How about a nice side of potatoes next time you send out for Kung Pao chicken? Doesn't sound that appetizing does it? In China, where the agricultural system is being impacted by pollution, water shortages and industrialization, there is a move to encourage farmers to grow potatoes and an even bigger push to get the Chinese public to accept them. China contains one fifth of the world's population, so food security is a big issue there.
Potatoes need less water and land to grow, which is what made them so popular with tenant farmers in Ireland. They were often only given small patches of land to grow food and the potato was the best fit. Most Chinese citizens are familiar with potatoes only as French Fries, so officials are trying to showcase healthier ways to prepare them. So far, it's been a tough sell. Most citizens are reluctant to try them as a side dish, thinking of them only as something to eat when nothing else is available.