Going to Tend the Milpa

Going to Tend the Milpa

This photos was taken on the outskirts of Volcán de Agua where many people have milpas and orchards. Besides the obvious corn plantations, the campesinos also grow rábano (radish), yuca (cassava), camote (sweet potato) and yerbas (herbs).

As explained before in the archives of AntiguaDailyPhoto, the term milpa refers normally to a maize field, but it is so much more. In a milpa field there a dozen crops at once: maize, avocados, multiple kinds of squash, chiles (hot pepper chilli), beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, camotes (sweet potatoes), jicama (a tuber also known as sengkwang, yam bean, singkamas, Mexican turnip), amaranth (also called pigweeds) and mucuma (a tropical legume). “Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary.” said Charles C. Mann in his book 1491. H. Garrison Wilkes, a maize researcher at University of Massachusetts in Boston is quoted in the same book, “The milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created.”

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