Alabama contest grows colossal cabbage, kids' confidence

Sunday, 05 November 2017, 09:46:11 PM. The program was started in Alabama in 1996 in Union Springs. By 2002 it was expanded nationally, and this year more than 1 million third graders participated.
Gracey Lankford can stretch her third-third grade arms as wide as she can, and her fingertips are barely past the outer leaves of the giant cabbage she grew with her own little hands. The pride in her face, bordered by blonde pigtails, is as impressive as the cabbage, which weighs a whopping 17.5 lbs. Gracey, who attends Mitchell Elementary School in Gadsden, was the Bonnie Plants Giant Cabbage Program's Alabama State winner this year and will receive a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond toward her education. Did she grow the biggest cabbage in Alabama? Probably not. Some of these giant cabbages can reach as much as 40 pounds. To be honest, it's not really about the cabbage. The winner of the giant cabbage competition is chosen at random each year by each state's Department of Agriculture. The program was started in Alabama in 1996 in and around the Bullock County town of Union Springs. By 2002 it was expanded nationally, and this year more than 1 million third graders across the 48 contiguous states get a cabbage plant from Bonnie Plants to plant and care for in hopes of winning the $1,000 savings bond that goes to each state winner. Each teacher that participates chooses the "best" cabbage from his or her class based on size and appearance, and submits a picture to the competition. Then the Department of Agriculture in each state randomly selects a statewide winner. The true win here is the experience that it provides. The lessons learned from planting something small, nurturing it...Read more
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