Preserving Potato Diversity in Peru

by AMNH on

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Between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago, local people in South America’s Andes Mountains bred a poisonous plant into edible potatoes. Thousands of kinds of potatoes still grow in the Andes, and different spots on the mountains—whether high or low, sunny or shady—have potatoes suited to that location.

Peru Potato Jim Richardson
Thousands of kinds of traditional potato varieties are grown in the Andes Mountains of South America.
© Jim Richardson

But climate change as well as urbanization mean that potato-farmers there face new challenges. With help from Lima’s International Potato Center, Andean farmers are preserving potato diversity to protect this critical food source against these threats, as this new video evocatively reveals.

Learn more about Andean potato diversity in the exhibition all about food, Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture, now open at the Museum.