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Terrace Farming. Chinchero, Peru. | by Shawn Harquail
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Terrace Farming. Chinchero, Peru.

Peru has some of the tallest and steepest mountains in the world, yet the Incas were able to harvest crops from them. Who did they do it? With terrace farming, an ancient sustainable farming technique popular in mountainous terrains like Peru, some Asian countries and the Mediterranean. They were cared in rock, filled with gravel and sand for drainage, and topped with soil. Terraces snaked around the mountains to help retain the heat from the sun, preventing frost through cold nights. They also ensured proper drainage and watering of all crops via a gravity-fed watering system. In the 1400s, at the peak of the Incan civilization, the system of terraces covered about a million hectares throughout Peru and fed a vast empire.

 

Some inhabitants of the Peruvian hilltops continue the sustainable farming practices of their ancestors. They grow up to sixteen different varieties of crops including corn, beans, potatoes, barley and quinoa.

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Taken on September 30, 2014