Maize, coca, beans, grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, ulluco, oca, mashwa, pepper, tomatoes, peanuts, cashews, squash, cucumber, quinoa, gourd, cotton, talwi, carob, chirimoya, lcuma, guayabo, and avocado were among the crops that were farmed across the Inca Empire.
(Graber 2011) Since South America was the location of Inca settlements (see Figure 1), the growing season in that region would have been quite short. It was advantageous for the Inca to be able to cultivate many crops at the same time.
At its height, the Inca Empire extended across a vast region that included a variety of climatic zones. This was one of the empire’s defining characteristics. The Incas had access to a diverse range of food kinds over the whole territory of their empire, from the coast to the Andean mountains to the tropical rainforests in the east.
Up to an altitude of 3200 meters, generally, and 3500 meters in ideal areas, maize was the primary crop that was produced. Cotton was an important crop in the region close to the Pacific Ocean and could be produced at heights of up to approximately 1,500 meters.
In addition to vegetables like beans and squash, corn (sometimes spelled maize) served as the primary staple item in their diet. Potatoes and a very fine grain known as quinoa were two of the most prevalent crops cultivated by the Incas.
CROPS OF THE INCA Quinoa, potatoes, and corn were the Inca people’s primary food sources, but they also employed a wide variety of other plants for medical purposes.
They produced hardy varieties of crops including potatoes, quinoa, and corn, among others. They constructed water storage cisterns as well as irrigation canals that zigzagged and slanted their way down and around the mountains. In addition to this, they hacked terraces into the hillside, beginning in the lowlands and working their way up the slopes.
The Inca Empire was founded on a foundation of grain and dung. According to a recent study, the seeds of the Inca Empire were planted approximately 2,700 years ago in the highlands of the South American Andes when a warm spell combined with piles of llama excrement allowed maize agriculture to take root at that altitude. This event ultimately led to the rise of the Inca Empire.
It is thought that the Inca civilization was the first to plant potatoes in the Andes mountain region, which is approximately 3,800 meters higher in elevation than the sea level. Around the lake, wild potato plants already thrived, and groups of Inca farmers started domesticating the potato and learning how to store this hardy vegetable.
They considered the Incas to be archaic, and because of this, they coerced the indigenous people of the Andes to switch from the crops that they had relied on for thousands of years to European varieties such as wheat, barley, and carrots.
The Inca civilization is famous for many things, including the creation of the largest empire that the Americas have ever seen, the development of innovative agricultural techniques, and the development of art and architecture that were notable for their unique combination of geometric stonework and natural scenery.
Although it is a member of the amaranth family and is therefore more closely related to spinach or turnips, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), which originates in South America, is sometimes referred to as the rice of the Incas. This is despite the fact that quinoa is a member of the amaranth family.
Fish, grains, and vegetables were the primary components of Inca agriculture and cuisine; nonetheless, meat was consumed when it was available. Meat was offered in the markets of Inca cities as a pleasure on occasion and as an excellent source of supplemental protein. In several parts of the world, people used to hunt wild animals for their flesh.
Research at Mount Pleasant focuses on beans, corn, and squash, which are sometimes referred to together as the ″three sisters.″ Polyculture is the term used by agronomists to describe the method by which these mainstays of Iroquois cropping are historically produced together on a same plot, imitating the natural systems that exist.