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Chinampa, Mexico. Source: Maleny / Adobe Stock.

Saving Chinampas, Mexico’s Ancient Floating Farms (Video)


South of Mexico City lies Xochimilco, an area renowned for its distinctive floating farms, locally referred to as "Chinampas." These floating islands have been a part of Mexico's agricultural tradition since even before the Aztecs, with some of the country's most fertile soil, yielding top-quality produce. However, despite their historical and agricultural significance, these chinampas are under threat. Economic challenges have led many farmers to abandon these islands in search of better-paying jobs in urban areas. Recognizing this, Lucio, one of the co-founders of Yolcan, a non-profit organization, has been striving to preserve this ancient farming system.

Lucio's solution to revitalize the chinampas was ingenious: connect the farms with Mexico City's burgeoning culinary scene. Renowned chef Jorge Vallejo, whose restaurant Quintonil ranks sixth in Latin America's 50 best restaurants, joined hands with Yolcan. Jorge and several other celebrated Mexican chefs began sourcing their produce directly from the Chinampa farmers, incorporating these fresh ingredients into their dishes. This collaboration not only reintroduced the rich flavors of chinampa produce to city diners but also provided the farmers with a stable income source, encouraging them to continue their traditional farming practices. As a result, Yolcan's efforts have culminated in partnerships with over 50 of Mexico's esteemed chefs, reinvigorating the farming community of Xochimilco and instilling hope for the future of these unique floating farms.

Top image: Chinampa, Mexico. Source: Maleny / Adobe Stock.

By Joanna Gillan

Joanna Gillan's picture


Joanna Gillan is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. 

Joanna completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) degree in Australia and published research in the field of Educational Psychology. She has a rich and varied career, ranging from teaching... Read More

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