardening experience growing colossal cabbages, reaping hefty harvests and holding high hopes to win “best in state” and receive a $1,000 scholarship towards education from Bonnie Plants.
Each year Bonnie Plants, with 75 growing stations across the country, trucks free O.S. Cross, or “oversized,” cabbage plants to third grade classrooms whose teachers have signed up for the program online at www.bonnieplants.com. If nurtured and cared for, kids can grow green, giant cabbages, some tipping the scales at 40 pounds!
First launched in 2002, the program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state. At the end of the growing season, teachers from each class select the student who has grown the “best” cabbage, based on size and appearance. A picture of the cabbage and the student entry is submitted to Bonnie Plants by mail or online. That student’s name is then entered in a statewide drawing. The winners of each state’s drawing are randomly selected by the Commission of Agriculture’s office, state by state.
Why a cabbage? Cabbages were the first plant sold by Bonnie in 1918. The cabbages used for the third grade program are OS Cross (over-sized), which is known for producing giant, oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for kids.
“The Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program is a wonderful way to engage children’s interest in agriculture, while teaching them not only the basics of gardening, but the importance of our food systems and growing our own”, said 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 nurture, nature, responsibility, self-confidence and accomplishment”.
“Over the course of the past 9 years, the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program has proved to be an exciting, worth-while experience that children, teachers and parents across the country have embraced. We’re pleased and proud to provide our youth with this enjoyable and enriching opportunity and engage their interest in the art and joy of gardening”, said Cope.
Doriane Witherwax is the daughter of Jodie Witherwax and is now in the fourth grade at Mire Elementary.
Third grade classroom teachers can signed up for the program online at www.bonnieplants.com.