- Fred Bahson, Course Leader
Fred Bahnson is the director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith (Simon & Schuster) and co-author with Norman Wirzba of Making Peace With the Land (InterVarsity). His essays have appeared in Oxford American, Image, The Sun, Orion, andBest American Spiritual Writing. His work at WFU School of Divinity has focused on training and equipping faith leaders to create “more redemptive food systems.”
After graduating from divinity school, he worked as a peaceworker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, and in 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church supported agriculture ministry that he directed until 2009. He is the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including a W.K. Kellogg Food & Community fellowship, a Pilgrimage Essay Award, and a North Carolina Artist Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the North Carolina Arts Council. He lives with his family in Transylvania County, NC where they tend a ½ acre permaculture orchard, terraced hillside gardens, and a dwindling flock of chickens.
- Chris Grataski
Chris Grataski is a Permaculture Instructor, Nurseryman, and Design Professional working across the continent and rooted in the diverse landscapes between Appalachia and the Chesapeake Bay. Drawing heavily on the bioregionalist vision, he works as an herbalist, grassroots educator and design activist committed to social and ecological justice. He is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Applied Ecology.
- Na'Taki Osborne Jelks
Na’Taki Osborne Jelks is an environmental health scientist, social change engineer, and educator working for a healthy, just, and sustainable future. She has over 18 years of community, non-profit, and government experience working to address environmental challenges facing communities of color. Over 15 years ago, she co-founded the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), an urban, community-based organization made up of residents living in the Proctor, Utoy, and Sandy Creek Watersheds in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta, Georgia who are overburdened with environmental stressors and pollution, but often least represented at environmental decision-making tables. WAWA was established as a result of community efforts to halt discriminatory wastewater treatment practices in West Atlanta, and the organization has grown to become an impactful force in community-centered sustainable development. Jelks currently serves as the organization’s Board Chairperson.
When she is not busy trying to transform toxic landscapes into healthy communities, Mrs. Jelks serves as an adjunct Instructor in the Environmental Science and Studies Program at Spelman College, her alma mater, and she is a Ph.D. candidate at the Georgia State University School of Public Health in Atlanta. Recognized as a 2014 White House Champion of Change for her efforts to engage urban communities and youth of color in environmental stewardship through hands-on watershed and land restoration initiatives, Jelks co-founded the Atlanta Earth Tomorrow® Program, National Wildlife Federation’s multi-cultural environmental education and leadership development program for urban teens. As an unprecedented model for empowering inner-city teens to improve their communities, youth from neighborhoods highly impacted by pollution and economic disparities develop and implement bold, innovative solutions that advance urban sustainability.
Mrs. Jelks is married to Rev. Ken Jelks and is mother to an active five-year old son, Kenyatta. A published poet, she is working on her first book of non-fiction, Rooted Resistance: Women of Color and Environmental Justice.
- Sarah Nolan
Sarah Nolan has worked in both the sustainable agriculture and non-profit sectors for almost 10 years and is a founding member of two different small to mid-size farms in Southern California; one a worker-owner cooperative (South Central Farmers’ Cooperative) and the other, The Abundant Table’s not-for-profit educational farm. In her capacity as Director of Programs and Community Partnerships at the Abundant Table, Sarah provides overall vision, leadership and management of the young adult internship program, the Campus Ministry at California State University, Channel Islands and our small-scale diversified farm operations, including growing, packing, direct marketing, distribution, permits, and finances.
In addition to her faith-rooted and farm-based activities, she actively participates in multiple regional and statewide networks, including the California Regional Food Hub Network, the Los Angeles Food Policy Council “food systems” working group, and the Ventura County Farm to School Collaborative. She serves on the steering committee for the California State Farm to School Network and in July 2014 began a 2-year Environmental Stewardship Fellowship through the National Episcopal Church for her sustainable agriculture and farm to faith work. Sarah earned a double bachelors of arts in philosophy and theology from Azusa Pacific University and recently completed a graduate degree in ministry, leadership and service at Claremont School of Theology.
- Rev. Nurya Love Parish
Rev. Nurya Love Parish is a priest, writer, and speaker. She helps Christian leaders imagine and create faithfully innovative ways to live the gospel so we can glorify God, steward God’s creation, and teach the faith to future generations. She serves St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Grand Rapids, MI) as half-time Associate Priest with a focus on formation ministries for families, children and youth. Her blog, Churchwork, provides insights and commentary on the Episcopal Church and tracks the development of the Christian food movement through the new Faith + Farm + Food guide.
An adult convert to Christianity and to the Episcopal Church, she has served in ministry positions for over twenty years, five of them within the Episcopal Church. She holds a M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and a Certificate of Anglican Studies from Seabury-Western Theological School.
Rev. Parish has been a participant-observer in the sustainable food movement since the 1990′s. While serving as her local humanities council’s director in 2009, she conceived of and produced a documentary titled “Eating in Place,” in cooperation with Calvin College, which subsequently aired on PBS in Michigan statewide. She is a member of the working Steering Committee of the nascent Episcopal Faith/Farm/Food Network and is in the planning phase of a farm-based ministry incorporating Christian formation and environmental education.
- Charles Pettee
Charles Pettee made his first foray into traditional music as a child in Asheville, North Carolina. Upon his relocation to Chapel Hill in the early 1980s, Pettee—by this time an accomplished guitarist, mandolinist, singer and songwriter—was drafted into the Shady Grove Band, an internationally known bluegrass group with whom he continues to tour and record. In 2003, Pettee founded FolkPsalm, a group the Independent Weekly described as “rich, engaging new acoustic and bluegrass. . . . The most sophisticated and moving of Pettee’s career.” For three decades and across multiple continents, Pettee has served as an ambassador of traditional music of the North Carolina Piedmont, logging more than 5000 performances in the process. In Pettee’s music, says Pastor Mitchell Simpson of Chapel Hill’s University Baptist Church, “something very old and very true is at work.”
- Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing
The Rev. Dr. Barbara R. Rossing is professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. She loves to teach and preach about the Bible, including the Bible’s role in public life.
An avid environmentalist, Rossing is involved with environmental initiatives at the seminary. Rossing received the bachelor of arts degree from Carleton College, the master of divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and the doctor of theology degree from Harvard University.
She served as pastor of a congregation in Minnesota, director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church, pastor at Holden Village Retreat Center, Chelan, Wash., and chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School.
Rossing has lectured and preached widely, including synod assemblies and global mission events for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), as well as ecumenical theological conferences. She has served on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation (2003-2010), and chaired the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. She currently serves on the advisory committee for The Lutheran Magazine.
As a public theologian her media appearances have included “CBS Sixty Minutes” as well as The History Channel, National Geographic, Living the Questions, and numerous print and radio interviews.
Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (Basic Books, 2004); The Choice Between Two Cities: Whore, Bride and Empire in the Apocalypse (Trinity Press, 1999); two volumes of the New Proclamation commentary (Fortress Press, 2000 and 2004); a nine-session Bible study, Journeys Through Revelation: Apocalyptic Hope for Today (Presbyterian Women, 2010); and articles and book chapters on the Apocalypse and ecology.