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Farmers' BountyLocating Crop Diversity in the Contemporary World$
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Stephen B. Brush

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100495

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100495.001.0001

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The Ethnoecology of Crop Diversity in Andean Potato Agriculture

The Ethnoecology of Crop Diversity in Andean Potato Agriculture

(p.98) 5 The Ethnoecology of Crop Diversity in Andean Potato Agriculture
Farmers' Bounty

Stephen B. Brush

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the ethnobiology of Andean potatoes as an example of how anthropological research can contribute to an overall understanding of the ecology and evolution of a crop in its center of origin, emphasizing Andean ethnobotany of potato diversity. The Andean knowledge system of potatoes far exceeds a simple catalog of varieties and includes terminology for the crop's agricultural and social ecology. The chapter reveals that the ethnobiology of the potato crop emphasizes diversity at the infraspecific or variety level, an emphasis to which Andean categories such as production zones and types of potato all contribute. This case study is representative of several others on the maintenance of traditional crops in centers of agricultural origins in the face of economic and technological change in agriculture. These studies document the resilience of traditional crops, like the cultures that have produced and nurtured them.

Keywords:   ethnobiology, Andean potatoes, anthropological research, ethnobotany, potato diversity

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