Ancestral Mexica Farming: A Comparative Yield Analysis from the 1500s

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $8,908.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: [email protected]
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Pantaleon Florez, III
Maseualkaulli Farms

Information Products


  • Agronomic: corn


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, no-till, varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, renewable energy, No Fossil Fuel Machinery
  • Farm Business Management: apprentice/intern training, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, land access
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: biological control, cultivation, cultural control
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, local and regional food systems, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains

    Proposal summary:

    Access to Mexica ancestral knowledge is currently undergoing a renaissance in its availability to the public. The Florentine Codex, written between 1540 and 1585, is one of the most authoritative accounts of Nahua (Aztec) life shortly after the Landing at Veracruz by Spanish Conquistadors. Book 11 of the series is titled Earthy Things and contains information on indigenous foods and maize planting methods. This study will provide a comparative yield analysis between this account and current no-till best practices. Additionally, this study will provide two University of Kansas undergraduate researchers an experience for hands on learning, an introduction to farming, and event coordination. Additional goals of the study include increasing maize crop diversity, increasing public access to indigenous foods, and investigating potential scalability and marketability. The North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) in Ames, Iowa has already provided the germplasms for this trail based on this research proposal. Results will be shared via social media, on public and private farm tours, and directly to NCRPIS.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project aims to investigate maize yield capacities in a comparative study of ancient and modern no-till growing techniques. Additionally, this project will provide a living museum to demonstrate ancestral planting techniques to the public. This project will also investigate the marketability of dent corn, and assist in efforts to increase diversity in commercially available maize. Findings will also be open-sourced via social media, workshops, and to the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa. If funded, this project will also give two undergraduate researchers the opportunity for hands-on learning, farming, and event coordination.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.