Saturday, May 9, 2009

Potato Diversity in the City

Only a fraction of the native potatoes make it to the markets in the cities. Many of the varietes I saw and ate in Choppca are grown only by a few families for their household consumption.
Studies by a number of researchers have shown no genetic erosion in the native potatoes in many parts of the Andes. However, some believe the area which many of the native varieties are grown on has shrunk greatly.
Every family I interviewed grew both monoculture fields of modern varieties and mixed fields of their native varieties. Everyone I spoke to was passionate about continuing to grow their native diversity for flavor, strength, ceremonies, starchiness, and diverese uses.
One thing is for sure, the large majority of the Andean potato varieties are kept alive only by the passion and love of a few farmers.

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