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Making Fish Tamales From Mexico City’s Floating Gardens

Beatriz Rangel Nuñez and her family have been farming produce from the ancient agricultural system for decades

“I have lived all my life in the fields, working in the Chinampas, sowing, for many generations. For me, the Chinampas equal life.”

In Mexico City, Xochimilco’s floating gardens, also referred to as “Chinampas,” are a Mesoamerican agriculture system built by the Aztecs. For many generations, Beatriz Rangel Nuñez and her family have been farming produce from the gardens to sell in the markets of Mexico City.

Using produce from the rich floating gardens and an open fire, Nuñez and her family make a number of dishes that date back to ancient times, like milpa soup (a vegetable soup made of squash flower, squash, mushroom, corn, and spinach), fish tamales, and purslane in green tomatillo salsa.

“For me, the Chinampas are the most important thing in my life. Because, well, we have lived off of them for generation after generation,” says Nuñez “...and I tell my children we have to take care of it, it’s up to us to take care of it...I would not like the Chinampas to be lost.”

You can support the preservation of the Chinampas here.


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