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Promoting Vegetable Diversity in Mexico City

Games with quelites, supported by the McKnight Foundation.  Credit: UNAM (2005)

Game packs using Quelites, project of sponsorship
by the McKnight Foundation. Credit: UNAM (2005).

Mexican vegetables known as 'quelites' are highly nutritious and cost less than other vegetables. They have been traditionally used by Mexicans in this area, and were noted by the first European visitors to the continent in the 16th century. Unfortunately, documented information about quelitos has been forgotten in cities due to factors such as difficulty of access to them, lack knowledge about their preparation, lack of time available for housewives to prepare them, and (importantly) that they are considered a food of low social status.

Following the analysis of this problem, staff at UNAM Botanic Garden, Mexico City, designed a long term educational project. This project included the support of many institutions including governmental, educational, and NGOs. The objectives of this project were to increase awareness about the quelitos, and to rescue them and promote them for the nutritional benefit of Mexicans. For 16 years various groups have been involved in the programmes, and as a direct result, in city restaurants you can now taste dishes that include these vegetables.

Source: Linares et al (2006).

This information is taken from an article featured in Roots education review. Access to the latest issues of Roots is an exclusive benefit of membership. Please click here to discover more about Roots.