The race to rescue Mexico’s ancient floating farms, chinampas

Chinampas are floating farms whose history pre-dates the Aztecs even. Early Mesoamericans built the floating farms, which provided fertile land for crops, near modern-day Mexico City.

Xochimilco, on the far southern edge of Mexico City, is best-known as the “Mexican Venice” for its canals and brightly colored boats where locals and tourists gather. It is also home to the remaining chinampas.

To this day, the chinampas still boast some of Mexico’s most fertile land. But because they are costly to maintain, some local farmers are abandoning the chinampas for better-paying work in the city.

Yolcan, a non-profit organisation, is a network of people committed to the rescue of the Xochimilco chinampas and the Mexican countryside in general. It was created in 2011 to preserve and spread the farming practices of the chinampas in Xochimilco. The platform connects local farmers, responsible consumers, academics and the best chefs in Mexico City.

Lucio Usobiaga, the co-founder of Yolcan, said: “Mexico is still in that phase where it’s cool to say that you eat organic or you support local farmers, but it’s not really true yet. But we’re closing the link between farmers and consumers, and that can make all the difference.”


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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