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Tag: green reads

annapolis green reads

soul of an octopus book cover
How well do you think you know other species that roam this incredible globe? We realize that to fully embrace the diversity of life on this planet, both flora and fauna, we could spend some time learning about some of them.

We enjoyed a lighter read this past month, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery, and we really felt the difference in the corresponding lightness of the discussion. We primarily discussed the benefits of (and concerns about) aquariums while appreciating the contributions that the author made to broaden some of our perspectives. We also discussed consciousness of different beings and questioned what it meant to possess a soul. We loved reading a book that was so well written! A side effect of knowledge about octopuses is that we now know how intelligent, curious, and resourceful they are so we no longer want to eat them!

the sixth extinction bookcover

Next month, on Monday, February 28 at 7 pm, we will be discussing the Pulitzer Prize winning The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.

–Karen Grumbles

about the Annapolis Green Reads book club

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annapolis green reads

Annapolis Green Reads

Join Annapolis Green’s book club as we discuss Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery.

This is a timely book as there has been a lot on TV and the big screen lately about these intelligent creatures including the film My Octopus Teacher.

In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food. More about the book.

Learn more about Green Reads. Everyone is welcome.

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Annapolis Green Reads Book Clubgroup in farm fieldOn July 17 we went on a field trip to Ard Brac Acres, a small regenerative farm in Pittsville, Maryland on the Eastern Shore. The inspiration for checking out a regenerative farm came from reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma where we were introduced to the methods of Joel Salatin. We were curious about how the operations might differ from a typical farm. Amanda, the owner and operator of the farm, with the help of her husband and two sons, is juggling multiple roles and responsibilities.

She kindly took the time to give us an extensive tour of their small operation. This is just the fourth year for them at their current location, so they are still getting established and growing. We all felt that we benefited from seeing a young farm as their processes are still being worked out and they are still discovering new possibilities.

strawberries

blueberries

They are growing a varied selection of fruits and vegetables including strawberries, blueberries, three kinds of kale, onions, shallots, cabbage, tomatoes, corn, squash, and pumpkins. Amanda is currently planning another crop of strawberries. The chickens provide eggs, and their litter fertilizes the fields as the farmers move the chickens from field to field in large, moveable crates they call chicken tractors. Other chickens are slaughtered on the farm and Amanda showed us the mechanics of their process.

Adorable little chicks are living safely in the greenhouse until they are old enough to join the others. A couple of “intellectually challenged” turkeys hang out with the chickens until Thanksgiving.

They have started the endeavor of raising goats that are entertaining to watch.

farmer with chicken crate in field  

The pigs are raised for slaughter. We saw six large ones that have become food aggressive and were destined for the slaughterhouses within days while there is a separate area for the younger ones who can’t compete with the older pigs for food. They are fed both purchased feed and anything in the fields that can’t be sold. Overall, all of the animals seem to be treated as humanely as possible since they are not contained in an industrial agricultural setting.

kale in the field

However, this experience provoked my discomfort by recognizing the lack of connection that we generally have to the animals we eat; I inch even closer to a fully vegetarian diet. Not everyone in our group shared by my thoughts in this regard.

The soil looked great, and the produce looked and tasted fantastic. Our group enjoyed tasting the blueberries and kale and felt fortunate to purchase freshly picked blueberries, eggs, pork, chicken, and scrapple before departing. Amanda maintains a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – a case of available food supplied weekly as a subscription) for those who are local and also has a market and a street-side stand on Sundays.

We all thought that a side trip when traveling to or from the beaches would be a detour well worth making to stock up on all that she offered. Amanda’s entrepreneurial spirit should serve her well in making Ard Brac Acres a success. If you happen to be looking for sustainably harvested food on the Eastern Shore, we would recommend that you stop at this small business along the way. More about the farm.

Our next book, for July reading, is Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. This book of fiction is an entertaining summer read. Although our Green Reads “gang” isn’t up to much mayhem, if you’d like to join our environmental book group, please contact me.

Happy Reading,
Karen Grumbles

green reads at ard brac acres farm

about the Annapolis Green Reads book club

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annapolis green reads

Annapolis Green Reads Book Club

running silver coverThis month we are reading Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and Their Great Fish Migrations by John R. Waldmann.

Running Silver is an informative and fascinating history of the migratory salmon, shad, herring, and other runs that once swarmed the rivers and estuaries of the Atlantic coast. Most important, this book explains what we can do to restore these fisheries to their former abundance.

Note: Our meeting will be held online unless you hear otherwise from our book club leader.

Learn more about Green Reads and join us!

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