CLEMSON – David Shields, an author and agricultural historian who has worked to repatriate lost heirloom crops, will speak at 3 p.m. Thursday at Clemson University’s Strom Thurmond Institute.

At the “Future of Flavor” event, Shields will discusses the history of the American palate and how changes in taste acceptance have influenced plant breeding. The public is invited to the free talk.

“Growing out a cuisine with the guidance of the historical record gives you the most convenient grounds for experimentation with making ingredients as fine as they can be – given the time, place, economy and environmental conditions,” said Shields, who is author of “Southern Provisions: The Creation & Revival of a Cuisine.”

Shields is chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation and is well known for his work with the crop.

Shields’ talk is sponsored by Clemson University’s Advanced Plant Technology Program, an assembly of world-class scientists dedicated to taking agriculture to new levels by developing innovative crop breeding and management systems.

Attendees may park from 2 to 5 p.m. in the C-1 parking lot and can walk to the Strom Thurmond Institute take the blue-line CAT bus to the Academic Success Center. It is a short walk from there.

Earlier in the day, Shields will participate in a tabletop discussion with Scott BlackwellStephen KresovichHanna Raskin, and Glenn Roberts.

Blackwell is president of High Wire Distilling in Charleston. Kresovich is Coker Chair and director of the Clemson University Genomics Institute. Raskin is the food editor and chief critic at the (Charleston) Post and Courier. Roberts is president of Anson Mills in Columbia. And Shields is a distinguished professor and agricultural historian at the University of South Carolina.

“This group represents an eclectic mix of scholars, entrepreneurs and communicators intimately connected to agricultural and food systems in South Carolina,” Kresovich said. “Each has established a unique niche from which to view and affect the evolution of the state’s potential agriculture.”

Some of the topics they will discuss include:

  • How to build on the state’s historic agricultural position and use it as a foundation for future growth.
  • What niches South Carolina will occupy in the 21st century.
  • What aspects of South Carolina agriculture are unique to the state and how we can use them for future opportunities.