Ryan Ash, a fourth-grader at Grace Academy in Georgetown, Texas, was recently awarded a $1,000 savings bond after he grew an astonishing, 19.6-pound cabbage, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Ash and upwards of 87,000 Texas children were participants in the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, which hopes to “inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people and grow our next generation of gardeners.”
The almost 20-pound cabbage began as a petite, 2-inch plant, delivered to Grace Academy for students participating in the program.
The National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program started much like their prize-winning, scale-tipping cabbages: small. In 1996, Bonnie Plants kicked off the competition in the areas surrounding its Union Springs, Alabama headquarters.
In six short years, by 2002, the program had expanded outward to the 48 contiguous states. One child from each state is crowned winner and receives a savings bond each year.
Now that’s a lot of cabbage.
Today, Bonnie Plants ships out more than 1 million O.C. Cross cabbage plants to classrooms throughout the United States. To date, that’s more than 14 million cabbage plants nationwide, giving a new generation of green-thumbs the enthusiasm and know-how for a lifetime of home-grown, healthful, environmentally conscious eating.
According to Stan Cope – Bonnie Plants CEO and a grandson of “Miss Bonnie” and Livingston Paulk, founders – “The joy of gardening and the satisfaction of growing healthy food are gifts that kids never outgrow. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share these gifts with the next generation of gardeners.”
If you’ve got a youngster you’d like to get involved – or if you’re a teacher looking for a classroom project – you can register for the program here.
And, since we know you were wondering … the world-record-holding heaviest cabbage weighed in at nearly 140 pounds, presented by Scott A. Robb at the Alaska State Fair in 2012. What’s more, this is far from Robb’s first rodeo; he’s held several Guinness World Records for “heaviest vegetables” over the years.