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Tag: food

annapolis green reads

Thoughts on The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Do you ever find yourself envying the koala for its singular diet of eucalyptus or the monarch caterpillar for its love of milkweed? At the extreme end, maybe you envy the flora that, with photosynthesis and good soil, just needs to reach to the sun to grow and flourish. To be human takes those food sources ‘off the table’ but we have so many other options!

the omnivore's dilemma

Our book group met and shared a meal recently (via Zoom) and discussed The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. We were all impressed with the book that had been written back in 2006 and includes an afterword added ten years later. We actually made progress toward healthier food choices in that decade! We’d heard years ago that the book contained the message, “Eat food (not nutrients), not too much, mostly vegetables,” so figured that we’d gotten the gist without spending time reading the book. It turns out that this book is so much more; the most important message is about the choices we make and the consequences of those choices as it relates to food. The omnivore’s dilemma is wondering what to eat when we’re hungry. As omnivores we have many choices. Do we swing by McDonalds or get food from Safeway? Or Whole Foods? Do we incorporate weekend visits to the farmer’s market into our routine? Do we grow and harvest our own carrots and peppers? Do we want to eat meat or seafood? We ask ourselves these kinds of questions at least three times a day every day.

Most of us are not growing our own food. Pollan explores the question “Where does our food come from?” and the answers are truly eye opening. Pollan writes with narratives that make for easy reading of a non-fiction book. We really appreciate the insights he provides about industrial agriculture, the organic and sustainable food business models, and the need for greater transparency of where our food comes from. Why is the public not allowed onto killing floors of CAFOs? What does it mean to treat animals humanely before they are slaughtered? Why is it acceptable that cows are fed an unnatural diet of corn? How is it that you likely consume more corn than any other food even without eating an ear of corn?

With great satisfaction in being responsible for his own food and being able to trace its origins, Pollan also shares his experience with foraging and hunting for a meal. Some in our group found that part inspiring to read about while others developed a greater appreciation for farmers markets and grocers!

We felt like this book was impactful as well. One group member shared that this book is taught in high schools to help kids learn about the consequences of the choices they make. Because of this book, I paid attention to news that came out recently about the Farm Bill to be renewed in 2023. Is there a role I/we can play in ensuring that our health and the health of the environment is adequately addressed?

In some good news, an article in the Washington Post reports that consumer trends are already starting to move the food industry toward increased transparency, healthier choices, and environmental stewardship.

Our next book will be Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson. We will discuss it on Tuesday, January 26 at 7 pm via Zoom. If you would like to join our discussion, please contact me.

–Karen Grumbles

about the Annapolis Green Reads book club

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Apples, Apples and Applesauce

crates of applesRight about now you are spying apples everywhere and nothing could be cozier for kids and adults alike than some simple homemade applesauce.

But don’t stop there! Apples work in so many ways… adding nutritious sweetness to baked goods, roasted as a versatile side dish, or enlivening a roasted vegetable combo.

Crockpot Applesauce

Makes 3 cups; from Skinny Taste

Nothing beats homemade applesauce, making it in the crock pot is easy and your house will smell divine while the apples and cinnamon simmer all day long. The hardest part about making this sauce is peeling the apples (which is not hard at all!).

  •             8 medium apples, combination of Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, etc.
  •             1 strip lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler
  •             1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  •             3-inch cinnamon stick
  •             5 teaspoons light brown sugar, unpacked (you can leave out for sugar-free)

Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place them in the slow cooker.

Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, lemon juice and brown sugar. Set crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours.

Stir apples occasionally, apples will slowly become a delicious applesauce.

Remove cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth or if you prefer a chunky sauce, leave sauce intact.

Double Ginger Baked Apple Slices

Serves 2

apple slices in dishThis marvelous dish can be served as a side dish for poultry or meat or a flavorful dessert… especially decadent with the addition of ice cream.

  • 2 large apples of your choice, peel if they are not organic, but if they are, keep the skin on as it is full of nutrients
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Wash the apples and slice into thin wedges. Place the wedges in a baking tray, sprinkle ground ginger, lemon juice, and salt on the top and gently mix the ginger in. Dollop butter on top of the apples.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Check the apples after 10 minutes, mix them around with a spatula, add candied ginger and place them back in the oven.

Take them out of the oven once they soften up and start to brown .

Serve warm or cool. You can serve as a side dish, a topping for oatmeal, pancakes or dessert with whipped cream, plain yogurt, vanilla ice cream or just serve plain.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Apples and Brussels Sprout

Serves 4

apples and vegetables in a dishIn this recipe you want to prepare the vegetables and apples so they can bake for relatively the same amount of time. If you are thinking of serving for a special meal like Thanksgiving when the oven is loaded, the dish is good even at room temperature.

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled cubed in 1” pieces, lightly steamed but still firm
  • 2 apples, skin on, cored and cut into half-moon slices
  • 8 oz Brussels sprouts, cleaned, halved & lightly steamed
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch wide wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake on a lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In a separate bowl, add apples, remainings 1 tablespoon oil, and maple syrup, stirring to combine.

After baking the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes, add apple mixture to tray. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden and tender, stirring halfway through. Toss in rosemary and freshly cracked black pepper – serve immediately.

With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.

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Tread Lightly on the Earth: Climate Change & You

July 2019 Climate Change and Our Food Supply

Townhall Discussion & Green Drinks Annapolis
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Mathias Laboratory Atrium
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater

Annapolis Green and Presenting Sponsor *Hannon Armstrong invite you to the second in a year-long series of townhall-style talks on Climate Change. The talk will focus on the effect of Climate Change on our food supply.

green drinks annapolisThe talk will be followed by Green Drinks Annapolis, where we will continue the conversation about this important topic over a cocktail (or soft drink) and hors d’oeuvres.

It is clear that the climate is changing rapidly. The Chesapeake is already being affected by sea level rise, severe weather and other aspects of Climate Change. But what does this mean to you? How will this affect what we eat? What do we need to know?

Expert speakers will explain how the accelerated pace of Climate Change is affecting our food supply—on land and in the Bay and oceans—in easy to understand presentations. They will address the topics of adaptation and resiliency, answer questions, and engage in a two-way discussion with the audience. The goal is to inform and leave attendees with optimism about how the right policies and practices can mitigate the impact of Climate Change on themselves, their families and their communities.


  • Anna Chaney, farmer, chef and caterer
  • Bert Drake, Ph.D., Smithsonian scientist emeritus
  • Sara Via, Ph.D., Professor, University of Maryland
  • Bruce Vogt, Ecosystem Science & Synthesis Manager, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
  • Moderator: Dave Buemi, Post Carbon Institute & Climate Change Reality Project

About Our Speakers

Anna Chaney – Ms. Chaney is a CPA, entrepreneur, certified in Permaculture Theory and Design, Earthkeeper as Initiated by the Shamans of the Andes in Peru, Regenerative Agriculture Farmer, Herbalist and Shamanic Energy Healer. She founded, owns, and operates a local catering and event company located at an eco-lifestyle marina resort on the Chesapeake Bay. Ms. Chaney and her family have preserved over 1500 acres in agricultural and historic preservation in Anne Arundel County and Northern Calvert County. She lives on and care-takes a 160-acre permaculture farm located in Lothian, Maryland, where she and her son grow and produce native fruits and nuts, and make herbal plant-based tinctures and syrups. Their focus is healing the soil; which feeds the plants and nourishes the people. They are also participating in the Maryland Hemp Research Program with Morgan State University and are growing hemp for value-added CBD products. Ms. Chaney has spent the last decade training and working with contemporary and traditional shamans from North and Central America. She offers healing sessions at her farm which can include Forest Bathing, energy healing, and food and supplement consultations. Her passion is aligned with Hippocrates’ insofar as her dedication to growing nutrient dense food and medicine for people: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Bert Drake, Ph.D. – Dr. Drake, a Plant Physiologist, retired as Senior Scientist from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. He led two major ecosystem projects on the impacts of rising atmospheric CO2 and climate change on the capacity of land ecosystems to assimilate carbon dioxide. The Chesapeake Bay wetland study is the longest-running experiment of its type ever undertaken, expanded in 1996 to include similar studies at the wildlife refuge at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and resulting in more than 100 publications. Dr. Drake was designated the Smithsonian 2005 Distinguished Science Lecturer for his long record of research and public outreach.

Sara Via, Ph.D. – Dr. Via is Professor and Climate Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland, College Park. When she came to Maryland in 1997 from Cornell University, her research focused on the evolutionary genetics of insect crop pests. By 2014, however, she was so worried about climate change that she changed her emphasis to climate extension. Now Dr. Via teaches Marylanders across the state about Climate Change impacts and solutions. She also conducts extensive soil health outreach. Her presentations for farmers and technical service providers emphasize the crucial role of microbes in soil health and how healthy soil increases climate resilience on farms by reducing the impacts of floods & drought. Dr. Via is currently working with the Maryland Department of Agriculture on a program to incentivize Maryland’s farmers to increase the use of science-based strategies that boost soil health and sequester carbon. This program will be part of Maryland’s 2020 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan.

Bruce Vogt – Mr. Vogt is Ecosystem Science & Synthesis Manager at NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office. He oversees the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Program Office’s science portfolio including oysters, fisheries and environmental observations. Mr. Vogt works to develop science products and applications that support living resource management in the Chesapeake Bay and is the Coordinator of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team. He also chairs the Invasive Catfish Task Force and Forage Action Team, working with state and federal offices and other organizations to evaluate science needs, develop projects and deliver products to policy makers.

Dave P. Buemi, Moderator – Mr. Buemi is Managing Director of Prescient Energy Consulting and is Post Carbon Institute & Climate Reality Project commissioned. The Post Carbon Institute is focused on providing communities with solutions to meet the Climate Change challenge at the local level. His work over the last 22 years in solar and renewable energy globally provides a unique perspective on the challenge of energy as the main driver of climate change.

anna chaney  bert drake  sara via  bruce vogt  dave buemi
Anna Chaney, Dr. Bert Drake, Dr. Sara Via, Bruce Vogt, Dave Buemi

Green Drinks hor’s d’oeuvres provided by Herrington-on-the-Bay

Pre-discussion nibbles at 5:30

Hemp balls with organic peanut butter and local honey
White bean hummus topped with house made Curtido

Green Drinks appetizers at 7:30

Beet and Arugula skewer with Chevre goat cheese and balsamic glaze
Asian style Chicken Bone broth shots with fresh ginger and lemongrass
Chicken Satay in Belgian Endive cups with Thai peppers and sweet basil
Invasive Blue Catfish (Preparation & presentation will be a surprise!)
Sweet Potato Pudding with Pepita crunch and candied nuts

Beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available. Cash bar.

The “Tread Lightly” series began in March 2019 with “Climate 101,” a talk that covered basic information about Climate Change and its effect on public health. See below.

Future topics in the series may include:

  • Climate Change as a National Security Issue
  • Climate Change and the Economy
  • What Our State, County, and City Governments are Doing to Address Climate Change

hannon armstrong*We are grateful to series Presenting Sponsor Hannon Armstrong (NYSE: HASI), which focuses on making investments in climate change solutions by providing capital to the leading companies in the energy efficiency, renewable energy and other sustainable infrastructure markets. Hannon Armstrong is only New York Stock Exchange listed company headquartered in Annapolis, and is the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to investments that reduce carbon emissions or increase resilience to climate change.

Support for the July talk also is provided by our host, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center SERC, along with the Chesapeake Conservancy and the Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis.

smithsonian environmental research center   chesapeake conservancy   climate stewards

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