Originally broadcast at 2:00 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
Fred Bahnson is an award-winning writer and the author of SOIL & SACRAMENT: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, described by Bill McKibben as “profoundly and beautifully down to earth – where we all need to spend more time on a planet in crisis.” Going forth from Anathoth Community Garden, a congregation-supported agriculture project Fred co-founded in 2005 in the North Carolina Piedmont, it is the story of Fred’s journey into the spirituality of food and farming, and sharing stories, among numerous experiences along the way, of growing mushrooms with Trappist monks, working with Pentecostal coffee roasters, and celebrating Sukkot on a Jewish farm –all providing discovery of a relationship with the Earth that reveals that “how we hunger is who we are.” Fred’s essays and journalism have appeared in Harper’s, Oxford American, Orion, Notre Dame Magazine, Emergence, Image, The Sun, and Best American Spiritual Writing. His essay “On the Road with Thomas Merton” won a 2020 Wilbur Award for Best Magazine Article from the Religion Communicators Council and was selected by acclaimed nature writer Robert MacFarlane for the anthology Best American Travel Writing 2020. Fred’s writing awards include a Pilgrimage Essay Award, a W.K. Kellogg Food & Society Policy fellowship, and a North Carolina Artist fellowship in creative nonfiction from the NC Arts Council. Fred has spoken at Yale, Duke, Georgetown, TEDx Manhattan’s “Changing the Way We Eat,” and the 2019 Halki Summit in Istanbul, where he spoke on faith and climate change for an international gathering of environmental leaders convened by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. In 2012, Fred became founding director of the Food, Health, and Ecological Well-being Program, a national leadership development program at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity that trains and equips faith leaders, environmental advocates, and activists. He is a member of the inaugural cohort of Religion & Environment Story Project (RESP) fellows at Boston University. He lives with his wife and sons in southwest Montana.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.