Seed World

Discover South Carolina’s Culinary Heritage at the 2023 NAPB Meeting

This year's NAPB meeting will be held in Greenville, SC.

Registration is now open for the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) meeting, hosted by Clemson University in Greenville, SC, from July 16-20. The event will focus on “Southern Hospitality Through Food and Agriculture,” and will celebrate the culinary and agricultural heritage of South Carolina.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the intersection of food and agriculture in the southeast, witness participatory plant breeding in action, and explore the future of plant breeding through multidisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

The conference will feature interactive opportunities such as a tour of Clemson’s research farms, engaging sessions, visits to specialty crop operations, and networking activities in the evening.

Opening the conference on July 16 will be Hanna Raskin, editor and publisher of The Food Section, a newsletter covering food and drink across the American South. In its first year, The Food Section was named Best New Business by Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, and a Trailblazer by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Raskin previously served as food editor and chief critic for The Post and Courier in Charleston.

Chef BJ Dennis

The general session will open July 17 with a talk led by three experts in the fruit and vegetable breeding realm: Sandra Branham, assistant professor of vegetable breeding and genetics at Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston; Glenn Roberts, founder of Anson Mills in Charleston; and Peter Coclanis, Albert R. Newsome Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Global Research Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Also opening the general session will be Chef Benjamin “BJ” Dennis, who infuses the flavors and culture of the Lowcountry into his Gullah Geechee cuisine, bringing a new taste to an ever-expanding culinary palate of the South. Dennis infuses the techniques of his ancestors as well as the lessons of his grandparents about eating from the land, to create fresh interpretations of local dishes focusing on in-season, locally sourced vegetables and seafood.

Later in the day, Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) founder Lane Selman will address the topic of culinary-driven plant breeding. CBN builds communities of plant breeders, seed growers, farmers, produce buyers, chefs and other stakeholders to improve quality in vegetables and grains.

“South Carolina has such a diverse food heritage and has become known for the wide range of foods grown here, especially fruits and vegetables,” says Ksenija Gasic, co-organizer of the meeting and a peach breeder at Clemson University.

“In the past at the NAPB meetings, we’ve focused a lot on research. This time out we wanted to give people insight into the importance of plant breeding in the food industry and culinary space in general and show them how plant breeding actually puts food on their plate.”

A number of field and facility tours will also be featured, including of the Clemson University Research & Education Centers and a post-conference tour of Titan Farms (peach and vegetable production) and W.P. Rawl (vegetable production).

All registration and program details can be found on the official meeting web page for the meeting. Register now — the deadline is July 6 and there will be no on-site registration. Registration link?

Students and early career scientists are encouraged to present a poster at the meeting. Abstract and poster submission guidelines can be found on the conference website at