Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, has presented Emmie Cooney of Bethel Elementary School in Simpsonville with a certificate for a $1,000 savings bond scholarship from Bonnie Plant Farm.

The state winner, was one of the students in Mrs. Jamie Breakfield’s class to enter the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program. Her parents, grandparents, and brother as well as a myriad of educators were on hand for the presentation at her school.

Bonnie Plants, which operates greenhouses at growing stations in Alcolu and Spartanburg, S.C., provides 3rd grade students with plants and instructions for growing cabbage. The company offers the students their "oversized" variety of cabbage plants so they can watch the cabbage plant grow — some as big as 40 pounds — bigger than a basketball!

The program is free to all 3rd graders and schools who sign up. Once enrolled in the program, Bonnie Plant Farm contacts the teacher and delivers the number of plants requested.

Bonnie Plant Farm, the largest grower and wholesaler of vegetable plants in the U.S., was established in 1918 by Livingston and Bonnie Paulk in Bullock County, Ala. Thus, the name Bonnie.

Bonnie Plants has 40 growing stations and distribution centers serving over 10,000 customers throughout the United States with all types of vegetable, herb, and flower plants. The company distributes to major markets like Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart as well as independent stores.

To promote gardening to the very youngest citizens, Bonnie Plants began their Cabbage Program in 2002 in Alabama. The program expanded and has been thriving in South Carolina for the past three years. Commissioner Weathers said, “Not only is this is a great way for teachers to include agriculture in their classroom curriculum, but it’s a tremendous way for students to get interested in gardening from an early age. When parents, educators, and students work together on a project like this, everyone benefits!”