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Victory Garden to Victory Life | Planning for Victory [printable - updated]

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Welcome to #gardenpunk! I appreciate your visit, and I hope you love all the retro and whimsical-themed content I'll be bringing to this site.

Jumping right in, this post is the first in a series about creating and living what I call a "Victory Life." The concept borrows from the World War II era of history and expands its home front ideals of self-sufficiency, homemaking, and community connection into ideas, activities, and aesthetics that blend well with modern living. This can include decor, natural medicine, homesteading, DIY projects, sewing, crocheting, cooking, and more. My goal is to provide templates, recipes, patterns, and other printables (or saveables!) to accompany all the posts to maximize what my readers get out of them. 

Let’s get started!

The History of Victory Gardens

In the minds of many, the term ‘Victory Garden’ conjures up images of vintage propaganda posters sponsored by the United States Government during World War I and World War II. These campaigns encouraged citizens to engage in food growing and preservation as a matter of patriotic duty and saw communities come together to provide resources to one another - via civic associations, clubs, and pamphlets, for instance - to accomplish the overall goal of minimizing citizens’ dependence on the larger supply chain to feed themselves and their families. By freeing up such resources, commercially produced goods could be exported to war fighters with less impact on the home front.

The ability of everyday citizens to participate in the war garden movement was great for morale. In fact, the campaigns were so successful that about 1.5 million quarts of canned goods were produced by victory gardeners by the end of World War I, and about 40% of all fresh produce consumed in the United States by the end of World War II was sourced from Victory Gardens. Given their history, it's no wonder why these plots have seen surges in popularity over the years following their heyday, including during the recent pandemic.

Personally, I'm a sucker for pretty much any vintage propaganda poster (I guess that's the point, right?), so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate their art into my décor and homemaking efforts. Sometimes it's the color scheme, other times it's the general aesthetic. My most recent endeavor, though, is combined with another home-centered goal: Pantry planning.

Planning for Victory

I've been working for years to get my family's food consumption to a set of "scratch-level" ingredients that I keep stocked in bulk. The over-arching concept is to have prepper-level storage on an all-natural and organic level that is basically just as affordable and feels like farm fresh cooking (maybe even a little gourmet). Out of those ingredients, I plan to work towards sourcing what I can from my own garden and backyard farming, and voila! A Victory Life.

Getting super organized with a well stocked pantry isn't new by any stretch of the imagination, obviously. My own plans were inspired by many other homesteaders and DIY types that shared their knowledge and experiences online, and I'm incredibly grateful for their content. I did want to get my own ideas into a system that was designed specifically for my goals that differed a bit from what I'd seen, though. 

Drawing from the Victory Garden era for design and garden plot inspiration, I ended up creating a weekly planning sheet that tracked my home tasks, weekly meals, garden duties, appointments, events, and the stock levels in my pantry. I decided that having one place to organize all the moving parts of a Victory Life was where I needed to start to avoid being overwhelmed with the abundance of tasks involved that weren’t routine yet. If you have similar goals, this template might be useful to you, too.

There are two versions of my victory planning template I've made available for anyone who either has a similar system to me or would like to tweak what I drafted to their specific needs. One is just a quick-print PDF of the planner I came up with and currently use (free). The other is an editable word document for anyone wanting to swap in their own pictures or categories (small $ charge to help cover my hosting costs). My advice (assuming you're interested!) is to give the free one a try for a couple of weeks to see how it works with your personal "flow," crossing out/adding as needed, and then revisit whether that planner works, you need a tweaked version, or something different altogether is in order. If you're savvy with converting the PDF to a Word file and don't need the fully editable one here, hey - go for it!

Update: I've revised my templates since this post originally published in December 2021 to accommodate some changes I made while using it as my daily/weekly guide. I've also added two addendums to assist with grocery planning and expense tracking.

By the way, it there's anything you'd like to see planner or template-wise on this site, please let me know in the comments. I am aiming to create and offer lots of printables here in the future and would be so grateful for any feedback on content.

So, that sums up my first post about creating a Victory Life! Be sure to subscribe to the #gardenpunk newsletter to stay updated with all the other retro and whimsical lifestyle things coming up.

Thanks for reading!



Book Review: A Year Without the Grocery Store by Karen Morris

If you've been looking into food storage, you may have come across this book by Karen Morris. I recently purchased it using my audible credit for the month to see if there were any new tips that would help with my "Victory Life" goals. I'm happy to say that I found it to be a good resource for anyone brand new to the food storage community. However, I will mention that I also think it's probably going to be more of a reference than a source of new information for anyone that's more advanced than a beginner when it comes to the book's topic. Perhaps that was the author's goal, thus mission accomplished!

I appreciated that Morris was explaining her system through a mom's eyes since I relate to that with four kids of my own. Although I'm already tuned in to most of the bulk food resources she suggested thanks to the YouTube homesteading community (Azure Standard, Mennonite/Amish food warehouses, etc.), Morris did have some ideas that I hadn't put much thought into such as car food storage and kits specifically planned for power outages vs. general backup supplies. Since we are moving to Mississippi soon and hurricanes are annual events, maybe I'll take some of the advice in that area.

Overall, A Year Without a Grocery Store is a quick read (only 3 hours, 20 minutes on audio!) and definitely either a good place to start for your food storage journey or a good recap to mentally check through all the things you're currently doing if you're not new to the lifestyle. There are lists, worksheets, and planning pages provided that are useful if you aren't already organized as well as you want to be in those areas. Plus, the book has a companion website that further details information from the book and offers more articles on related topics.

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