The ex-Mennonite ‘Born Again’ mom joins the modern world and is able to communicate with unparalleled homemaking skills on Instagram. | Tech Reddy


RuthAnn Zimmerman had no idea what her life was like the image internet until after searching the hashtag “homesteading” on Instagram. Soon after, the homesteading hashtag was discovered each.

Born a Pennsylvanian Mennonite—riding horses and arrows, the whole thing—she and her husband, Elvin, were gifted with life skills for most of the time. America today, it’s about the apocalypse-loving, patriot prepper.

In 2000, six months after getting married, they sold their 20 acres in northeast Iowa, on the advice of the royal couple. “It’s a cultural thing to do after you get married, to sell your property and start raising a family,” he told The Epoch Times. “At that point, we were just doing what was expected of us.”

But that changed when they became born-again Christians and they chose to join the society they loved—to some extent.

So, they pulled out of the same Mennonite lifestyle and planted one foot in the modern world (hence the Instagram account). “It took a long time for us to learn how to handle all the technology,” he said, adding that they have been living between the two worlds for the past 15 years. “And in doing so we began to look back and embrace our heritage.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)

They found benefits in two ways of life: while keeping as much of the modern world as possible, they were surprised by new experiences. Yet there is a great appreciation for tradition, as many Americans now know. “I didn’t know homesteading was a new thing—it was the way we lived—until a friend pointed it out,” RuthAnn said. “’Hey, you should use the hashtag homesteading.’ And that was in 2020.

“So I started touching on that hashtag and found that people were really hungry for a simple lifestyle, for a homely lifestyle, to be more independent.

“And that’s how I ended up where I am today.”

An Ex-Mennonite Survivalist Homesteader Posts on Instagram

Since starting her Instagram, RuthAnn has amassed 65,000 followers seeking her ultimate homestay experience. He began to share his family’s admirable deeds. Living on their 8,000-square-acre property, the couple, who are in their late 40s, and their seven children, ranging in age from 6 to 21, can provide for themselves. individual for more than one year. But the farm doesn’t pay for itself. Elvin runs a local hardware store, and RuthAnn keeps costs down by working from home.

They have a large farm, a 4 acre paddock for beef cattle and pigs, 12 fruit trees, turkeys, a chicken house, and a converted barn. In the garden, they grow tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, raspberries, strawberries, peppers, and onions—things that grow in northern Iowa. Getting their first milk cow in 2014 was a big moment, he said, “and you know you’re 100 percent sure to stay.” No animal vaccinations—if at all (the Zimmermans are Mennonites after all). Cows come to the barn for grain snacks whenever they want. Meat is an example of nature’s method.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)

“Raised chicken doesn’t taste like store-bought,” RuthAnn said. “I don’t think it’s chicken from the grocery store, when I cook it, it doesn’t smell like chicken to me. It’s not like my mind smells like chicken.”

The benefits are clear, but the home is not running. RuthAnn and the children get up at 6 o’clock to do chores. “Two of my kids go out to the animals right now,” she said. “I and one of the children will milk the cow, the other child will do other work, to take the chickens. The other three children are in the house making breakfast, packing food and doing laundry. Well, yes, during the summer the kids don’t go to school, the garden is the main thing, because that’s what feeds them all winter.”

Their goals are simple, he said: “to be easy, to be comfortable and to be with our families here, day by day, to work on the land.”

Freedom is It’s important to any former Mennonite Missionary

Like many Americans today, the Zimmermans have seen rising prices at the grocery store and government influence in every aspect of people’s lives, so they appreciate they are free to themselves. Raised a Mennonite, RuthAnn says it wasn’t fear that drove them, but something that happened spiritually.

“Our first mission is to spread the Gospel,” he said. “And if we begin to lose some small parts of freedom without looking or carelessly, it will not take long for that last freedom to disappear as well—the freedom to religion.

“Hungry people are easy to control, hungry people who don’t know how to feed their families make decisions that don’t glorify God, because of the great need for provision.

“So it’s important to me that we can raise our family in a way that they hope that they will never end up in a dangerous position where they can’t glorify God because they didn’t have the skills to provide a proper way. They had to.”

RuthAnn added, “Our goal, number one, is to raise our children with all the skills to be a blessing for [next] generation, and let it be good giver of society without the carrier.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)

Like other Americans, both have “strong political views,” he said. As parents, they are concerned about future generations about what is coming down the pipe. “But [politics] It will not define our daily life, “he said. “We know that the battle has been won [in Heaven]. We know that God is on the throne, no matter who is in office on earth.

Living with one foot in the modern world, RuthAnn shares her journey to “self-empowerment” to take the next steps to become more self-sufficient. Urban residents are less likely to rely on the “weak system.” “Looking at mainstream America, for example, they’re all buying boxed mac and cheese or chicken alfredo in the box,” he said. “If the shelves are empty, do you know how to buy flour and eggs and make your own pasta? There is always a path less traveled and less reliable.”

However, crossing two cultures is problematic. The children are not homeschooled. They go to a private Christian school but often spend too much time working with their friends, enjoying football after school and extracurricular activities. Sometimes, the family thinks differently from the world; freedom has a price.

Is RuthAnn Missing Being a Mennonite?

“I miss the community. I miss the culture. I don’t miss the religious oppression,” he said. “But in the community living at home on Instagram, I have found a community that I love every bit as much as I love my Mennonite community.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)

(Courtesy of Homesteading with the Zimmermans and @ruthannzimm)

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Michael Wing

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Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and trained in the arts. He writes primarily on culture, human interest, and popular news.





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