Collective and Communal (page 1)
At times political, often religious, and always collective, alternative communities formed in the 1960s and 1970s produced food or shared the work and costs of new food-distribution systems. Members created food co-ops in university towns, rural communities, and cities, often trading labor for food. Many of their practices—buying and distributing bulk foods, recycling and reusing, supporting local farmers, and growing, raising, and making your own food—were embraced and extended by new generations.
Coming out of the 1960s, we were concerned about the war, where the country was going . . . [By] going to the farm, we would be accountable and have responsibility for our lives, for the way that we lived . . . My whole life revolved around food . . . We had a three-acre garden . . . canning and freezing . . . 600 quarts of tomatoes, three 20 ft. freezers full [of] corn, broccoli, beans, and peas . . . We had the Whole Earth Catalog, Mother Earth News. Reduce, reuse, recycle. We learned from the farm community . . . Be self-sufficient, live off the land.
—Ruth McCully (formerly Lantzy), 2011 interview
The co-op opened a whole new world for us, things we’d never seen before . . . sprouts, mung beans. We used their cookbook. . . . We made our own recipe book . . . and foraged for things. We loved the idea of stalking the wild asparagus.
—Ruth McCully (formerly Lantzy)
While living on a communal farm in upstate New York, Ruth Lantzy used these tools in the kitchen (about 1972). She applied methods of food preparation and preservation learned from alternative sources such as Mother Earth News and the local food co-op’s cookbook.
Made in India, these cotton shirts are typical of those worn by people who embraced alternative lifestyles. Ruth Lantzy bought these in the early 1970s before heading to her life at a communal farm in upstate New York. “Hippies” of the era commonly used paisley fabric from India for tablecloths, bedspreads, and clothing.