Tuesday, February 03, 2009

How the potato changed European history

and thus the world (from Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire):
Since fewer hands were needed to farm it, the potato also allowed the countryside to feed northern Europe's growing and industrializing cities. Europe's center of political gravity had always been anchored firmly in the hot, sunny south, where wheat grew reliably; without the potato, the balance of European power might never have titled north.

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