D.F.’s Floating Gardens

In a previous article I wrote about Xochimilco and the chinampa system that was developed by the civilizations living around the lakes in the Anahuac Valley, where modern Mexico City (a.k.a D.F. or Federal District) sits now. This system consisted in creating floating islands for agriculture using mud from the bottom of the lake and decaying vegetation. The chinampas were essential in the construction and  thriving of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec empire capital. The system is highly efficient and productive (with up to seven crops a year), not to mention sustainable, ecological and local.

Several weeks ago, Lesley Tellez put together a trip to the ecological reserve of Xochimilco, in the area of Cuemanco, to meet some of the people who are trying to make a difference in the production of food in Mexico City. Aboard of a trajinera (boat) that had been beautifully decorated with a delicious salad made with local produce, chicharron, guacamole and locally produced cheese, Ricardo Rodriguez, owner of De La Chinampa, explained to us what the project is all about:

“We’re trying to connect producers with consumers. What we do is bring the food from the soil to the table. Always making sure the small and local producers benefit from this trade and keeping in mind where the food comes from and its history. Our main goal is the ecological restoration of the zone through the commercialization of the local products.”