Potatoes are an easy to grow staple for northern people and with rising temperatures and lengthening growing seasons have the potential to be a key element of food sustainability. We are investigating the practice of growing potatoes in difficult northern climates with the intent of sharing information from northern growers and perhaps eventually identifying potato varieties that can provide a viable source of food.
Global surface air temperatures have increased more than 1C since pre-industrial times, however northern latitude temperatures have increased significantly more. This on-going warming in the north points to markedly improved potential for growing food in northern communities, many of which depend on import of food from the south.
What can we learn from people who are growing potatoes at high latitudes around the world?
We plan to search for and obtain specific grower information for northern and high elevation sites around the world and make that information available on our website. We hope that by sharing this practical expertise we can provide instructions to those living in marginal climates especially in Canada. By doing so we aim to show that northern communities can develop their own ability to provide a basic food staple despite unpredictable and changing weather and climates. We also hope that through our out-reach we may discover potato varieties suited for these conditions and make them more widely available. Remarkable as it may seem, potatoes are now grown on a small scale even in Greenland.