Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Rescuing Mexico’s Floating Gardens

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Rescuing Mexico’s Floating Gardens

Article excerpt

Technicolor boats bumping their way along crowded canals. Floating mariachis. Big Gulp-size micheladas. For many visitors- whether they come from across town or across the globe-this trinity of elements is at the core of Xochimilco's appeal. Forgotten by most is the fact that the rows of chinampas (manmade islands) that form the famous canals of this swampy corner of Mexico City were once highly productive farmland, providing the city's markets with a year-round supply of flowers and produce until well into the twentieth century, when the chinampas began to rapidly lose ground to urbanization.

Now a group of ecologically and socially conscious chefs and entrepreneurs is attempting to breathe new life into the area's agrarian roots. Businesses like De la Chinampa-cofounded in 2007 by Ricardo Rodríguez, a former bank executive, and his wife, Laura, a biologist-help some of the remaining farmers in the 50-hectare Cuemanco ecological reserve in Xochimilco find new markets for their products. …

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