The premise of the adorable, popular game Plants vs Zombies is a simple one: collect sunshine to grow plants, fill your garden with plants to protect your homestead from the oncoming zombie horde. I, like many, have wasted many a lunch hour playing this silly but addictive little game. Now, while this game is in no way akin to real life, I like to think it has a strong message behind it, grow a garden to survive the zombie apocalypse. Perhaps, as an avid gamer, I’ve spent far too much time projecting philosophical meaning and ethical reasoning to a pretty basic video game; or perhaps I’m simply drawing a parallel to my theory that this world we live in is headed for a great disaster and the solution is literally in the ground below our feet.
As a huge fan of science fiction and disaster movies, I love nothing more than sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and watching the world fall spectacularly to pieces. Aliens, zombies, nuclear winter, viral outbreaks, earthquakes, dystopian societies, sentient apes, giant underground worms, storms, tornadoes full of sharks, the bigger the disaster, the greater my enjoyment. I’m not quite sure where this stems from, but it possibly has something to do with Jeff Wayne’s war of the worlds being played in my house at obscenely loud decibel levels, invading my dreams with huge mechanical tripods shooting lasers out of their eyes. There was a brief phase (by brief, I mean about a year) when I woke up every single night racked with terror having being caught in volcanic eruptions. I was seven. So, needless to say, I’m no stranger to an apocalypse.
However, the best thing about these movies, is when the credits roll, the popcorn bowl is full of those infuriating uncooked kernels (rage inducing) and the real world around me is still the same as before. Relatively safe. Relatively.
You see, I know this world is on track for a huge disaster. A zombie apocalypse of sorts. Before you think I’m sitting here in a tin foil hat and begin to break out the straight jackets, consider this: there are over seven billion people on this planet, two thirds of whom live below the poverty line. That’s seven billion mouths to feed. Seven billion hungry humans.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in the “first world” (I’m not a big of the suggested superiority of this phrase) have easy access to food, running water, shelter and electricity, not to mention all the other luxuries we have come to know as standard. However, therein lies a pretty big concern, food has become a currency, a status symbol. Food doesn’t come from the ground, it comes from a freezer, a restaurant, from a phone call. Go to your supermarket, buy your pre-packaged frozen meat. Fill your trollies with imported fruit, defrosted breads, carbonated drinks, brand after brand after brand. Eat battery chickens. Eat meat packed with antibiotics. Eat blueberries from a different continent. Snapchat your Starbucks, tweet your take out, Facebook your falafel, Instagram your instant meals. Socialising? Order a meal. Exercising? Powder a meal. Eat what you’re told to eat. Eat what’s on trend. Eat vegan. Eat gluten free. Eat low carb. Eat protein rich. Eat what you saw celebrities eat. Eat your weight in Michelin stars. Eat whatever you can afford. Eat whatever takes your fancy. Eat your bloody braaainnnnsss out. Zombie food culture.
Welcome to the horde.
I think we’re in crisis. Maybe not of apocalyptic proportions. Yet. Our relationship with food is toxic. It’s killing the planet and leaving us brain dead. So what’s to be done? Grow our own food of course! (What did you expect me to say, I refer you to the name of my blog ?)
I’ve been saying for a long time that I have a genuine in-depth zombie apocalypse plan. I won’t share it here as it’s top secret and shall only be shared with a select few whose valuable skills I need to improve my chances of survival and perhaps my loved ones if they haven’t been bitten. However, should you find yourself in your house or office some day and hear a low groan, shuffling feet, see the undead lumbering towards you with an appetite for brains, here are my top tips to survive the onslaught.
- Hole yourself up in a walled garden or compound with large sheds or storage lockers. The number one cause of bites during a zombie outbreak is exposure, without a shelter to hide, you’re a definite candidate for brain fodder.
- Grow your own food. Not only will this provide you with much needed sustenance, but will give you a purpose when the world as you know it ceases to exist and the days are an endless cycle of living in fear of the walking dead.
- Grow nutrient rich vegetables to keep yourself in fit and fighting shape, kale, potatoes, spinach, carrots, beans are all excellent, filling, easy to grow crops.
- Grow some medicinal herbs and plants in case of illness or injury. Echinacea, sage, feverfew, mint, aloe vera, lemon balm, ginger, thyme and comfrey are just a few that spring to mind with anti inflammatory and analgesic properties. Unnecessary dangerous outings to pharmacies/shops/hospitals for drugs are the number two cause of bites in zombie outbreaks.
- Dig. Dig and rake and dig some more. This will keep your body lean and muscular and build up your biceps for swinging weapons.
- The number three cause of zombie bites is the lack of a well stocked armoury. Arm yourself with garden tools, spades, hoes, rakes, forks, scythes, pick axes, all very worthy weapons capable of zombie decapitation.
- Waste nothing; these are desperate times, compost, upcycle, recycle, save seeds and replant. Diminish the need to ever leave your garden and risk the running into an army of zed heads.
- Collect rain waiter in water butts, basins, barrels, bottles. Local water supplies may be contaminated with rotting flesh, also, It’d be pretty embarrassing to survive a zombie war for months only for you and your plants to die of dehydration.
- If you make it to year two, rotate your crops to ensure maximum productivity and higher chance of survival.
- Roll around in your compost heap and manure at regular intervals to mask the smell of your sweet human flesh.
- Enlist the help of some fellow, trustworthy survivors. Delegate tasks to each member of the commune. A community garden will have higher productivity and keep the lonely gardener from going slowly insane from lack of human contact.
In fact, if you really want to be fully prepared against the walking dead, start now. Grow some lettuce in a pot first, then work your way up.
In short, if you want to avoid becoming a zombie? Get bitten by the garden bug. Grow your own brain food.
I’m genuinely considering turning this idea into a book guys….
World War Fee: A Practical Guide To Surviving The Zombie War by Fiona(Fee) Kelly