Welcome to my blog about Chili’s Open Places! I hope you stay awhile!
I have created this blog in effort to promote the remaining “open spaces” that remain in Chili, specifically those that are husbanded in some fashion. Over the past six months, I have visited, interviewed, photographed, and worked with farmers across Chili. I began with a contact list of four people, and it has grown to thirty four people. Even though I grew up in South Chili, I never holistically understood the depth and diversity of our agrarian roots. And if I were a resident of North Chili, I doubt I would have ever realized agriculture was taking place. That is why I am steeped in this research.
A common observation of Chili’s farmers is the growing chasm between the farmer and the consumer. “I feel like we don’t even exist down here,” is one comment that I have repeatedly encountered. When people don’t know you exist, how are you expected to survive? There are people who want to stay in Chili because they love the land — family heritage, field crops, wildlife, whatever reason. Yet, if the majority of the population is oblivious to their plight, how long will they stay? If their voice is never heard, how long before they are forever mute? The vitality of Chili will depend of our willingness to listen, and support the voices of our Open Places.
I hope you will use this site to your advantage. I will publish all of my experiences, and I hope you will take the time to reflect and comment. Even more, I hope you find the inspiration to seek out our local farmers, and learn how they interact with open space. You may also find that the food grown a few miles from your home tastes a lot better than the plastic wrapped/ tin canned veggies you find at a supermarket!
Lastly, and essentially, I hope this site becomes a “place” for you to explore your home, Chili! Take liberties to interact (farmers are probably the most congenial breed you will encounter), and let your curiosity wander. Open Place is something that should be admired, and I hope that I can provide the gateway for you.