Having shaped Wilson’s development and early success, agriculture remains a critical feature of the town’s life. In the field, on the table and in the classroom, agriculture brings together locals and tourists alike around a shared appreciation for the land. Wilson’s agricultural landscape continues to be a principal attraction through the historic cotton gin, Wilson Gardens and artisan-made products.
The garden’s mission is not just to provide beautiful, nutritious food, but also to be an outdoor classroom for both children and adults, teaching others how to prepare and enjoy these foods, and why this way of eating is so important. Wilson Gardens helps to support a resilient local food economy and a healthier planet.
Crop Dusting, or aerial application, is an integral part of the agricultural process throughout the Mississippi River Delta. Beginning in the early twentieth century, airplanes became tools in the field to apply spray chemical to crops, including cotton, to combat weeds and the boll weevil. Over the years, these ag pilots have developed unique skill sets required to manage the vast agricultural landscapes, using complex aerial maneuvers to fly just a few feet above ground, often with a fearless disposition. This video captures a slice of life for Jeffery Price, an ag pilot in Mississippi County, Arkansas. Price continues a proud tradition and shows his passion for his craft.
Originally built around a sawmill operations, the town of Wilson became the hub of a diversified agricultural system and, eventually, the seat of a major cotton empire. The Wilson Cotton Gin, an important center of industry and activity in the town, will soon become a new kind of gathering place for artists and art lovers.
Isiah Reed was born on a farm in Burdette, Arkansas, in 1923. He remembers the wagon and mules his family used when he was 5 years old to move south down the dirt-rutted Highway 61 to Nodena, a rural community and important Native American archaeological site a couple of miles east of Wilson.
In 2010, The Lawrence Group bought the historic Lee Wilson Company and farmland. Today, the Lawrence Group continues cotton production with over 100,000 bales produced by the Wilson, Arkansas, gin.
Time: 8–10 p.m. CDT
Location: The Delta School
Tickets: $75, Purchase Here