To his role as NCAT’s new Executive Director, Fred Bahnson brings nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit executive leadership, regenerative agriculture, and strategic communications.
As founding director of two environmental nonprofits—a grassroots community farm in rural North Carolina and a sustainability leadership program at a Top-30 university—Bahnson is passionate about catalyzing peer-to-peer learning networks to support more equitable, resilience communities. For much of his career, he has worked at the intersection of regenerative agriculture, social equity, and climate advocacy, with a focus on building collaborative partnerships between nonprofits, universities, faith communities, and philanthropies.
Bahnson also brings to NCAT his storytelling expertise as a journalist, author, and documentary film producer. He is the author of Soil & Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food & Faith (Simon & Schuster), which environmentalist Bill McKibben described as “profoundly, beautifully down to earth, which is almost certainly where we all need to spend more time on a planet in crisis.” His writing has been published in Harper’s, Christian Science Monitor, Oxford American, Orion, The Sun, Notre Dame Magazine, Emergence, and Best American Travel Writing. In collaboration with documentary filmmaker Jeremy Seifert, Bahnson wrote and produced “Horizons,” a film about climate change seen through the eyes of nature writer Barry Lopez. He recently co-directed “The Forest Beyond,” a film about a young Shipibo woman’s journey to find the retreating edge of her ancestral forests in the Peruvian Amazon.
Bahnson has shared his work with a wide variety of audiences including sustainable agriculture conferences, universities like Yale, Princeton, and Georgetown, TEDx Manhattan’s “Changing the Way We Eat,” and the 2019 Halki Summit in Istanbul, where he spoke on climate change before an international gathering of faith leaders convened by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. His awards and fellowships include a W.K. Kellogg Food & Society Policy fellowship, a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting grant, an Artist fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council, and a Religion and Environment Story Project fellowship from Boston University.