Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Floating gardens of the Aztecs.

Centuries ago the Aztec created a intricate system of canals and waterways to farm enough to feed a population of about 1 million. No modern technology just adapting and utilizing the environment to meet their needs.

A more scholarly description can be found here.
How the Aztec Empire fed the burgeoning population of its capital, Tenochtitlan, has long intrigued researchers. Most of Tenochtitlan’s estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inhabitants at the time of Spanish contact were not food producers. The system, known as chinampas, of draining swamps and building up fields in the shallow Basin of Mexico lakebeds, was a remarkable form of intensive agriculture that Jeffrey Parsons of the University of Michigan suggests provided one-half to two-thirds of the food consumed in Tenochtitlan.

It is quite impressive that so many people were fed without being subsistence farmers.
Keeping a historical perspective on agriculture can often teach more than just scientific research into better plant varieties and fertilizers.

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