MIAMI, OK — Through a nationwide vegetable growing project, 10-year-old Winni Hiebert learned how a few seeds could bring in a financial harvest.
A student at Nicholas Elementary School in Miami, OK, Winni grew a 20-pound cabbage and walked away with a $1,000 savings bond earmarked for her college education.
“I was so excited. Usually I don't win those kinds of contests,” Winni said. “I was really surprised.”
Each year, Bonnie Plants provides free OS Cross, or oversized cabbage seedlings, to third-grade students across the 48 continental states.
The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state.
Winni received the seedling last spring. She didn't have a vegetable garden spot at her house, so her grandfather made a spot in his garden.
“I watered it and put a little fence around it so no rabbits would get to it,” Winni said.
She turned her award-winning cabbage into coleslaw, cabbage soup and cabbage rolls.
“I like cabbage,” Winni said. “It was a lot of fun and I like planting things.”
The program uses cabbages because they were the first production plant sold by Bonnie Plants in 1918, spokeswoman Joan Casanova said.
“The OS Cross plant produces giant oversized heads,” Casanova said. “It grows rapidly.”
In Oklahoma, 191 schools representing 11,545 students participated, she said. Based on size and appearance, teachers from each class selected the student who had grown the best cabbage.
That student's name was entered in a statewide drawing.
Officials at the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry randomly selected Winni's cabbage from among her third-grade peers, Casanova said.
With the proper care, a student could have a cabbage weighing around 40 pounds in about three months, Casanova said.
“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,” company President Stan Cope said in a prepared statement.
“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,” Cope said.
To learn more
For more information about the program, go to www.