5-pound cabbage earns Mississippi third-grader a lot of “green” in scholarship money

Published 5:47 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

An Oxford student just earned a lot of “green” after being selected as Mississippi’s winner of the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program.

Mia Green of Lafayette Upper Elementary School has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from Bonnie as well as “Best in State” bragging rights for growing a 5-pound cabbage.

Bonnie relaunched the Cabbage Program this year as a remote-friendly learning activity to safely bring education outdoors. With so much stress surrounding learning during the pandemic, connecting with nature through gardening has never been more rewarding for the physical and mental well-being of kids.

At the start of the program, Bonnie sent each participating student a starter O.S. Cross variety cabbage plant and the lessons needed to care for and nurture their plant every step of the way. Once fully grown, students took a photo with their cabbage and submitted it for a chance to win.

Mia was selected by Bonnie Plants in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture based on the student’s enthusiasm to participate and learn in addition to the size and overall appearance of their cabbage.

“It’s truly amazing to see firsthand how the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is able to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people and grow our next generation of gardeners,” said Angela Thomas, Corporate Communications Manager at Bonnie Plants. “We’re proud of all of this year’s participants and would like to congratulate Hailey whose hard work is paying off!”

“The Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is a wonderful way for teachers and parents to introduce children to agriculture through a hands-on, engaging and memorable learning experience,” said Commissioner Gipson. “It was inspiring to see the impressive cabbages that all of the students in Mississippi were able to grow and we’re confident this is just the beginning of a lifelong gardening journey for them!”

This year, nearly 200,000 third graders in the 48 contiguous states have gotten hands-on gardening experience growing colossal cabbages with one student in each state awarded a $1,000 scholarship towards education from Bonnie Plants, the largest grower of vegetable and herb plants in the U.S.

“We relaunched the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program in the spring as a safe, remote-friendly learning activity to inspire children of all backgrounds to grow a love of gardening,” said Mike Sutterer, President and CEO of Bonnie Plants. “After pausing the program last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re thrilled to once again see so many students were able to participate and learn the basics of gardening as well as life lessons like responsibility, self-confidence and accomplishment.”

At the beginning of the program, Bonnie sent each student a starter cabbage plant and the lessons needed to care for and nurture their plant every step of the way. Students took a photo with their cabbage when it was fully grown and submitted it for a chance to win the $1,000 scholarship. Winners were selected by Bonnie in collaboration with state departments of agriculture based on the student’s enthusiasm to participate and learn in addition to the size and overall appearance of their cabbage.

“It’s truly amazing to see firsthand how the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is able to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people and grow our next generation of gardeners,” said Angela Thomas, Corporate Communications Manager at Bonnie Plants. “We’re proud of all of this year’s participants and would like to congratulate all of the winners whose hard work is paying off!”

Bonnie Plants launched the 3rd Grade Cabbage program in 1996, choosing cabbages because they were the first profitable crop the company sold. The cabbages utilized for the program are the O.S. Cross variety, which is known for producing giant, oversized heads of cabbage that can tip the scales at more than 40 pounds!

Getting involved in the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is free. Fall registration for those who are located in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11 is now open. Teachers and parents can click here to register their class or student. Registration opens in January for the spring growing season.

To see the 2020-21 winners as they come in and learn more about the 2022 contest, please visit: bonniecabbageprogram.com.