Some of the best-tasting produce in North America can be found “floating” in Mexico.
Just south of Mexico City is a piece of history that’s still thriving today thanks to a network of dedicated people. Not only is Xochimilco home to the most fertile land in the country, but it’s also where chinampas, or floating farms, are keeping an ancient tradition alive.
Chinampa is an agricultural technique that dates back hundreds of years. It was used by the Aztecs to grow crops on small sections of land built over shallow bodies of water.
Today, these artificial islands can be found across Xochimilco’s system of canals, producing organic vegetables that are as fresh as they are delicious.
The only problem with these farms is that they require plenty of work and money to maintain. Since many farmers can’t afford to hire the help they need, they are eventually forced to find another job in the city.
Recognizing the inherent risk to the chinampas, Lucio Usobiaga set out to make it right by starting a unique organization.
Yolcan is a nonprofit that seeks to preserve the farms by connecting farmers with chefs around the country, including Jorge Vallejo, the chef and owner of the Quintonil restaurant in Mexico City.
This mutually beneficial relationship ensures that the farmers can make a living, while the chefs receive the best ingredients money can buy!
“It’s almost impossible to have [ingredients] as fresh as they have because everything has been taken from the soil hours, no more than a day,” Jorge explained. “So I think it’s very important to not only work with the farmers but also, let them be part of the story.”
Yolcan has partnered with more than 50 chefs so far, and now they’re selling weekly baskets of produce through their website!
What an amazing collaborative effort! Keep up the great work, Lucio and everyone else involved in keeping the chinampas around!
Learn more about these floating farms in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story with your friends.
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