Southern Living Magazine recently revealed their list of “Southerners of the Year 2017,” and a few South Carolinians made the cut!
Two professors, David Shields of the University of South Carolina, and Brian Ward of Clemson, made the list for their work reviving Palmetto State heirloom crops on the brink of extinction, according to their entry on the list.
This includes bringing back the Bradford watermelon from a single vine, according to Southern Living, and the Carolina African runner peanut, which they were able to revive from a collection of 40 seeds kept in storage.
They were so successful bringing the peanut back, in fact, that it is now commercially available and used by chefs from coast to coast according to the list.
That is all the more impressive when considering that Shields is not a botanist, according to the University of South Carolina website, but an English professor. Ward, on the other hand, is an organic vegetable specialist according to his page on the Clemson website.
Shields and Ward share a rank of 15th on a list of 46.
At 32nd, Charleston resident Louis Yuhasz was recognized for his work with Louie’s Kids, a charity that helps kids battling weight issues that Yuhasz founded after his father suffered a stroke as a result of his obesity, according to Southern Living.
According to the Louie’s Kids website, besides focusing on health, the organization is also committed to battling the stigma that comes with weight issues.
“When you or a loved one is obese you learn to live with a prejudice unlike most,” says the site. “You learn to live with stares, humiliation and people pointing or laughing or asking how you got so ‘fat’.”
Southern Living gave special recognition to a fundraiser put on each year by the organization called “Little Chef, Big Chef,” which pairs top Charleston chefs with kids in the program to make healthy dinners based on what they’ve learned.
At number 43 is Ben’s Friends, which aims to help people in the food service industry with substance abuse problems, reports Southern Living. It was founded, according to the list, by Charleston restauranteur Steve Palmer, of Indigo Road hospitality group.
According to the their website, Ben’s Friends is named after Ben Murray, a chef who took his own life after battling alcoholism.
“By providing open ears, hearts, and minds — along with many decades of experience with living sober in the food and beverage industry — Ben’s Friends offers a safe and constructive haven for those grappling with and maintaining sobriety,” says the “about” section of their website, in part.
The charity also has locations in Raleigh and Atlanta, according to its website.