Friday, July 28, 2017

Unique Soil Amendments Used on the Chinampas near Mexico City

Today, there is an eat local sustainability movement taking place on the long abandoned chinampas on the outskirts of Mexico City in Xochimilco. The story was told by Rick Bayless on his PBS cooking show, "One Plate at a Time".

Chinampas are small man-made agricultural islands floating on lakes and surrounded by canals. They were created during Aztec times a millennia ago. The canals were designed to provide water to grow crops on the fertile island soils. Today, Antonio Murud of Proyecto Yolcon is working to turn the islands back into food producing land for local chefs. The goal is to make each island sustainable in every way.

The chefs are given a choice of what to grow and how to grow it. Their process is quite unique and what really caught my attention was their unique soil recipe.

When planting seeds, they add poison ivy plants which provide a hormone to accelerate growth. They enrich the (often saline) soils with manure, charcoal, molasses, yeast, and rice bran. The film shows this soil formula formed into brick shapes containing a hole in which to plant the seed.

Rick Bayless referred to the project as chinampa to table cooking.

To view the segment on vimeo, go here.