HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A group of homeschoolers are responsible for a new Senate Bill lawmakers are currently talking about after they realized Alabama was in need of a state vegetable.
Kristin Smith said her group of students were getting ready to celebrate the state’s bicentennial back in 2019 when they realized one problem.
“We found that the state tree fruit was the peach so we had peach cobbler. The state wild bird was a turkey so we roasted a turkey, but we could not find a state vegetable,” Smith said.
Her class was quick to start doing some research to find out what crops were bringing in the business for Alabama. After class-wide vote they decided the sweet potato should be the state vegetable.
But the students didn’t stop there.
“I said, ‘Now we are going to write our local legislators because we need to let our legislators know that there is a need. It’s not enough to complain, we have to propose a solution,” Smith said.
Lawmakers listened. Student Jalynn Whitfield got a letter back from her senator first.
“He wrote us back and he told us he really liked the idea so he said he was going to bring it to the senate as soon as he could,” Whitfield said.
That bill was introduced in 2020, but the pandemic put a halt to it.
“Of course COVID-19 hit,” Smith said. “Legislation suspended and the bill died. My new crop of students are picking up where Jalynn left of and we are running with this again this year.”
The bill is now called Senate Bill 171.
“I think it’s cool that we get to have a say in what we think could be the state vegetable,” said current student Andrew Silvertooth.
Senator Garlan Gudger said this is an example of students making a difference.
”These students are making sure that they have a voice today, not waiting until they can grow up and be a legislator. We are making sure they know that we are representing their voice in Montgomery for them.”
So what do you think?
We have a state bird, the yellowhammer. We have a state flower, the camellia. We even have a state cake! Now might be the time we add a vegetable into the mix.