Randi Romo 

Randi Romo Little Rock Founder of the Center for Artistic Revolution It’s not an easy trip and it’s off the grid, but for me Rancho Arco Iris is easily my favorite spot in the state. Located on 130 acres nestled amongst the trees high above Boxley Valley in Northwest Arkansas, Rancho Arco Iris is a small homestead that features a spectacular slice of the beauty of Arkansas. It exemplifies much of why I stay in Arkansas. The incredible vistas as I traverse the land are such that I am often compelled to stop, just breathe and be in the moment of the experience. While sitting underneath the canopy of trees there’s a sense of being in a living cathedral and a connection to the Creator that surpasses the many, many church pews that I have sat upon in my life. The two women, Maria Christina Moroles and Miguela Borges, who have made Rancho Arco Iris their home are intrepid protectors of the land. In addition to living off the grid, they employ a system of permaculture designed to obtain the maximum benefit of their resources. Rancho Arco Iris is a place where I don’t have to explain being a Latina. It is a place where my partner and I can connect with our sisters and be in a space that is rare for us to find here in Arkansas. As second generation Latinas, we often find that we don’t quite fit in with the new arrivals and we struggle with the issues of race and ethnicity that continue to be held up in a paradigm of white and black by many of the state’s residents. For me, Rancho Arco Iris embodies many things a hope of better things for ALL Arkansans: a place to rest and rejuvenate; a place to feel a part of home and camaraderie, a connection that I often miss deeply. It is a place that heals and nurtures, reminding me that for all the cruelty that mankind does to one another, there are still places that embody all that is good.

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