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Fred Bahnson to lead Lake Junaluska Signature Series


 The garden is our oldest metaphor, where God made humans from humus, says award-winning writer and permaculture gardener Fred Bahnson, this year’s featured lecturer at the 2014 Lake Junaluska Signature Series.

Bahnson will speak at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, in Terrace Auditorium at Lake Junaluska. The lecture is free, but a love offering will be taken. A book signing with the author will follow.

Bahnson also is the final guest preacher of the 2014 Summer Worship Series, speaking at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10 at historic Stuart Auditorium.

“In Genesis, God creates the first human from the humus and tells him to till and keep it, the fertile soil on which all life depends . . ., “ Bahnson said, in a YouTube video of a lecture he gave in May at the 2014 Festival of Faiths: Sacred Earth Sacred Self in Louisville. “This command to care for our soil is our first divinely appointed vocation. Yet, in our zeal to produce cheap abundant food, we have shunned it. We have tilled the fertile soil, but we have not kept it.

Bahnson, whose life and writings center on what he calls the sacred relationship between food, faith and agriculture, is the director of the Food, Faith, & Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston Salem. He also is the author of “Soil & Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith,” and the co-author of “Making Peace With the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile With Creation.

Bahnson also was a scheduled featured speaker at the 2014 Wildgoose Festival in Hot Springs and was a panelist on faith-based initiatives and childhood obesity at First Lady Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier American Summit in Washington, DC in March 2013.

Bahnson’s writings have won him the Pilgrimage Essay Award in 2006; the William Raney scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 2008; the Kellogg Food & Community fellowship, 2009-2019; and the North Carolina Artist fellowship in creative non´Čüction in 2012.

Bahnson was drawn to agrarian life in 2001 while serving as a peaceworker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico. When he returned to the United States, he co-founded Anatoth Community Garden in 2005, a church-supported agriculture ministry in Cedar Grove, which he directed until 2009. He lives in Transylvania County with his wife and sons.

For more information about the 2014 Signature Series, please call 800.222.4930 or visit

The mission of Lake Junaluska is to be a place of Christian Hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind, and body.

* Melanie Threlkeld McConnell is a freelance writer, former AP newswoman, editor and media consultant based in Waynesville, NC.


Stephanie Drum
Lake Junaluska