Chinampas – Forgotten Agriculture System

Chinampas – Forgotten Agriculture System


Small, stationary, artificial island built on a freshwater lake for agricultural purposes. It is also called as floating garden. 

History of Chinampa

Aztecs developed the water-saving agricultural system (still used in Mexico City in the Lake Xochimilco region) chinampas by piling mud and decaying plants into small stationary islands on top of which farmers would sow maize, beans, chilies, squash, tomatoes and greens. To stabilize the islands, sturdy reeds (tall, slender-leaved plant, which grows in water or on marshy ground) were bound together and used as border as well as to anchor chinampa to ground.   

Construct of Chinampa

It constructed by building up a number of narrow islands, each with 6-10 meters wide and 100-200 meters length, using layers of vegetation, dirt and mud on the lake. The lake provides the required moisture and decomposing organic wastes provides fertilize the island’s soil, thereby supporting an intensive and highly productive form of cultivation. 

Benefits of Chinampa system of Agriculture

Chinampas provide a series of desirable ecosystem services – water filtration, regulation of water level and microclimate regulations. It also benefit by greenhouse gas sequestration, increase biodiversity along with being highly sustainable.  

Chinampa is an less input demanding and intensive production system, which is very much compatible with the present goals of urban agriculture. Thus we should emphasize high-tech solutions along with learn from the achievements of our ancestors.


Ancient Aztec farming technique could aid urban agriculture. 

Chinampas: What they are, how they work, and why they matter today more than ever. 

Chinampa system in Mexico

Ancient Aztec chinampas hold promise for urban agriculture – Laureen Fagan

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Om


  2. Aparajita Dwivedi

    Wow, Interesting

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