standing Westerly Library

A friend recently alerted me to an article that made the claim “2019 will be the year of the vegan.” Well, we’re about halfway through and I believe that veganism is certainly having a moment. There are many motivating factors for adopting a diet with less meat, including compassion for animals, improved health, and environmental factors.

There is no argument to be made about the destructive effect factory farming has on our environment. According to a 2017 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, producing a kilogram of beef emits 26 kg of carbon dioxide, the highest of all of the 197 foods that were examined. One of the most impactful changes a person can make to slow down climate change is eating less or eliminating beef and dairy products from their diet.

Fortunately, there are more and more cookbooks available to experiment with new, delicious plant-based meals! Trying out new ingredients and recipes has become a really fun adventure. Admittedly some recipes have been more successful than others (I’m trying to forget the ill-fated chickpea cutlets), but I’ve found some staples that even my carnivore-loving family and friends love. Those include lentil Bolognese, lentil soup, and a brand new favorite, mushroom Rueben.

Some books available at the library that can help you find ideas include “Food is the Solution” by Matthew Prescott, which has lots of recipes and information. “Love & Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal,” by Jeanine Donofrio has great recipes and gorgeous photos. Another book with fabulous pictures is “Well + good: 100 Healthy Recipes + Expert Advice for better living,” by Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula. There are so many other resources available.

Some may think eliminating meat and dairy from their diet is too daunting to even try. Keep in mind that this need not be an all or nothing endeavor. One or two days a week eating plant-based meals is a great start! If you’re looking for more meal ideas, there are blogs and websites, including one called Meatless Mondays ( with lots of recipes. Summer is the perfect time to start with all the fresh vegetables and fruits that are available. If you need some recipe inspiration, make the library your first stop!

Top requested books

1. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

2. “Summer of ‘69” by Elin Hilderbrand

3. “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert

4. “One Good Deed” by David Baldacci

5. “Mrs. Everything” by Jennifer Weiner

6. “The New Girl” by Daniel Silva

7. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

8. “A Better Man” by Louise Penny

9. “Evvie Drake Starts Over” by Linda Holmes

10. “The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware

Top requested movies

1. “Game of Thrones, Season 8”

2. “Outlander, Season 4”

3. “Dumbo”

4. “Captain Marvel”

5. “Marvel’s Avengers. Endgame”

6. “Long Shot”

7. “The Hustle”

8. “Shazam!”

9. “Poms”

10. “Breakthrough”

This week

MONDAY — 9:30-10:30 a.m., Book Club: Sanity & Tallulah – for ages 9-12, online registration required! Kids get a free copy of the book; 10-10:45 a.m., Toddler Music (ages birth-5) – an interactive music program for parents and kids; 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Photography in the Park – learn to take better photographs, with Wilcox Park as your backdrop! 1-3 p.m., Dungeons and Dragons (Teen Led Program) – No prior experience with the game is necessary—registration is required; 6-7:45 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens interested in STEM and Robotics.

TUESDAY — 10-11 a.m., Bwana Iguana at Craig Field (17 Mountain Ave.) – for ages 5-12, all about reptiles! 1-2:15 p.m., MobileQuest: Laboratory Escape Room (for ages 12-19) – registration required, space is limited! 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Group! – a friendly knitting, crochet, needlework, and yarn craft club; 6-7:45 p.m., Sewing Social – amateur or experienced sewers are welcome! 6-6:45 p.m., Meditation Group – all ages and experience levels welcome! 8-10:30 p.m., Colonial Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.

WEDNESDAY — 9:15-10 a.m., Storytime at the Watch Hill Library – for ages 3+, at 2 Everett Ave.; 10-11 a.m., Green Screen Fun – for ages 7-12, pre-registration is required, kids can make postcards, commercials, and mini movies! 1-3 p.m., Animation Nation Club (ages 8-12) – a stop-motion film making program, online pre-registration required; 2-3:30 p.m., Film Club – We will discuss the three movies we selected last month (Five Easy Pieces, A Few Good Men, and As Good As It Gets) and choose three to watch for our September meeting; 2-3:30 p.m., Summer Coding Classes; 4-5:30 p.m., Swampabots – for ages 9-12, Join this First Lego League Robotics team as they practice building and coding with Lego robots; 5-7 p.m., Art Opening in the Hoxie Gallery! – this month the art faculty of the Westerly Public Schools will be showing their work; 6:30-7:45 p.m., Westerly Band – an early evening concert in Wilcox Park!

THURSDAY — 10-11 a.m., Bwana Iguana at Cimalore Field (10 Wilson St.) – for ages 5-12, all about reptiles! 10:15-11 a.m., Toddler Painting (birth-4 years) – online registration required for a short story time followed by a group painting class, held near the fountain in Wilcox Park! 11:30-12:30 p.m., Storytime for ages 3+ at Mel’s Downtown Creamery; 4-5:30 p.m., Teen Gardening Club – come learn about gardening and earn volunteer hours! 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome, no sign-up required; 6-7:30 p.m., Dementia Family Caregiver Support Group -- A trained former caregiver will be facilitating all group sessions. The groups will be a safe space to discuss the unique challenges of caregiving; 6-7:30 p.m., Adult S.A.G.A. meeting -- a discussion and support group for adults about LGBTQ+ stories and issues in books, movies, TV shows, and more.

FRIDAY — 10-11 a.m., At Home Science (ages 5-12) – explore the forces governing our planet and get ready for a dry ice space show; 2-4 p.m., Retro Games Day – for teens, come play some of the very first arcade style video games, like Donkey Kong and Pacman. Highest scorer wins a prize!

SATURDAY — 9 a.m.-12 p.m., URI Master Gardener Kiosk – Get research-based answers to all of your gardening questions! 10-11:30 a.m., Champion Tree Tour of Wilcox Park –Learn how a tree gets into the Champion Tree Registry, and meet the Champions in the park; 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Adult Writers Workshop – A group-led prose writing workshop; 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Return of Camera Obscura – weather permitting (must be sunny), find us in Wilcox Park.

Caroline Badowski is a reference librarian at the Westerly Public Library.

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