Saturday, March 17, 2012

In the general theme of the day... (and because a Facebook friend brought it to my attention)

The real Irish American story

The history of the Irish Potato Famine

I haven't heard of the "lazy bed" method of planting potatoes before, but not only does it not sounds all that lazy (peeling up and turning sod over is a lot of work!), but it sounds efficient and clever.

I've heard people say that the potato famine was due not only to monoculture (I have no idea how they managed to plant only potatoes in the same soil for so long without running into major problems before this- even in home gardens, you're not supposed to replant in the same ground twice in a row) not only of a crop but of the variety, the Lumper potato. Details on this topic While I would agree wholeheartedly that monoculture is dangerous, particularly when we're talking about a single variety, and that biodiversity is crucial to food security and sustainability, I am unconvinced that planting even ten different varieties of potato would have prevented the famine. Other varieties may or may not have been susceptible to the blight, and even the ones that were not would not have been sufficient to prevent widespread catastrophe, considering the degree to which the people were being oppressed by the English. These people could have survived and done far better they they did, had they been allowed to eat the grains they were producing.

All in all, a pretty horrible story....and a lesson in why food production and security need to be both diverse and localized...
Still reading on the topic. This was a fucking holocaust! Why do we not hear the full story about this in school? This was about so much more than a potato disease.

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