Summoned Toward Wholeness
A Conference on Food, Farming, and the Life of Faith
Duke Divinity School
September 27, 2013 to September 28, 2013
Scripture portrays God as a gardener, farmer, and shepherd. It describes Jesus as “the bread of life” who invites people to the Lord’s table so they can learn to feed his sheep. It is hard to read the Bible and not see that God cares deeply about food and agriculture.
Join plenary speakers Ellen F. Davis, Joel Salatin, Scott Cairns, and Matthew Sleeth, and 12 workshop leaders, as we explore multiple connections between food, farming, and the life of faith. Discover how a concern for food and agriculture can deepen faith and heal our lands and communities.
This event is hosted by Duke Divinity School, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Blessed Earth, and Anathoth Community Garden.
Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. The author of eight books and many articles, she focuses her research on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their responses to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations. Her most recent book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. A lay Episcopalian, she is active as a theological consultant within the Anglican Communion and since 2004 has worked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture.
Joel Salatin is a third-generation organic farmer and author whose family owns and operates Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, forage-based rabbits and direct markets everything to 4,000 families, 40 restaurants, and 10 retail outlets. A prolific author, Salatin's seven books to date include both how-to and big-picture themes. Polyface Farm features prominently in Michael Pollan's New York Times bestseller Omnivore's Dilemma and the award-winning documentary Food, Inc.
Scott Cairns is a professor of English at the University of Missouri. He is also director of MU Writing Workshops in Greece, a program that brings graduate and undergraduate students to Thessaloniki and Thasos every June for intensive engagement with literary life in modern Greece. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, etc., and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. His most recent poetry collection is Compass of Affection. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and is completing work on a new poetry collection, Idiot Psalms, and a translation of selections from The Philokalia under the title Descent to the Heart. His memoir will be released in a new edition called Slow Pilgrim in 2014.
Matthew Sleeth, a former emergency room physician, resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the ER to teach, preach, and write about faith and the environment. Since founding Blessed Earth, he has spoken at 1,000 churches and schools throughout the country. Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and has two postdoctoral fellowships. He is the author of Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action and 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life. He also wrote the introduction to The Green Bible.
Fred Bahnson is director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He is the author of Soil & Sacrament: Food, Faith, and Growing Heaven on Earth (Simon & Schuster, 2013), and co-author with Norman Wirzba of Making Peace with the Land (InterVarsity Press, 2012). In 2005 he co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church-supported agriculture ministry in Cedar Grove, N.C., which he then directed until 2009. Since then he has been visiting faith-based agriculture projects around the country and writing and speaking about what he's learned, including a TEDxManhattan talk in February. With his wife and three sons, he tends a 1/2-acre edible forest garden on a hillside in Transylvania County, N.C.
Chris Burtner has been involved in community gardening since 2005, when she started and managed Covenant Community Garden at Fuquay-Varina UMC in Fuquay-Varina, N.C. She currently serves as the farm manager of The Community Farm at Chestnut Ridge and on the leadership team of Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center in Efland, N.C. God has given Chris a passion for growing fruits and vegetables and for tending God's creatures, especially children.
Mike Callicrate is a cattle producer, business entrepreneur, and political activist. He has been farming and raising cattle at St. Francis, Kan., since 1975. He also owns a value-added meat company and retail store, Ranch Foods Direct, in Colorado Springs, Col. He is a founding member of several farm advocacy groups including the Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF USA, and the Coalition for a Prosperous America. He served as an advisor for the films Food Inc. and FRESH, and for several best-selling books about the modern food system including The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.
Kyle Childress is the Pastor of Austin Heights Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Tex. A popular speaker on a range of issues relating to pastoral ministry, Childress has also written for periodicals including The Christian Century and Christian Reflection.
Preston Correll is a Lincoln County, Ky. farmer who started his farm as a source of high-quality food products for local markets. Preston raises grass-finished beef, pastured pork, and pastured poultry for Marksbury Farm Market, of which he is a founding partner. Preston is a co-founder and founding board member of the Local Food Association.
Stan Doerr joined ECHO as deputy director in April 2004 and was appointed President/CEO in June 2006. Born and raised in Jamestown, N. D., Doerr has a B.A. degree from Mid-America Nazarene University in Kansas and a M.S. degree from the University of Texas (Pan American campus). He began his overseas career in 1981, working first in education, then in community development and administration. In 1995, he joined the Chapin Living Waters Foundation as an agriculture consultant working in more than 23 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Before working for ECHO, Doerr worked in community development for World Vision, Mauritania. ECHO is currently working with organizations and individuals in 179 countries, providing tropical agricultural technical support and training.
Chas Edens is the executive director and garden manager of Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, N.C., a ministry that began in response to a nearby murder in 2004 and is dedicated to cultivating peace by using regenerative agriculture to connect people with their neighbors, the land, and God. At Anathoth, Edens teaches people of all ages. Most notably he has developed an innovative apprenticeship program for college-age students, which blends classroom-learning with garden-learning, equipping students with the theological vision and practical know-how to start or sustain agrarian ministries in their own communities. Edens has a B.S. in Horticulture from North Carolina State University and a M.A. in Christian Studies from Duke Divinity School.
Melanie Harris is an associate professor of religion and ethics at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Tex., where she teaches in the areas of Christian social ethics, environmental and womanist ethics, African American religion and spirituality, and news media and religion. Author of the book Gifts of Virtue: Alice Walker and Womanist Ethics and co-editor of the volume Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation, Harris has also published widely in the area of ecowomanism, a fresh and emerging discourse in ecology and religion. She is the author of several scholarly articles, including “African American Religion and the Environment,” “Keeping the Light: Women of Faith: Scholarship & Activism,” “Teaching Eco-Justice: Womanist Justice and Environmental Concern” and “Saving the Self: Womanist Soteriology and the Gospel of Mary.” Currently she is writing two books engaging global perspectives on ecowomanism.
Aaron D. Jones, has been involved at Anathoth Community Garden for more than two years. This conference marks his third bread workshop at the Garden. He began working with bread over six years ago, and has since baked for a restaurant, a farm, a professional bakery, and his own home business. A professional educator and an M.Div. Duke Divinity graduate, Jones views bread as the locus of biblical-sacramental-creational theology and spirituality. While a student at Duke, he began researching the food traditions of ancient Israel and came to the conclusion that reclaiming bread (as symbol, skill, and practice) can reorient the church away from abstraction and back into relationship with God's creation.
Steve Moore is currently teaching agro-ecology within the Environmental Studies Department at Elon University in Elon, N.C. Previously he was the small farm unit manager and agriculture energy specialist at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University. He was the past director of the Center for Sustainable Living at Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pa., and founder of the Robyn Van En Center for CSA Resources. He is co-founder (with wife, Carol) of Harmony Essentials, a company dedicated to the vision and practices of a sustaining food system. Moore was appointed to the Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board, served two terms on the board of directors for PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), and currently serves as the vice president of the board of directors for Ecology Action, Willits, Calif., and on the board of directors for The Ecological Learning Foundation.
Will Samson left his corporate consulting position in Washington, D.C., to pursue a more sustainable and Christ-focused life. Together with his wife and three children, Will relocated to Lexington, Ky., and pursued doctoral studies in theology and sociology, with a focus on food and the environment. Samson is the author of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess (Cook, 2009) and co-author with his wife, Christian novelist Lisa Samson, of Justice in the Burbs (Baker, 2007), a book that engages Christians in issues of social justice. Will has worked in diverse areas throughout his career, including serving as a Christian college professor, campaign consultant, fundraiser, and CEO for a dot-com company.
Melinda Wiggins is the executive director of Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), a nonprofit organization that brings students and farmworkers together to learn about each other's lives, share resources and skills, improve conditions for farmworkers, and build diverse coalitions working for social change. Before starting as the director of SAF in 1996, Wiggins became involved with the farmworker movement as a SAF intern with the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry during the summer of 1993. Wiggins is active with many immigrant and farmworker rights coalitions, including the Adelante Education Coalition, Farmworker Advocacy Network, and Farmworker Ministry Committee, as well as many social justice groups such as Zomppa and the Windcall Residency Program. Wiggins is the granddaughter of sharecroppers who grew up in a rural farming community in the Mississippi Delta. She received a B.A. from Millsaps College in 1992 and a M.T.S. from Duke University in 1994. She has resided in N.C. since moving here in the early 1990s.
Friday, September 27 (all day at Duke Divinity School)
- 8:30 – 9:30 Registration
- 9:30 – Introduction & Worship (Goodson Chapel)
- 10:30 – Break
- 10:45 – Plenary I: Ellen F. Davis & FolkPsalm (Goodson Chapel)
- 12:00 – 1:30 Lunch (Divinity Refectory and Terrace)
- 1:30 – 2:30 – Workshops A
- 2:30 – 2:45 – Break
- 2:45 – 3:45 – Workshops B
- 4:00 – Plenary II: Joel Salatin (Duke Divinity School)
- 5:30 – Dinner at Duke Divinity School
- 7:00 – 8:00 – FolkPsalm Performance (Goodson Chapel)
Saturday, September 28 (Duke Divinity School and Anathoth Community Garden)
- 9:00 – Meditation & Worship (Goodson Chapel)
- 9:30 – Plenary III: Scott Cairns (Goodson Chapel)
- 10:45 – 11:00 - Break
- 11:00 – Workshops C
- 12:00 – Box Lunch Pick-Up and depart for Anathoth Community Garden
- 2:00 – 3:00 – Workshops D -- Note: Workshops led by Steve Moore and Aaron Jones run from 2:00 – 4:15 (Anathoth Community Garden)
- 3:00 – 3:15 - Break
- 3:15 – 4:15 – Workshops E (Anathoth Community Garden)
- 4:15-4:30 - Break
- 4:30 – Plenary IV: Matthew Sleeth (Anathoth Community Garden)
- 6:00 – Dinner & Music (Anathoth Community Garden)
Workshops are included in the event registration fee. They are an invitation to develop more practical and specialized skills to help connect food, farming, and the life of faith. The following workshops, with the exception of those led by Aaron Jones and Steve Moore (which will run from 2:00 p.m.–4:15 p.m. on Saturday), will each be offered twice. Participants will have the opportunity to attend up to five workshops (workshops led by Jones and Moore will count as 2 workshops).
Workshop selections will be made at the event on a first-come, first-served basis. Each workshop will be able to accomodate a large number of participants.
- Fred Bahnson – Soil & Sacrament: Stories from the Food & Faith Movement
- Chris Burtner – Unplug and Dig In: Inviting Children into the Garden
- Mike Callicrate – The Morality of Raising and Eating Meat
- Kyle Childress – A Church’s Role in Food and Farming
- Preston Correll – Developing a Local Food System
- Stan Doerr – The Brown Revolution: The Global Food Crisis and Viable Options for the Small Scale Farmer
- Chas Edens – Down to Earth Teaching: The Garden as a Classroom for Christian Educators
- Melanie Harris – An EcoWomanist Looks at Farming and Food
- Aaron Jones – Fire and Sacrament: Baking Bread as a Sign and Foretaste of the Kingdom
- Steve Moore – Growing Sustainably: BioIntensive Farming for Yourself, Family and Community
- Will Samson – The Seminary Stewardship Alliance
- Melinda Wiggins – Farmworkers' Lives, Labor & Advocacy
Your registration fee includes lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday, and snacks during the event.
All participants are responsible for making their own lodging arrangements. We have arranged for special rates at the Hilton Durham and Millennium hotels.
- Hilton Durham near Duke University: $99/single nightly rate, plus applicable taxes. Call (919) 564-2904 by August 28. Mention the "Duke Divinity Conference on Food & Faith" guest room block.
- Millennium Hotel Durham: $99/single or $109/double nightly rate, plus applicable taxes. Call (800) 633-5379 or 919-383-8575 by September 6. Mention the "Duke Divinity Conference on Food & Faith" guest room block.
Travel & Transportation
Parking will be available on campus for the event as part of your registration fee. Make sure to designate that you will need parking on your registration form to ensure that you receive the necessary parking credentials for the event.
Transportation During the Event
Either of the hotels listed above under “Lodging” provide shuttle service to and from campus at no additional cost.
On Saturday we will spend part of the day at Anathoth Community Garden, Shuttle service will be provided to the garden and back to Duke Divinity School as part of your registration fee. If you prefer to drive yourself, driving directions will be provided at the event. Please make sure to designate your travel choice on the registration form.
Flying to Durham, N.C.
The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), a 20-minute drive to Duke University. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to and from the hotel. There is now Super Shuttle Service from RDU airport to Duke University and the surrounding area. You can make a reservation online prior to your arrival to Duke (provided you have a credit card). There will also be taxi cabs waiting outside each terminal of the airport.
Trains to Durham, N.C.
The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, Raleigh, Washington DC, and New York City and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.
Attendees must register by Sept. 13, 2013. Registration includes access to plenaries, workshops, two lunches, snacks, and dinner Friday and Saturday.
Early Bird Rate (before Sept. 1, 2013)
Regular Rate (after Sept. 1, 2013)
A limited number of scholarships are available. Contact Fred Bahnson at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Joel Salatin Plenary Talk Only
Tickets to Joel Salatin’s plenary talk on Friday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. may be purchased individually by non-conference attendees by using the link below. Cost is $10 per person and must be purchased in advance. Registered, full-conference participants do NOT need to purchase a separate ticket for Joel Salatin’s plenary.