This post describes some of the many online resources about chinampas, one of Mexico’s ancient and most important indigenous forms of sustainable agriculture.
For photos, the best starting point is Dr. Jason Turner’s site about chinampas which includes an extensive bibliography about chinampas as well as several “Virtual Field Trips” (photo sequences). Even though these photo sequences often lack any accompanying descriptions or captions, they cover a wide range of ideas, and are organized in self-explanatory groups such as:
- “The Chinampa Zone of Xochimilco”,
- “The Use of Canal Mud in the Chinampa Agrosystem”,
- “From Maize to Vegetables to Flowers”,
- “Urbanization of the Chinampa Zone”,
- “Water Supply and Quality”,
- “A Trajinera Outing: Tourism, Culture, and Identity in the Canals of Xochimilco” and
- “Do Chinampas Float?”
For an article describing a recent tour of a working chinampa in Xochimilco’s Ecological Reserve. illustrated with great photos, try Touring Xochimilco’s farms with De la Chinampa written by Lesley Téllez (self-described food writer with a “deep love for Mexican food and culture”) on her blog “The Mija Chronicles”.
Youtube also has a variety of chinampa-related resources. In English, the best introduction is Discovery Atlas – Mexico: Xochimilco which provides a good background to the history and covers the basics.
Two Spanish-language Youtube resources provide valuable additional information. Each video lasts about 5 minutes, but neither video has English language subtitles.
The first is Divina Ciudad: De la chinampa a la mesa which looks at one specific project designed to help raise public awareness and aid the conservation of the remaining chinampas in Xochimilco, on the south-eastern outskirts of Mexico City. This project supplies consumers with fresh produce grown on the chinampas in Xochimilco or sourced from within 150 km. See the project’s website – De La Chinampa – for more information.
The second Spanish language video is Profeco TV Reporte Especial: Productos de la Chinampa, un ejemplo de consumo sustentable, This video, made by the federal consumer protection agency Profeco, explains how the produce grown on the chinampas is pesticide-free and relies on sustainable production methods. It calls on viewers to “learn more about the method and help ensure that chinampas do not disappear.”
- Rojas R., Teresa (Coord) 1995. Presente, pasado y futuro de las chinampas. Mexico DF: Ciesas/Patronato del Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco A.C. This is a collection of 25 papers presented at a 1990 international conference in Mexico City.
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- The energy efficiency of farming in Mexico and elsewhere
- How sustainable is organic agriculture on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico?
- Case study of a Tarahumara garden