This past quarter I decided to change things up in my classes and look more closely at grassroots movements and resistance outside the United States. I had never studied Latin America and have found the culture surrounding food in the Americas fascinating. The work being done in Latin America surrounding fair trade, shade grown, the banning of GE products, co-ops and more is phenomenal. I feel because more money is spent on food by people in lower socioeconomic groups, these are the people the most aware of food politics and the centrality of food to life.
I specifically wanted to focus on the recent banning of GE products from Peru in a record setting case placing a moratorium on all GE products for the next ten years. I wanted to include information on the centrality of the potato to Peruvian culture as well. While there has not been a GE potato developed at this point, I believe the immense importance of preserving the biodiversity of this central crop to Peruvian culture played into the involvement of Peruvian farmers and peasants in the resistance movement against Monsanto and other GE corporations.
While this tuber may seem humble in many ways, it is of vital importance to cultures, food sources, economies and biodiversity. It became the nickname for a war, caused a tragic famine and secondary massive migration of Irish immigrants and is an incredibly popular children's toy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Potato_Head). The potato is not humble by any stretch of the imagination!