The first is easy enough to answer. Despite the constant threat of zombie attacks, our people have managed to follow Jessica's plans perfectly. The central ideas were hers, at any rate, though a lot of others contributed and helped improve and perfect. We've got crops here in Haven proper, crops in what used to be a cluster of shopping centers.
I should break here to point out that the shopping centers are basically giant greenhouses, and their high ceilings give us the ability to farm vertically in them. They produce a LOT of food.
Then there are the farms worked on the other side of the river. We kept that low-key until the fight with the UAS was over, and we still don't talk about it all that much. There are a lot of acres out that way, land we spent much time and effort cultivating and protecting. Not just Haven citizens, but volunteers from all over the Union. We produce much more food than we can use, which was being sent out to troops or stored. That's just the crops, too. Also remember our rabbit warrens. We've got a lot of them, breeding in huge pens and using every part of the animal to avoid protein poisoning. Add in what we bring in from hunts and you end up with a pretty huge surplus, more than enough to feed the UAS and have some left over.
We were starving just a few years ago. There are few lessons you learn better than how not to go hungry. We planned and built and expanded every chance we had. We lost whole crops to zombies, so once the Exiles were killed off we decided to use the fallback point as the beginning of our farming efforts.
On top of all that, the Union worked together over the last several months to build safe zones further to the east, places where mass farming could be managed without much fear. There are several of them, all pretty huge, and they serve the Union as a whole rather than one specific community. Our nation overall produces about twice the food it needs. We learned well.
As for the housing issue, well, that's a bit trickier. The UAS are safe in their camps for now, defending themselves in temporary positions. Living outside in summer isn't that rigorous if you've got sources of water and a tolerance for bugs. Winter is a whole other can of worms, one my brother is currently stretching his brain to figure out.
Dave spent some time over here yesterday, bouncing ideas off me and a few other people. His first instinct is to find and transport more shipping containers--and that's likely to happen--but between Haven and North Jackson, we've taken most of the easy to find caches of them. We'd have to search further and deeper into the back roads, with no guarantee of success. The last batch we brought in, just a dozen or so, have been repurposed into refrigeration units to store food. We can't really spare those, not to mention how hard it would be to refit those absorption systems to new containers.
There are other ideas being bandied about, the most realistic being the creation of large underground shelters. The idea is to dig down eight or ten feet in massive square pits, seal the clay floors and walls as much as possible, put up dividing walls, and build a roof on it to keep out weather. Dave is still working on that one, but it's the best idea he has to fit the materials at hand. In theory he could get his hands on more, a lot more, but the actual construction of homes takes tremendous time and effort. Better to go with large, simpler structures if possible.
I have to wonder how that will go. Our people working their asses off to house the local UAS, to bring them into the fold. How will the integration go? It should be fascinating. I kind of hope it starts before I leave.