By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

I talked with my sister today about one of our areas of intersection, growing our own food and preserving it. I’m a big jam maker. She knows all about canning veggies and fruits, and has the biology degree to know why we boil, blanch and do other things with food to retain the nutrients. She’ll be sharing some of this with us soon.

Anyhow, she being a child of the 60’s and me more of a 70’s-vintage person (but I never liked polyester!) we got to talking about that earlier movement toward cooperatives, living outside the norm, growing your own food and all that, you know, self-sustaining hippy stuff. I didn’t want to admit to remembering much because I have to carefully preserve the myth that I’m really too young. But honestly, I do recall the food co-ops,  the sprouts (yeah, the grass), the tattoos, the anti-war symbols, the camper vans and all that wonderful music.

Hippy times. These ripples rocked society. And then suddenly, as if Alien had sucked it up, it was no more.  At least not for 99 percent of the nation. Ronald Reagan took down those White House solar panels. We watched Wall Street, dressed for success, discovered our favorite brands of bottle water and adopting other silly unsustainable habits. Only the Deadheads, a few hundred people living “Earth homes” and the proprietors of corner health food store seemed to remain.

Of course that’s not exactly true. The hippy heart still beats in a lot of aging boomers today, and with the assistance of angioplasty and healthier diets it will continue to. Which brings me to the current swell of latter day hippies, the “crunchies.”

I find myself wondering, who are these crunchy people, identified first by their love of granola, or whole grains, and what do they want?

I’ve been called crunchy, though my sister and others say I don’t look crunchy (whatever that means!?). But this labeling does make me suspicious.

The Urban Dictionary tells us that a “crunchy” is an adjective:

Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc. Also used to describe establishments where alternative foods and products are sold, i.e. natural food stores. Modified derivative of granola.

That doesn’t sound so bad. I like granola and Grape Nuts. And I’ve altered my life for environmental reasons. I’m mostly veggie, but I have two vegetarian kids so that gives me a foot in bonafide veg-land. I love nature (but who doesn’t). And I’m an environmentalist. I’m even a feminist.

My Internet prowlings turned up a couple other crunchy items. Crunchy’s is a burger and beer joint near Michigan State University. Did ya know that? But I think this one’s crunchy in the sense of beer bottles slammed onto the sidewalk become crunchy.

There’s also some chatter about how eating crunchy foods release “happy hormones”. But man, you can read anything on the Internet.

Even though the dictionary describes crunchies as “left-leaning” there’s a book out now that maintains a lot of crunchies are conservatives. This book, Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Its Roots, sounds intriguing, even if the title is longer than a Rush Limbaugh tirade.

I consider myself a conservative. I’m a dove conservative. I think we spend too much money and so we shouldn’t have so many wars. So we could save lives and money. But I’m also a liberal. I think everyone’s entitled to healthcare.

So I like that idea that we can all be crunchy, in our own way. We can share a desire for sustainability, for healthier food and environs, for a thriving natural world, a world with snap. I mean crunch.

Oh I almost forgot. There’s a blogger who calls herself the Crunchy Chicken. She’s spreading Crunchianity.

We’ll continue to investigate.

Copyright © 2010 Green Right Now | Distributed by GRN Network