Everybody—pretty much---knows about the Irish Potato Famine being caused by a potato blight (“Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete or water mold that causes the serious potato disease known as late blight or potato blight” W). During The Great Hunger one in eight Irish people died.
roughly, a million) and another million immigrated to the U.S. all because of a one crop agriculture based on one kind of potato only. (Called Lumpen potatoes) Had they grown several different kinds, the Famine would not have occurred. Most of us know about the Famine, but the fact that it was based on only one kind of potato ( monoculture) is crucial. If a variety of different kinds had been planted-some would have survived. see
Many of us ( with Irish genes) know the English were not much help to the Irish at this time. (Queen Victoria, for one, was later accused of being actively opposed to the helping the starving Irish for economic reasons having to do with protecting English grain prices. Actually she gave them 25,000 lbs of her own money.She got angry with the Irish later on about something else entirely ---- spurning a memorial to Prince Albert.)
beans! See Marcella Hazan
http://www.seasonalchef.com/recipe0506b.htm#Young Root-Vegetable Braise. She's one of the worlds great cooks.