Xochimilco is the home of the intensive agricultural practice in which farmers build beds from the fertile soil of shallow lakes in the central valley of Mexico. These highly productive beds (chinampas) have supported the densely populated valley since before the days of the Aztec empire. Today, however, they and their caretakers, the chinamperos, confront the onslaught of Mexico City, the world’s largest megalopolis. The challenges run the gamut from the channeling of the aquifers to the city; the increasing salinity and polluting of the water that remains; the spread of squatters, themselves recent migrants from their own ancestral lands; and the conversion of nearby farms and forest into recreational homes and golf courses for the urban elite.

An equal challenge of conceptualization confronts the principal author and her collaborators from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Unidad Xochimilco. They are determined to avoid...

You do not currently have access to this content.