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Re: [pfaf] 7th Hampshire Potato day Jan 29 & 30 2005 - Forwarded

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  • Anna Fraser
    Great to hear about the Potato Day and I hope very much that the excellent idea of holding such an event will spread and take place in all corners of the
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 12, 2004
      Great to hear about the Potato Day and I hope very much that the excellent idea of holding such an event will spread and take place in all corners of the country. Wonder if all you potato growers have heard of a book called "The Botany of Desire: A Plants eye view of the world" by Michael Pollan (2001), which I would highly recommend as a really well written book, a quarter of which is dedicated to the history ( etc.) of growing potatoes. Good read for those wintry nights.
      The book explores the idea of co-evolution between plants and their users. Plants have evolved intelligently to make use of other creatures to help to propagate them. Bees and the flowers who attract them are a good example and us humans of course. Do many plants respond to human growers by developing qualities which we particularly like and desire, such as sweet juicy apples, amazing flowers, mind bending bud and as buttery tasting potatoes?
      Michael Pollan, an enthousiastic gardener himself, explores this theme by researching the history of the apple, the tulip, the cannabis plant and the potato. Not only does he explore the issues around GM potatoes, but there are also some interesting insights in potato farming in its native South American mountains and the extraordinary influence the potato had on Ireland. First allowing it to expand its population due to this new staple food which could be grown so relatively easily in the coldish damp climate, then the event of the famine when the blight struck the "lumper", which was alas the only potato variety grown and very susceptible.
      If we ever would have to depend mostly on our own home-produced food in the British Isles in a post-oil era, the potato would probably be called upon to fulfil a key role. Having a large amount of different varieties is a real treasure.
      Anna Fraser
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 10:06 PM
      Subject: [pfaf] 7th Hampshire Potato day Jan 29 & 30 2005 - Forwarded

      Forwarded message

      Forgive me if you consider this an intrusion, but I have found your e-mail
      address on the internet as being connected with a gardening group and wanted
      to let you know about the 7th Hampshire Potato Day.

      If you haven't heard of Potato Days before, they were started by the HDRA
      (the UK's largest organic gardening group) over 10 years ago with the aim of
      keeping as many varieties of potato available to the public. The Hampshire
      event has had 6 successful years and had just over 1,000 visitors earlier
      this year.

      Full details of the day are on my group's website at
      http://www.hhdra.org.uk/potatoday.htm but in outline we will have over 120
      varieties of potato for sale (with some 25 or so of the varieties also
      available as organically grown seed tubers), the bags are open so you can
      buy as little as 1 tuber (priced <15p each) to try something new, or (if you
      know what you want) there are also 2.5kg nets. We are not trying to compete
      with allotment trading huts and similar organisations, rather to make some
      other varieties available to members of groups that they would not otherwise
      find on sale. We have had coach trips from groups around the South and they
      all seem to enjoy the occasion.

      As the group makes no profit from the potato sales, we have to charge for
      entry (£2 per adult) to cover the cost of hiring the hall but, to make the
      day into an event, we have an expert on hand who grows nearly 400 varieties
      (and has an RHS Gold Medal for his displays), talks from a lecturer at
      Sparsholt Agricultural and Horticultural College and (potato) cookery
      demonstrations. We have activities for children to keep them occupied while
      Mum/Dad are busy and this year we have a free red/white smiling potato for
      each of them (there's a picture on the website). There are stalls with other
      items of (we think) interest and a large selection of beans and pea seeds
      and onion and shallot sets.

      The event takes place in Whitchurch, Hampshire, just off the A34 so we're
      easy to get to, between 10am and 3pm on 29th and 30th January 2005.

      Thank you for your time.

      Phil Cooper
      01256 893264

      If you don't want to hear any more about the Hampshire Potato Day please
      just send this email back and I won't bother you again

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