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Food Chain Radio News
            Food Chain Radio Host Michael Olson
            Urban Farming Agriculturalist

Can soil and food feed one’s faith?

Guest:  Fred Bahnson, Director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, and author of Soil and Sacrament

Some time ago, I hosted an edition of the Food Chain Radio program from a federal prison.  The focus of the program was the prison’s horticulture program.

In touring the grounds with the warden, I quickly recognized the prison contained two kinds of inmates:  those who were not part of the horticulture program and those who were.

Those who were not, pumped iron on the prison’s cement-covered exercise yard; those who were, built up the prison’s soil and tended its plants. 

The difference was in the eyes.

Those who were not part of the horticulture program had the look of one  totally present, as one would be if one were a predator or prey in nature.  Eat or be eaten.

Those who were part of the horticulture program had the look of someone not totally there, as if they had somehow tunneled out and escaped.  Free!

In his Soil and Sacrament, Fred Bahnson claims, “Our yearning for real food is inextricably bound up in our spiritual desire to be fed.”  This thought leads us to ask…

Why does religious literature often feature the metaphor of farm and garden?

How does the growth of soil inspire the growth of faith?

Can soil, food, and faith strengthen community?