Feeding Southwest Kansas

Voices from SW Kansas: Immigrant Perspectives

Video Now Available

“Voices from Southwest Kansas: Immigrant Perspectives” an 18-minute video, was produced as part of a broader study of Southwest Kansas’ Food and Farm System by the Kansas Rural Center (KRC). Southwest Kansas is a sparsely populated, largely agricultural economy set in a semi- arid climate, fueled by water from the Ogallala Aquifer. It is also home to some of the country’s largest grain farms, livestock feedlots, dairies, swine confinement facilities, and beef processing plants. The region has a long history of immigrants from Mexico and other Central and South American countries, plus a number of other countries around the globe. (The Garden City School District in Finney County has reported up to 29 languages spoken in the school system.)

Over the past two years, KRC undertook exploration of the food system there in the belly of industrial farming, which exports so much of its production, to see what the overall local and regional food system looked like for consumers. The story of the food system could not be told without interviewing the immigrant community. To do so, KRC hired Hugo Perez-Trejo, a native Spanish speaking doctoral student from the University of Mexico.

Hugo is currently completing his Ph.D in Archeology from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) in Mexico City. He is an archeologist and sociologist who has worked in human rights, immigration and gang intervention, and social work with formerly incarcerated youth in southern and central Mexico. He is skilled in interpretation and translation in Spanish, and is now living in Salina, Ks. with his family. Hugo conducted a survey and interviews in three SW Kansas Communities in the fall of 2018.  The video is the product of selected interviews in an attempt to tell some of their stories. 

Hugo is also available for a limited number of facilitated showings of the video to community groups in Kansas. Contact KRC at 866-579-5469 or e-mail Mary Fund at mfund@kansasruralcenter.org to make arrangements.