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In Memory: Ruth Zinniker

The biodynamic movement owes so much to Ruth and the whole Zinniker family. Their farm has been a source of inspiration for thousands of people, many of whom came there to work as apprentices when they were young people and have gone on to be important leaders in the biodynamic movement. Ruth had a place in her heart for all these people and many others. She warmed the movement with her social gesture and her fiery enthusiasm. Thank you dear Ruth, thank you Zinniker family, for all you have given to help seed the biodynamic movement in North America. — Robert Karp

Biodynamics in the Heartland: The Legacy of the Zinniker Family Farm

By Janet Gamble (originally published in the Summer 2011 issue of Biodynamics)

There's a farm in the heartland where the cows have horns, the milking barn has stanchions, trees adorn the fence lines, windrows of compost dot the landscape, chickens strut and peck in the barnyard, and there’s an open place at the table for the weary traveler or friend. The Zinniker Family Farm exemplifies the farms of the past for those who can remember. But this third-generation family farm is also trying to bring its traditions and innovations into the future. Read more....

 

If you would like to share memories or thoughts of Ruth on this page or in the Fall issue of Biodynamics, we invite you to email Rebecca Briggs at rebecca@biodynamics.com.

Ruth was such an incredible pioneer in more ways than most of us can imagine. Her vision, dedication and hard work was not just to biodynamic agriculture but to all of the principles for which it stands — at its biological, social and spiritual dimensions. Her spiritual presence will continue to be with us for many years to come. — Fred Kirschenmann

Ruth Zinniker's vision of the future, from "Ruth Zinniker — A Life in Biodynamics," by Hilmar Moore in the Spring 1989 issue of Biodynamics

"B.D. is so individual, just like the farm. Of course you must know how to farm, but then you must work equally hard on the spiritual side. With the preps, you are the creator, the artist. You are given the spiritual forces and the materials, but you must put them together.

...Something is happening now. You can see it. Through the terrible pain something is growing. We have to keep biodynamics alive until it's really wanted, an old farmer said to me years ago. Now more and more want it. How can we meet each person? They are all looking for the same thing — vegetable growers, grain or dairy farmers, those with no animals — and yet each farm, each field, and each person is so individual. We can't fix anything for the future. We can only meet each person as they come, and meet each other through our work together."

What this means to me personally is having lost on this earth and of this generation another friend and companion who together in our past mutual efforts to spread and ground an understanding of the necessity in order to maintain the fertility of the sacred earth through what we always have called “biodynamic,” even though it is much more than we as humans might be able to explain, even though some of us might have experienced some of it. May the loyalty and faith in the spirit world that Ruth has had pass over to all those who now carry the burden of responsibility. — Heinz Grotzke

Honoring Ruth Zinniker at the 2012 Biodynamic Conference

In my role as garden teacher and farm practicum coordinator at the Kimberton Waldorf school from 1994-2008, I had the honor and opportunity, to send two ninth graders for two weeks, most years, to work on the Zinniker Farm. Although this was far to travel, it was the perfect pedagogy for these were fortunate students at that critical crossroad in their lives. We would compare observations by letter, and over the phone, about the weather, farming, and the young people in particular. After caring for the earth; farmers care for people. She will be sorely missed and long remembered. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. — Mason Vollmer

Ruth is an inspiration to all of us that worked with her. She served on BDA's board for many years and always brought us down to earth and back to heaven by word and by deed. She walked the talk and taught us to listen well. The preparation work and her appreciation for life that she shared with all, lives on in so many of us. Now we need to hold her in our hearts and through our will manifest the gifts that Ruth brought into this world of ours. Each one of us makes this world a reality and together we share the fruits and gifts of this wonderful world. Thank you, Ruth, for all that you have done while you were here on earth. We wish you from our hearts a safe journey. Farewell, dear friend. — Lincoln Geiger

She was a dear friend and stalwart example for me. I smile often thinking of the laughter at Sunday morning breakfast when I was fortunate enough to be included in the family meals. — Bobby Grimes