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Sharing the History of the PEI Potato Industry with the Next Generation

(O’Leary, PE - August 20th, 2014) Prince Edward Island potato growers are proud of the trail blazers and industry builders who have established PEI as a world leader in potato production and expertise. Consequently, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board and the Canadian Potato Museum felt that it was important to record and share first-hand accounts from those who helped to build the seed, tablestock and processing potato sectors in the 20th century.

With the assistance of funding from the PEI 2014 Fund, the Canadian Potato Museum and the PEI Potato Board acquired the services of respected journalist and friend of the agriculture industry, Ian Petrie, to record interviews with a number of men and women who have been leaders in the Prince Edward Island potato industry. Interview subjects included mixed farmers, potato exporters, pioneers in certified seed production, entrepreneurs in potato equipment manufacturing, and growers who specialized in selling tablestock potatoes to retail in Canada and the United States, as well as those involved in the beginning and the expansion of the processing industry.

From these interviews, a series of videos were completed in an effort to share some of these stories with both today’s potato growers as well as the general public. A half-hour video touching on all parts of the PEI potato industry is available for viewing at the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary, where they educate thousands of Islanders and visitors alike about the history of growing potatoes each year. This video is also available on the PEI Potatoes YouTube channel, along with a series of shorter videos that touch on individual subjects such as the establishment of a certified seed industry that saw Prince Edward Island potatoes travel around the globe, as well as looking at the advances in specialized potato equipment over the years.

Videos are available to view at www.peipotato.org or by visiting the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary. Both partners acknowledge the support of the PEI 2014 Fund for assisting in preserving and sharing the history of the Prince Edward Island potato industry.

The Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary, PEI is a community-run museum dedicated to sharing role that the potato has played in the economy of Prince Edward Island and the growth of Canada. The Museum is home to the largest display of potato artifacts in the world.

Prince Edward Island Potatoes are world renowned for the great taste and quality that comes from growing in the unique red soil of PEI. The potato industry in PEI creates a total economic impact of $1.065 billion dollars and directly or indirectly employs over 12% of the Island workforce. The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is a producer-controlled association dedicated to supporting the highest performance of and economically and environmentally sustainable potato industry.