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History of Rice in Carolinas: It Thrives Best in Wild Land
Register by Friday, July 27!
Rice is an inextricably linked to the Lowcountry and a presentation July 29th at 3 p.m. at The Ponds in Summerville will discuss the early origins of the industry in South Carolina, as well as The Ponds role. Historian Charles Philips, along with two colleagues, has spent more than a decade studying rice production and will detail the efforts of early settlers who first grew rice in swamps and lowlands in South Carolina using a system of banks and ditches to divert water into fields.
In his program, called “It Thrives Best in Wild Land: Understanding Colonial-era Inland Rice Agriculture and its Origins,” Philips will talk about the early technology that was used before it was discovered that marshland along flowing rivers would provide a better setting for growing rice. Still, the techniques used inland are what led to the region’s wealth in the colonial period, as well as served as a reason slaves were brought from Africa to work in the rice fields. The presentation will be held at the historic Farmhouse at the Ponds, located at 326 Hundred Oaks Parkway.
“The Ponds has several good examples of this early technology,” says Philips. “In just about any swamp here in the region, there are ditches and dykes – the remains of early inland rice production.”
The Ponds – a 1,950-acre master-planned community in Summerville – has set aside 1,100 acres for its Conservancy, giving residents access to an incredible nature preserve that will not be developed. At each Conservancy event, funds are collected and donated to a nonprofit organization.
During the hour-long program, Philips will incorporate into his discussion the role that the Ponds played in understanding this aspect of South Carolina’s past. The research Philips gathered with two colleagues, environmental historian Hayden Smith and historical archaeologist Andrew Agha, is brand new and culminated in an Inland Swamp Rice Context for the National Register of Historic Places. The Ponds presentation will also feature a photographic display of Inland Rice Fields courtesy of Charleston County.