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The Chacra MIL project is an initiative of MATER to get closer to our neighbors in the communities of Mullak’as Misminay and K’acllaraccay in Moray, where MIL is located.

The MIL farm is a research center for ancestral crops of 1.39 hectares, located at 3,540 m.a.s.l., where we experiment with different cultivable species, maintaining the customs of our ancestors, in collaboration with the people who love diversified and regenerative agriculture in Moray.

Weeding of the native potato fields

In Inca times, water management and agricultural activities were directed by the panakas and organized among the various communities, ayllus established in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In the ayllus, community and agricultural subsistence work was carried out with methods based on reciprocity, better known as “ayni”.

The Incas who lived in Moray and frequently experimented in the agricultural laboratory assigned fixed dates for sowing, ploughing, irrigation and harvesting of different crops, according to the “Inca Agricultural Calendar” which is represented in the work “First New Chronicle and Good Government” by the chronicler Phelipe Guamán Poma de Ayala.

In the Inca’s agricultural calendar, the new season began in August, when the plowing of agricultural land and the early planting of corn and potatoes, known as “maway”, took place.

Farm plowing in August.
Source: Guamán Poma, F. (1615).

Currently, in the more humid and irrigated farms in the communities surrounding Moray, maway farming is still practiced. Meanwhile, in Mater, water flow is limited and rainfall is scarce, making maway difficult in August. However, during this month, Andean grains are harvested and seeds are selected for planting during the following season.

During the Inca period, there was limited rainfall in November, so the farms were irrigated with water from wells and irrigation ditches. In Mater during October and November, they began to sow and plant the different Andean tubers and grains that were preserved, such as native potatoes, oca, mashua, ulluco, corn, quinoa, kiwicha, kañiwa, tarwi and beans, in their different varieties.

Likewise, in the immemorial times of the Incas, there was a great diversity of cultivated species among which are useful plants used in food, such as kuñuka, muña, roqoto, wakatay, mutuy, awaimantu, airampo, sach’a tomato, cucumber, melon, corn, among others.

The indicated crops were part of the daily diet of the communities, and when working on the farm it is essential to consume haqha, which is part of the culture and customs.

People from the K’accllaraccay and Mullak’as – Misminay communities participate in the agricultural work of the MIL farm, from the plowing of the land to the harvest, they are organized in specialized agricultural committees, with their respective board of directors led by the president of the committee, and according to the need, they rotate in each job during the phenology of the crops installed in our farm. This system works as the Ayni, understood as reciprocity within a community.

Incorporation of a mixture of organic fertilizers during planting on the farm.

When the plants have reached physiological maturity. In the months of May and June, harvesting takes place. In the case of Andean grains, the first step is to cut the stalk with all the seeds and panicle, known as “kallchay”. The purpose of this activity is to dehydrate the stalks, exposing them directly to the sun’s rays to facilitate shelling and obtaining seeds, during the venting.

Andean tubers harvest in June
Source: Guamán Poma, F. (1615).

When the harvest is done, the people in the field feel blessed and happy to have healthy products at their disposal.

The result of the harvests is distributed and shared with relatives who live in villages far from the farm.

At MIL, we start harvest time with a lot of enthusiasm, as the products are distributed 50% to us and 50% to both communities. Our 50% goes to the gastronomic proposal and to continue building our seedbed, rescuing with each campaign, which crops were the most prosperous.


Chacra: from Quechua “chaqra”, area of cultivated and/or arable agricultural land.
Panakas: nobles by blood, descendants of the Incas.
Haqha: Chicha de Jora

Rudy Puma
Mater team author

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