Our time of COVID has brought challenges, especially to those who have become ill or lost businesses or jobs. If you’re among them, I extend my thoughts and wishes that you recover soon.
Meanwhile, for some of us this pandemic has been an encouragement to try something new and conservationist. Like growing potatoes. Just as extravagances of dress or travel feel inappropriate in this period, so does fancy food. So a month into lockdown, I got the urge to grow potatoes. I sourced garden bags, dirt, and organic seedings, found a how-to online video, and began my farming adventure. It resulted in some beautiful red edibles, as you see in the image above.
Potatoes are elemental food -- nutritious, hearty, and easy to grow. They contain not only carbohydrates but also micronutrients and even some high-quality protein, say researchers at McMaster University. That’s why spuds have been staple sustenance in so many cultures over time. And it’s why these tubers anchored meals in numerous combatant countries during World War II.
As I am documenting in my upcoming book Mobilize Food! Wartime Lessons for Environmental Victory Today, as part of sweeping policy changes to make food systems more resilient, British citizens were urged to grow and eat potatoes. That would allow the nation to save bread, which needed imports of flour. The British national Ministry of Food actually had a Potato Division that successfully encouraged consumers to dig potatoes for victory. As you see in the image above, Potato Pete played a role.
There’s a lot of food wisdom in wartime eating, which I'm sure will inspire you as it has inspired me. Watch this blog for news of the book's publication and availability.
McMaster University. "Potato Power: Spuds Serve High Quality Protein That's Good for Women's Muscle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200505121719.htm