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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El maguey o metl en náhuatl es el nombre común que reciben las plantas del género Agave. Originario del alti- plano mexicano, sobrevive en las zonas áridas y semiári- das gracias a su capacidad de conservar agua. Cultivado en el sistema de milpa puede ser utilizado como comida, medicina, combustible, alimento para los animales, abo- no y también como material de construcción o fibra. Las plantas son grandes, suculentas y alcanzan su madurez entre los 7 y 25 años para producir aguamiel (savia ve- getal de maguey) la cual es extraída y fermentada para elaborar una bebida altamente nutritiva y ligeramente alcohólica conocida como pulque. Esta bebida y otros derivados del maguey proporcionan altas cantidades de proteínas, vitaminas y aminoácidos esenciales.

Con el fin de preservar la biodiversidad y promover la cultura del maguey, Slow Food es- tableció en 2016 el Baluarte del maguey del Altiplano Mexicano, en el marco del proyecto “Slow Food y red de Terra Madre en México: Acciones y proyecciones en la lucha contra la pobreza rural y la desigualdad a través de la promoción y puesta en valor del patrimonio local de alimentos”. El Baluarte está integrado por diferentes familias y cooperativas de productores de tlachique, pulque, jarabe de maguey y destilado de pulque de los estados de Puebla y Tlaxcala. Sin embargo, buscan vincularse con más productores que interesen sumarse a la red de este Baluarte. Estos productores tienen el interés en desarrollar en conjunto un protocolo de producción sustentable con conocimientos tradicionales e innovadores que fomenten la preservación y promoción biocultural del maguey. El proto- colo de producción promoverá principios de un sistema agrícola sustentable basado en el complemento entre maguey y la milpa; fomentará el cultivo de diferentes especies o variedades de maguey pulquero sin basarse en monocultivo y propondrá técnicas de valor agregado que sean favorables con el medio ambiente.

Productores
6 productores de la empresa familiar Sainz, 8 productores de la empresa familiar Del Magueyal y 380 productores asociados en la Sociedad de Desarrollo Agropecuarios del Altiplano

Baluarte apoyado por
Ford Foundation

En colaboración con
Comida Lenta A.C.
Slow Food Tlaxcala

Responsables del Baluarte
Isela Aurea Isla de Sanchez
tel. +52 1 7491049593, iislasm_67@hotmail.com

Joel Martín Pichardo Rico
tel. +52 1 2223477495, pulcatta@hotmail.com

Adriana Ortiz Nolasco
tel. +52 1 2461354075, delmagueyal@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
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

Territory

StateMexico