Who Is Pingree, And Why Potatoes?
The first thing many visitors to this site may be wondering is "what's with the name of this site?" The answer is the Hazen Pingree was mayor of Detroit from 1890 to 1897, and is best known for his response to the Panic of 1893, one of the numerous economic collapses which afflicted the US in the second half of the 19th century. Faced with a third of the work force becoming unemployed, and growing poverty and desperation in the city, he hit upon the idea of opening vacant land to poverty-stricken families so that they could grow food. He even went so far as to auction off his own prize mare to finance purchase of some of the initial plots of land. The program resulted in Detroit families raising millions of (current value) dollars worth of food over the seven years that the program was in operation, at a cost in government expenditures only a fraction as large. Analyzing the reasoning behind naming this site after that program is left as an exercise for the reader.