Crop failure. Famine. Starvation.
For most Americans, these words maintain some meaning, but mostly in a historical context. With an abundant food supply, we hardly recognize the reality of such things, and consider it only something that happens in other parts of the world. Even in 2012, when many farmers suffered through a drought, most consumers likely did not even notice, aside from needing to water their lawns more often. If anything, they may have experienced negligible price increases at the grocery store.
But for much of human history, the reality of crop failure, famine, and starvation was front and center, and many significant historical events shaping politics and world governments resulted from food shortages.
Of course, with today being St. Patrick’s Day, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on one of those crop failures that changed the course of history — the Great Potato Famine.
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[This article was originally published on AGDAILY as a guest column.]