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MADISON

The Wisconsin State Cabbage Winner this year hails from Madison.

Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel announced Suzett Hinds Cruz as the 2014-2015 state winner of the national Bonnie Plants' Third Grade Cabbage Program.

Brancel recognized Suzett today in an all-school assembly at Lincoln Elementary School. As part of her recognition, Suzett received a $1,000 scholarship from Bonnie Plants, according to news release.

Suzett grew her cabbage at home with her father. She planted it in a sunny spot, watered it once a week and weeded around it. After picking her cabbage when it was really big and healthy, her family made stuffed cabbage leaves. She gave the extra cabbage to a family friend.

'I hope Suzett's excitement for producing her cabbage inspires other students to grow their own food, whether it is in a backyard garden or in a planter on a porch,' said Brancel. 'About one in nine people in Wisconsin work in a job related to agriculture so we need more people like Suzett to learn not only about food production but also how to process food into a delicious meal to eat.'

Suzett was randomly selected as the winner from all submitted entries. Last year, 260 Wisconsin schools, which included more than 745 classrooms, joined in the program. Bonnie Plants provided cabbages to approximately 14,320 students.

The Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program allows students to learn outside the classroom and get involved in growing food. Each year, Bonnie Plants provides cabbage plants to students to take home, grow and harvest. The purpose of the program is to spark children's interest in agriculture, understand where their food comes from and allow them to learn the joy and rewards of gardening.

Wisconsin ranks second in the nation for the production of major processing vegetables, including snap beans, carrots, cucumbers, green peas and sweet corn. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Wisconsin has 219 farms that harvest cabbage on 5,396 acres.

For the past 13 years, schools across the state of Wisconsin have participated in the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program. Learn more about the program at http://bonniecabbageprogram.com/.

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