Mexican Plateau Agave

Mexico

Distilled and fermented beverages

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

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Mexican Plateau Agave

Agave, known as maguey in Mexico (from metl in the Nahuatl language), is a plant native to the Central Mexican Plateau. According to some experts, its presence within the milpa agricultural system (based on the intercropping of corn, beans, pumpkins and dozens of other plants) in the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican highlands represented a strategy for survival as important as the adoption of livestock rearing by the ancient civilizations of Asia, Africa and Europe. Many of Mexico’s indigenous and mestizo peoples have also used agave as food, medicine, fuel, animal feed, fertilizer, construction material, fiber, decoration, and more.
Agave has stiff, gray-green leaves with spines that can reach up to two meters in length. Its unusual metabolism means it can survive in arid and semi-arid environments: The plant “breathes” and retains water during the night, then closes its pores during the day to avoid the loss of the precious liquid, also helped by its waxy surface.
Between the ages of 7 and 25 years, agave plants produce a sap (aguamiel) which is extracted and fermented into pulque, a nutritious and slightly alcoholic beverage. And for more than 7,000 years, tribes of hunters and gatherers have been chewing the leaves that have the highest sugar content.
Unfortunately, the different varieties of agave and the traditional knowledge connected to them are rapidly disappearing, and traditional foods are being increasingly replaced by industrial products that seem cheaper and more accessible.

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The Presidium was started in 2016 to preserve the biodiversity and culture of agave in the Mexican Plateau, as part of the project “Slow Food and the Terra Madre Network in Mexico: actions and prospects in the fight against rural poverty and inequality through the promotion and value of the local food heritage.” The Presidium unites many fami- lies and cooperatives of producers of pulque, agave syrup and pulque distillates in the Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. The objectives include attracting a larger number of producers and drafting a production protocol.
The protocol will promote the principles of a sustainable agricultural system based on the presence of maguey in the milpa, the cultivation of different species or varieties of agave in contrast to recently imposed monocultures and the promotion of techniques for the environmentally friendly creation of agave products.

Production area
Central Mexican Plateau, Puebla and Tlaxcala states

Presidium supported by
Ford Foundation

In collaboration with
Comida Lenta A.C.
Slow Food Tlaxcala
6 members of the Sainz family business, 8 members of the Del Magueyal business and 380 producers joined in the Sociedad de Desarrollo Agropecuario del Altiplano (Plateau Agricultural Development Society)
Slow Food Presidium Coordinators
Isela Aurea Isla de Sanchez
tel. +57 7491049593
Iislasm_67@hotmail.com

Joel Martín Pichardo Rico
tel. +57 2223477495
pulcatta@hotmail.com
The Presidium was started in 2016 to preserve the biodiversity and culture of agave in the Mexican Plateau, as part of the project “Slow Food and the Terra Madre Network in Mexico: actions and prospects in the fight against rural poverty and inequality through the promotion and value of the local food heritage.” The Presidium unites many fami- lies and cooperatives of producers of pulque, agave syrup and pulque distillates in the Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. The objectives include attracting a larger number of producers and drafting a production protocol.
The protocol will promote the principles of a sustainable agricultural system based on the presence of maguey in the milpa, the cultivation of different species or varieties of agave in contrast to recently imposed monocultures and the promotion of techniques for the environmentally friendly creation of agave products.

Production area
Central Mexican Plateau, Puebla and Tlaxcala states

Presidium supported by
Ford Foundation

In collaboration with
Comida Lenta A.C.
Slow Food Tlaxcala
6 members of the Sainz family business, 8 members of the Del Magueyal business and 380 producers joined in the Sociedad de Desarrollo Agropecuario del Altiplano (Plateau Agricultural Development Society)
Slow Food Presidium Coordinators
Isela Aurea Isla de Sanchez
tel. +57 7491049593
Iislasm_67@hotmail.com

Joel Martín Pichardo Rico
tel. +57 2223477495
pulcatta@hotmail.com