This year, more than 1 million third graders in the 48 contiguous states have gotten hands-on gardening experience, growing colossal cabbages with high hopes to win “best in state” and receive a $1,000 scholarship towards education from Bonnie Plants.
Each year Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America, with 70+ greenhouse facilities 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.
The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state. At the end of the season, teachers from each third grade 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 and that student's name is then entered in a statewide drawing. State winners are randomly selected by the office of the Commission of Agriculture, in each of 48 participating states.
The National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program’s winner for the state of Arkansas is Braylon Carpenter of Gibbs Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock.
He grew a beautiful, huge cabbage and was randomly selected by Arkansas’s Agriculture Department. Braylon will receive a $1,000 saving bond towards education from Bonnie Plants.
“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, CEO 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 15 years, the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program has proved to be an exciting, successful and worth-while experience that children, teachers, parents and grandparents across the country have embraced. We're certainly extremely proud of our Arkasnas State winner Braylon Carpenter. We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide our youth with this enjoyable and enriching opportunity and engage their interest in the art and joy of gardening”, said Cope.
Green thumbs and perseverance can pay off, providing participating children with as great sense of pride and accomplishment, a humongous cabbage, and for the lucky state winner, the beginning of an educational fund for college.