Indian Trace Third Graders Have Green Thumbs

At Indian Trace Elementary School, third grade students are getting a hands-on lesson in agriculture, which happens to be the second biggest industry in the state.

The school participates in Bonnie Plants’ Third Grade Cabbage Program. The program was started by Bonnie Plants to promote a love of gardening in young people and help grow the next generation of gardeners. Participating classrooms are provided with oversized cabbage plants for students to care for and grow. Each child receives a plant, Student Growing Guide, and Weekly Care Check List.

“The Bonnie Plant Project is a wonderful way to engage children and spark an interest in agriculture,” states Third Grade Teacher Patty DeBiase. “We not only teach them the basics of gardening, but the importance of our food system and growing our food.”

Each year, the third grade grows vegetables in the school’s raised garden, which was built with support from Orchard Supply Hardware. “We grow veggies to make salsa: tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro and even basil,” states Mrs. DeBiase. “To culminate our unit, all third-grade students receive a small cabbage plant with directions on how to grow it at home.”

The students nurture and tend to their cabbage plants all summer and the largest one is entered into the Bonnie Cabbage Program contest. On

e winner is selected at random from each state by the Commission of Agriculture and that student receives a $1,000 scholarship. The winners will be announced in February.

Isabella Colon will represent Indian Trace Elementary school in the contest. With great dedication, she cared for her cabbage plant throughout the summer. At the time of this writing, Isabella’s cabbage measured 10.5 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds.

Mrs. DeBiase says she likes the Bonnie Cabbage Program because it fits right in with the third-grade curriculum. “It exposes kids to agriculture through a hands-on experience and also provides them with valuable life lessons in nurture, nature, responsibility and accomplishment. I personally love this project because kids learn about nutrition and discover the satisfaction of growing and harvesting fresh vegetables.”

Through this program, Bonnie Plants has delivered over 14 million cabbage plants to students nationwide. “The joy of gardening and the satisfaction of growing healthy food are gifts that kids never outgrow,” says Stan Cope, President and CEO of Bonnie Plants. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to share these gifts with the next generation of gardeners.”