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Fun Facts About Potatoes

August 19th is National Potato Day. This simple vegetable is the fourth largest food crop in the world with an interesting history.

The potato was first cultivated by the Inca Indians about 8000 BC and made its way to Europe, North America and most recently outer space.

In October of 1995 the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Columbia grew potatoes. They used a combination of an agriculture technique from China and controlled environment technologies developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The goal was to develop growing systems for feeding astronauts on long space journeys and eventually feeding future space colonies.

One medium size potato is only 110 calories. It is high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, B6 and iron.

So take a moment to appreciate your next side of potatoes.

A bit more information: Growing potatoes and other plants is not just about the food supply. They also help replenish oxygen and remove excess carbon dioxide from the air. For more on potatoes grown in space visit the NASA website for Space Spuds to the Rescue

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