The Passing of a Pioneer, Linda Runyon

People impact each other to some degree or another but once in a while you meet someone that changes the course of your life.  These paradigm shifters rarely realize what an effect they make on their world.  Linda Runyon’s life shifted mine.

Linda died on Sunday, March 12. Not much has been on my mind since and I don’t know how to do her memory justice with a simple blog but I will try to share a bit of the impact she had on me.

Her work has become… my work. Her history fascinated me. Her adventures homesteading and living off the land captivated my imagination. Her keen observing eyes found beauty and usefulness in the smallest details of creation and brought her heart in tune with the Creator. Her joy of nature and passion to teach others continued even when her body had to be cared for in a retirement center where she turned their manicured lawns into edible weed gardens and taught nature art to the other elderly residents.  Her life had purpose, drive, and meaning till the end.  The last time I talked with her she was studying grasses and documenting their usefulness for food.

Of to Shoppe in the Cattail Store

I will miss her.  She showed such love to me by lighting a wild fire under me and watching it burn and spread to others uncontrolled.  She often told me that she was living out her dreams through me and was proud of my efforts to reconnect this generation to nature and nature’s God.  I would call her after a wild food event or a talk I gave and she would hang on every detail and cheer me on.  Several times I even called her during a class so my students could ask her questions.  What a joy that was both ways.
Even though I have only been with Linda twice in person, I have devoured all her wonderful books and have a complete Linda Runyon library.  I have listened to all of her newsy podcasts on Eating Wild and we have exchanged literally hundreds of emails.  I remember the first time I wrote to Linda, I was thrilled that she would respond and with such detail in answering my endless questions.  I couldn’t believe she would give so much of her time and encouragement to someone like me but she did.  Meeting Linda in person was such a thrill that I had to come home and write about it on my blog.  She even blessed me with a few of her homestead mementos which I now treasure.  Along with the joy of Linda, I have had the privilege of working with her son Eric and Rosary to advance Linda’s work through several publications. Here is another blog I wrote reviewing Linda’ fabulous book, Eat the Trees.


So, in memory of this great woman, Eric and Rosary are planning to publish a book in her honor, and to post testimonials to her website  They will be sending out a request via their website and email lists, so those who have been inspired by her words and work may contribute to it.  So please be considering what you would like to share of how Linda Runyon inspired you, plus a few of your best foraging pictures, a favorite foraging story, and your best wild edible plant recipe.  I would be happy to receive these submissions here at Wild Blessings if you want to send them along now, and I can forward them on to Rosary.

Please send your submissions to me here a Wild Blessings or to Rosary at Of the

This past year I have resumed Wild Blessings as a teacher after a hiatus of a few years.  Linda was thrilled.  One of the last times we talked I was laying in the hammock watching Autumn leaves float down from the Hickories, Chestnut Oaks, Sugar Maples, and Birches that towered above me relating to her my latest teaching event.  She hung on every word. As I hung on hers.

I will miss you precious Mentor but you will live on through me and through so many who valued you and your work.

With deep gratitude and love,


Teacher and Student







  1. Sharon Fastow says

    I will miss Linda too. I never met, but feel I know get somewhat through her books.

  2. Dear Holly,

    Thank you for letting us know of Linda’s passing. It makes me sad, but I know that her mission on this earth is over, and she’s happy on the Other Side.



  3. My dear Holly,
    When I “found” Linda online, she is what I still consider my Epiphany on self-sustainability, my reason for getting into the plants for food and medicine. I wish I could have met her in person and I too was shocked and grateful simultaneously when she answered email! I couldn’t believe it that she would take time out to respond to me. I also devoured her books and pods and to this day I believe her to be the pioneer of what are considered preppers and the new homesteaders now a days. She was my light, my answer years ago when I needed something that I couldn’t explain what it was and then I found her and her wealth of information. She will be missed. Thank you always for your descriptive words and so glad you are renewing this blog again. I found you through her! I have told you that before. Hopefully one day I am able to meet you. xoxo best always, Zamira

  4. Marlene Bragelman says

    I am so, so grieving right now.

    • I just saw your comment. I miss Linda every single day. Reminders of her are not just in my physical surroundings but in the person I am. She has shaped and impacted so many of us.

  5. I met Linda in 2004 in Shiloh, NJ. She autographed her book “From Crabgrass Muffins to Pine Needle Tea” for me. She created a “weed walk” and I learned so much about edible wild plants. The one story she told me which blew my mind was when she was forced to live in the woods to protect her child. Authorities wanted to institutionalize him. The child overcame his health problems by only eating wild plants. He became a professor at Syracuse University! She was also harrassed by the government until they realized that soldiers could benefit from her knowledge of surviving in the desert. Your spirit will live on!

  6. Joyce A. Vanselow says

    I JUST found out that Linda died from her son as I had sent her a holiday card just recently and since she was usually the very first one to send a card to me, I was thinking that maybe this year I had instead been first to send to HER. I had worked with/for and learned from Linda back in the ’80s. She made a HUGE impact on me and my family. My husband and I valued her friendship and my kids loved to visit her as she always had clover or rose popsicles with just a drop of honey in each one- they were truly beautiful works of art. I scrubbed roots for her and helped do mailings and assisted her in her classes when she lived in our area in northern upstate NY (the Adirondacks, where we still live.) I read your words and know just what you mean. Linda’s work brought me into contact with many people whom I might not have otherwise met. Her audience and students ran the gamut of all walks of life: family people, former military, survivalists/folks living off the land, college students, spiritual seekers… and I just feel so very privileged to have been part of it all while she lived here. I envy you your recent work and connection with her, but she and I had our time and I treasure it always. I wish I could have maintained that relationship more closely, but could not for many reasons. When she died, my family was in the throes of dealing with a serious health issue that my husband was having and I knew nothing of her passing till now, as I have said. I send you supportive thoughts today, from within my own grieving for the loss of Linda: dear and long-time friend, teacher and valued elder. All best to you.

  7. I just picked up, again, Linda’s book: From Crabgrass Muffins to Pine Needle Tea. I shared a day with her in her beautiful log home in New Jersey around 2003. I googled her name and found your tribute. Thank you for carrying her work forth in the world.

  8. Karen Runnels says

    I just reread this, days away from my third class with you in your new online Teaching Tuesday offering. Finally being able to attend your classes remotely is one of the few good things the pandemic has brought me.

    You introduced me to Linda Runyon some years ago, gifting me with one of her books that I treasure. I’m sad to say that after a difficult move I never unpacked most of my boxes of books, including hers.

    Reading this again has inspired me to at least plan the long overdue task of unpacking my books & setting up my library & office in the unused space I had long ago designated for it.

    I also actually still have the little brown paper bag of wild seeds you collected for me, upon which you hand wrote a list of all the names of the seeds it contains. I didn’t plant them because I was afraid I might be moving again.

    Incredibly, I’ve only just now realized that I’ve put part of myself & my life “on hold” by never completely unpacking my books & certain other belongings.

    This week you’re teaching us about the “Winter Pause” & “Seizing the Seasons,” the perfect time for me to undergo my own winter of rest & reflection to prepare for my personal renewal & growth in the coming spring.

    I will finally plant your wild seeds & at last put down my own roots along with them, growing & blossoming along with your wild gifts. Not surprisingly, there was some trauma associated with that last, difficult move from which I have (mostly) healed, but see now that I have not resumed fully living & doing all the things I love.

    It’s past time for me to return to art, music, writing, & wild plants & herbs. I just got my guitar out of the closet where it’s been untouched for years. You’ve got me writing poetry again for the first time in years, as well as exploring the woodlands, getting reacquainted with my old tree friends.

    Thank you for continuing Linda’s work, carrying her legacy, connecting people with wild growing foods & plants. I’m going to order more of Linda’s books to add to my new library. I’m excited about continuing to learn from you about foraging, riding nature’s wave & staying connected to the rhythms & cycles of the wild world of plants & trees.

    • I am so glad Karen. It is such a joy to connect with you in this way. Linda would be so thrilled. I am deeply grateful for the many books she took the time to write as an overflow of her wild life. I miss her!

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