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Family agriculture for bottom-up rural development: a case study of the indigenous Mayan population in the Mexican Peninsula
Since pre-colonial times the indigenous communities of Mayan origin in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, widely practice home gardens on a sustainable basis as the principal form of family agriculture. This study analyzes the structural complexity, functional diversity and management strategy of these indigenous home gardens in order to attempt to propose recommendations for improved family farming. The Mayan home gardens are structured into three or more vertical layers of multiple plant species of herbs, shrubs and trees, and horizontally into well-defined zones for production of both domestic and wild animals. The home gardens provide multiple services apart from food and nutrition security. For sustainable bottom-up rural development, we recommend the continuation of multifunctional home gardens.