Xochimilco, largely known to travelers for its colorful party boats, has been an important food source during the pandemic.
By Megan Zhang
April 29, 2021
“Farming production increased here in Mexico City, trying to fulfill the food demand,” says Raúl Mondragón, co-founder of Colectivo Ahuejote. According to Mondragón, farmers who work with the collective saw business grow by as much as 120 percent during the pandemic, thanks to this increase in direct-to-consumer business. (Overall in Mexico, the pandemic shrank the national economy by 8.5 percent in 2020.)
Now, the chinampas just might become a regular component of how these new-found customers obtain their food, even after the region’s agricultural systems resume normal operations.
“I think people are getting closer to their pre-Hispanic roots—they are discovering that the chinampas are a national treasure,” says Juarez, who insists the soil is so nutrient-rich that most if not all crops can thrive in it. He mentions certain endemic edible weeds, known as quelites, are hard to find elsewhere, yet flourish in the chinampas.
For the chinamperos, the soil’s fertility is no secret—and many who inherited the land from prior generations feel an obligation to preserve it for posterity. “My parents told me to continue to take care of this place and save this heritage,” says a 73-year-old chinampero, who chose not to share his name. “That’s why I work the land.”
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