Guano

Lead: As world population grew in the years before and after 1800 so did the demand for food. At the same time, much farm acreage was depleted, tired, unproductive. This problem was solved in part with guano.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Guano is bird excrement. Grouped with the droppings of bats and seals, it is perhaps the most potent natural fertilizer, and bird guano is the primo variety containing up to 16% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. In the mid-19th century, guano was treated as if it were gold, provoked at least one fighting war, and made enormous fortunes for growers and suppliers alike.

Kudzu

Lead: It can grow a hundred feet in the summer. It is the subject of poetry and song. It can been seen all over the southland billowing out of fields onto highways, an advancing tide of near unstoppable abundance. Kudzu covers Dixie like the dew.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Kudzu originated in the orient and was brought to the United States by the Japanese as an ornamental plant in their exhibition at the Philadelphia Centennial Celebration in 1876. It was taken south where its thick mat of vegetation provided welcome relief from the summer heat on countless southern porches. About 1900 C.E. Pleas a farmer in Chipley, Florida was discouraged with the poor growth of kudzu near the house, so he pulled it up and threw it on a pile of trash in the backyard. Two years later that dismissed little kudzu plant had covered his trash heap and nearly half the farm. Then his chickens began eating it, and the cows and goats too. Tests showed that Kudzu sent its roots after water seven feet into the soil, aerating it, and because it was a legume, restoring nitrogen in the process.

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The Great Irish Famine – Part III

Lead: With the Irish potato harvest wiped out in the two years following 1845, hundreds of thousands dead or starving, many more ready to emigrate, the British government seemed powerless to do anything about it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the airborne fungus known as the late blight took out the potato crop in Ireland and the specter of disease and famine loomed over the Emerald Isle, the government in London proved itself ill-equipped to meet the challenge of this enormous disaster. First, for centuries most Englishmen had regarded the Irish as an inferior race, agreeing with the London Times in a famine era editorial that, it would be "difficult for most of our readers to feel near akin with a class which at best wallows in pigsties and hugs the most brutish degradation."

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The Great Irish Famine – Part II

Lead:  In September, 1845 late blight struck the potato crop of Ireland. The partial destruction of that year's harvest and its total ruin in 1846 caused death and years of desperate emigration.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The potato is an extraordinary food factory. Native to the South American Andes mountains, potatoes were brought back to Europe by Spanish explorers and by 1800 the plant was well-established as a major crop in Germany and the west of England. The economy of Ireland was especially dependent upon this plant. Rich in Vitamin C and thiamin, with a goodly percentage of protein, the potato was nourishing, abundant and deceptively easy to grow, but it had an enemy, the fungus phytophthora infestans, the late blight and it thrives in cool, moist climates such as Ireland.

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Great Irish Famine – Part I

Lead:  Beginning in 1845, the potato crop in Ireland failed and thus began the Great Irish Famine. Within four years more than a million people had died and two million had emigrated to find a better life. Some consider the Famine to be crucible out of which emerged modern Ireland.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The historical relationship between England and Ireland has not been a happy one. From 1171 when English King Henry II invaded the Emerald Isle and brought Gaelic independence to an end, the two peoples have enjoyed a troubled and at times violent association. For most of their joint history the English have regarded the Irish as unwashed barbarians, incapable of achieving civilization and undeserving of the normal regard accorded to human beings. The Irish, with much justification, have seen the English as brutal oppressors, interlopers, and religious infidels whose presence deserved to be resisted at every opportunity.
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