CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- They grow 'em big out in West Virginia.
Anna Belan, of Midland Elementary School in Elkins, earned a $1,000 savings bond from the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program for growing a humongous cabbage. A total of 3,832 youths from across the state participated in the nationwide program which encourages hands-on gardening experience for third-graders.
Each year, Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America, ships 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.
Properly nurtured and cared for, the green giant cabbages can tip the scales at around 40 pounds. Launched nationally in 2002, the program awards a $1,000 scholarship toward education to one student in each participating state.
At the end of the season, teachers from each participating 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 the student's name is entered in a statewide drawing. State winners are randomly chosen by the agriculture commission in each of 48 participating states.
"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.
For more details on the contest, visit www.bonnieplants.com.