Monday, July 21, 2008

No Longer a Small Potato

For years, the potato has been an integral part of the global food system, serving as the world's number one non-grain food commodity. Now, as food shortages around the world become more prevalent, and the price of other staple foods like wheat, maize, and rice skyrocket, the humble spud is becoming an even more important player in the international fight against hunger. That's why the United Nations has decided to give the potato its rightful due, by naming 2008 the International Year of the Potato:

The aim of the International Year of the Potato is two-fold: to raise awareness about the crucial role of the potato in agriculture and economic security around the world, especially in developing nations, and to promote sustainable potato-based systems which would provide nutritious food for present and future generations. Other organizations besides the UN are also using YouTube to pitch in and meet these objectives. For example, the Idaho Potato Commission recently launched "ITuber Take," a contest which invited potato aficionados to create and submit YouTube videos about potatoes:

In celebration, other YouTube users are offering practical advice, like expertvillage, who is educating others on how to plant, grow, and harvest potatoes, and chefs Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough, authors of the Ultimate Potato book, who demonstrate an easy recipe for Indian potato curry.

In, ahem, starch contrast, if you're in the mood for a little music, you can enjoy Potato 2008 by reveling in the melodic stylings of this potato choir, which received RocketBoom recognition, or watch the classic "My Name is Potato" video performed by Italian songstress Rita Pavone. And if you like your baked potato with sour cream, chives, and a dash of the ridiculous, you may want to explore this "Conan O'Brien"-led potato dance posse, which puts Michael Flatley to shame.

For more on how YouTube users are taking this opportunity to celebrate their carb-laden pal, take a look at the full playlist of "YouTuberlicious" videos:


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