Alcorn alumnus Bobby Wilson selected as one of the 2022 CNN Heroes

Leadership through service to others is Alcornite Bobby Wilson's '72 calling. His passion for helping others is fueled by his love for the community.

"I have spent my entire adult life empowering people with the knowledge and skills needed to improve their overall quality of life," said Wilson. "For me, to lead is to serve. I have devoted my time living the life that I love and loving the life that I live because I'm bringing a glimmer of hope to the marginalized and underserved, who the Bible calls 'The least of these.' I believe giving back enables these people to stand and throw the rope back to someone else in need."

His community outreach efforts caught the eyes of one of the world's most prominent media outlets as Wilson was selected as one of this year's CNN Heroes.

CNN Heroes is a year-round initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless and creative efforts to make the world a better place. Wilson, a Bay Springs, Mississippi native, is the co-founder of the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF), where he and his team grow foods free of pesticides, synthetic chemicals, and herbicides. The farm creates access to fresh and healthy food for underserved communities. The farm also uses its platform to teach and train new and beginning farmers starting as young as Pre-K – 12 with their young farmers' tool kits. The farm also encourages residents and seniors to work together in community gardens.

The CNN recognition leaves Wilson in awe.

"There are times when I think, 'Bobby L. Wilson, from Bay Springs, is a 2022 CNN Hero.' I do not work for fame or fortune. I am an ordinary person trying to do ordinary work extraordinarily. I learned the importance of responsibility and accountability from my parents and family. Being a CNN Hero assures me that our work at the farm is making a difference."

The honor further sheds light on Wilson and his colleagues' selfless acts of kindness. He's grateful for the opportunity to uplift others through agriculture.

"This selection is not just about me, but everyone involved in service work. Urban agriculture has allowed me to serve in a way that makes sense to me. We use agriculture to help address the challenges within our local communities and globally. This honor is a reminder that the journey is about the people who would benefit from our work."

With a broader audience, Wilson hopes to use this opportunity to lend his expertise to more people who need life essentials such as food.

"I want to do more with the time and resources that I have left. I'm motivated to serve others because of my awareness that certain necessities, such as food, aren't available to some people. Without access to food, there is no life. My motivation comes from knowing that because I can, I will teach farmers and everyday people how to grow food."

None of this success would be possible without the help of companies with which MAUF has formed partnerships. Wilson values working as part of a team to accomplish goals.

"We can only do so much alone, as the African proverb reminds us,' If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.' We need to join forces to have a greater impact. I couldn't have done this without my partners. I hope to work with HBCUs across the country to pursue and embrace opportunities to co-create even more opportunities to inspire a love for agriculture in our youth."