Today’s Solutions: October 26, 2021

By 2050, the UN thinks there will be nearly 10 billion people on planet Earth, with 68 percent living in urban areas. Both numbers pose serious questions as to how we’ll feed the growing, urbanizing population, which is why there’s new research exploring whether traditional farming techniques could hold one answer to feeding the cities of the future. Thus far, traditions that date back to the Aztec civilization seem to be the most effective.

Called chinampas, these low-tech agricultural practices involve raised fields built on artificial islands that benefit from an ingenious surrounding irrigation system. Often fed by a network of canals and dikes, these farming islands are touted to have “better drainage, soil aeration, moisture retention during the dry season, and higher and longer-term soil fertility than in conventional outdoor production”.

They date back to the Aztec period between 1325 and 1521 and are believed to be incredibly efficient in terms of water regulation, as well as boosting biodiversity and carbon storage. Wherever they are feasible, chinampa-like systems can contribute to local, urban food production, reducing environmentally-dirty transport needs and even pesticides.

Today there are thought to be several examples of small farms applying chinampa systems across Latin America, while related raised field approaches are being tried as far afield as Indonesia and Bangladesh. In the latter case, it’s hoped to farm on artificial floating islands, held afloat by second-hand plastic containers, that could contribute to the food supply in the face of the climate crisis.

While more research is needed into how to build large-scale chinampas across the world, these traditional farming techniques could be one of the answers to the emerging challenges posed by fast urbanization.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

6 Foods for eye health that aren’t carrots

These days, many of us spend a lot of time straining our eyes by staring at screens. Unfortunately, cutting back on screen time may be difficult, especially if work demands that we work on our ... Read More

This wooden steak knife is three times stronger than steel

Scientists from the University of Maryland may have discovered a more eco-friendly alternative to ceramics and stainless steel for our knives and nails by figuring out how to chemically alter wood so that it can ... Read More

Newly discovered properties of cannabis could help prevent seizures

Cannabis has been used to battle against disease throughout history, with the component cannabidiol (CBD) becoming an accepted treatment for many disorders including epilepsy, anxiety, and more. However, cannabis contains many other cannabinoids which have ... Read More

Candy to costumes: 6 ways to make your Halloween more sustainable

Halloween is just around the corner, and many families are excited to celebrate the holiday in full force for the first time in two years. Last year we shared how to sustainably dispose of post-holiday ... Read More

These crafty activists flock together and stitch canaries for climate change

Over the past few months, residents in the UK would have had the chance to spot more than 70 “flocks” of UK crafters that have been gathering across the nation as a way to encourage ... Read More

The future of eco-friendly laundry detergent is in dissolvable sheets

While laundry pods are supposed to be biodegradable, wastewater treatment plants often don’t have the capacity to create the necessary conditions to dissolve them. As a result, the material in question (polyvinyl alcohol) typically ends ... Read More