In January 2014, Rep. Bennie Thompson submitted this profile of our colleague Frank Wilbourne to the website CapitolWords, a project of the Sunlight Foundation.
“Mr. Wilbourn was born and raised in Marks, MS. He is 71 years old and has the ageless quality of someone with natural wisdom and a generous spirit. At age 22, he took the road north for the promise of better paying jobs. After returning home from 23 years of working in the steels mills of Milwaukee, he bought his father’s farm and began life as one of the few local organic produce growers and the only local organic produce seller in the town. This land was purchased by his parents in 1939. Mr. Wilbourn spends part of his days below a shade tree besides the Fred’s Dollars Store parking lot. His truck bed overflows with cabbage, string beans, bundles of kale, bags of okra, and baskets of tomatoes and peppers.Mr. Wilbourn grows all of the produce himself on a 5-acre fraction of his 100-acre farm that’s nearby. On his property, two high tunnels stand in stark contrast to the surrounding straight lines of pines and the row crops of area farms.Mr. Wilbourn is a part of the Delta Fresh Family and was inspired by his wisdom and love for his community.”
Mr. Wilbourn built a farm stand to create his own market at 1153 Section 5 Road, Marks, MS in 2013, with the help of Shreveport Credit Union and Alcorn State University. A grower in the North Delta Produce Growers Association, he is a colleague and stakeholder in the MDC Crossroads Farmers Market and our collaborative produce marketing.