February 25, 2014

Why Shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ are Good for the Planet. ~ Jess Sheppard


eat good food

There are countless animated corpses walking the streets, civilization has disbanded as we know it, and everything from here on out seems pretty bleak.

Houses have become impenetrable fortresses where their owners have sequestered themselves under lock and key (and plywood window dressings) and are managing to stay uneaten. However, it’s now their turn to do the eating. As days pass their meager excuse for a pantry dwindles.

Those cans of soup and beans aren’t stretching quite as far as the constant moans of the undead. Having a well stocked larder, full of glittering mason jars in all the colours of the rainbow becomes a constant thought, plaguing them with the unreachable oasis of pure nourishment. It is at this point realization sets in that perhaps being a little more prepared could be the difference between life or death.

We have reached a climax.

As a species, as a planet, as a whole. We have spent so many years fighting for the ever present buck that we have not only forgotten what it was like “back in the day” but also the skills necessary to live a simpler life. People are so rushed and busy and preoccupied with the mundane that the magical has been lost.

Walking in the grocery store I am reminded of this even more. Watching a mother scold a child for eating a grape because “it’s covered in dirt and germs!” but when peeking into her cart seeing it is filled with a pile of frozen and boxed food stuffs, full of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives. This is what has happened and will only get worse.

I can wax nostalgic for the younger years—playing out on my Nana and Papa’s verdant lawn, surrounded by corn fields and wrapped in warm summer breezes scented with cow manure. Of riding my bike to the corner store for a Freezie (also full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup, I know), and staying out “calling” on friends until the street lights came on. Summer holidays spent camping in a rickety canvas tent, where our only entertainment was what was around us; campfires, lakes, hiking trails, fireflies.

I spent my formulative young adult years as many do, at college, where I can assure you my diet was far from the ideals some folk try to follow these days. However, I survived. And other people will too. Just to varying degrees of health I believe.

But since then, I found I am reminiscing for that of my youth. Of walking out to the dark heavily scented loamy earth, feeling the gentle kisses of a carrot’s fronds on my palm as I slowly unearthed it from it’s cozy warm home. Rinsing it off with the cool well water spewing forth from the garden hose, and admiring all it’s myriads of lumps, wrinkles, bumps, and general abnormalities; and then savoring that first bite.

The deep crunch of fresh clean food.

I remember helping pick peas for dinner and shelling them on the back porch as the sun got swollen and started to dip it’s belly low to the horizon, as it is want to do towards the end of summer. Putting more of those tasty green morsels in my mouth—feeling them pop between my teeth—than ending up in the bowl.

How has our society become so disenchanted with real food? Could we blame the convenience revolution? Probably. Could we blame the fast pace our society suddenly took on? Most likely. Could we blame ourselves for being lazy? I’d wager yes. I think there is a larger combination of factors at work than those few examples but the bottom line is: we have forgotten how to grow.

And there is a movement in the works. Some people call us homesteaders. Hippies. Greenhorns. But whatever word you chose (or we chose for ourselves), we are the ones bringing real food back to the table. I’m not saying this current insurgence is all due to us. Obviously farmer’s markets have been around for a long time and thrived.

But as of late the awareness is growing.

There are seed libraries starting up.

Community gardens.

Local food box programs.

Fresh real food is getting a chance to make it’s way back to the masses.

And I would like to think that despite all odds, perhaps some of our current pop trends may have subliminally helped fuel this fire.

Yes, I’m talking zombies.

Things like end of the world TV shows, movies, or books where an “event” happens and reduces the world to almost baseline zero are helping the cause. Probably unbeknownst to the creators of said works of fiction, and the fans themselves, but I think subliminally there is a lot to be said about having a well stocked home-front when the walking dead come calling.

Include in this the extreme winter weather a lot of areas have been facing this year and you’ve got an heirloom recipe for canning and preparedness. I’m not suggesting we all quit our day jobs and become hoarders, or the worst version of “preppers” as seen on reality TV shows of late, but I am suggesting we try to learn a little.

Whether it’s utilizing forgotten skills from our past, taking a workshop, or even planting a few peas and tomatoes on your high rise balcony, these are the things that will save you from the coming apocalypse of brain eaters.

Or barring that, at least teach you to slow down and really think about what goes into your life. Your body. Your soul.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photos: Courtesy of Pixabay, Deviantart

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