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  1. Nov 2020
    1. Now an English professor at the University of South Carolina, Shields is part of an agricultural revolution with a future that lies in the past—one focused on preserving plant landraces, old cultivars that adapted to local conditions over generations.
    2. Many landraces grown before the 1850s are hardy, able to weather both drought and flooding. Some are nutritious and packed with flavors prized by high-end restaurants and specialty retailers. For example, Carolina Gold rice, milled and sold by Anson Mills in Columbia, makes other white rice taste like paste. “Landraces are genetically diverse, so they’re not bottlenecked,” Shields says. “They were bred for taste, not for mass production.”