Internship Programs

Internship in Permaculture & Community Living

Immerse Yourself in the Land and Life of Tropical La’akea


Winter Program: February 1-29
Summer Program: June 6-July 3

Apply here.


I have grown personally as much or more in my one month at La’akea as I did in my 4 1/2 years of college. –Kayla Hulsey, Intern Summer 2011

The Internship in Permaculture and Community Living is your chance to spend four weeks living and learning at  La’akea Community, located in the big island’s lush and exciting district of Puna.

As an intern at La’akea, you will strengthen your relationship to the earth and to food through a daily process of hands-on work and learning. You will also learn valuable skills in community living through daily sharing circles, workshops in non-violent communication and peer counseling and exposure to consensus decision-making.

  • Check out our tentative internship calendar.
  • Watch former interns describe their experiences in this video.
  • For an general overview of life at La’akea, go here. 




Learn permaculture both through classes and daily work with plants (annual and perennial) and animals (chickens, rabbits, worms, bees and sheep). With plants, you will practice propagation, transplanting, mulching, fertilizing, pruning, harvesting and seed saving. With animals, you will learn about animal systems, ongoing and special care, breeding and conscious harvest. You will see other examples of tropical permaculture in tours to inspiring local farms. Watch this video of instructor (and member) Tracy Matfin discussing permaculture on site at La’akea.


DSC04810Harvest, prep and eat food grown at La’akea and locally on the island of Hawaii and share this daily connection to food with other interns and community members. As an intern, you will work with a rich variety of tropical and temperate foods–with tropical starches like taro, cassava and peach palm; with greens like kale, edible hibiscus, katuk and chaya; with medicinal plants like hydrocotl, turmeric, and annato; and with tropical fruits, like oranges, jackfruit and papaya.


peer counseling


Learn skills in personal growth and community living. Interns and members come together for daily check-ins and a weekly heart-share, where they practice listening and speaking from their deeper selves. As an intern, you are welcome to attend a series of classes in the powerful practices of non-violent communication and peer counseling. You will also have the opportunity to explore a form of huna, Hawaiian spirituality, through weekly evening classes. Lastly, you will be welcome to observe consensus governance at our weekly business meetings.

hot_tub_carson_ford_yatesEnjoy the culture and lifestyle of La’akea and the district of Puna. At La’akea, you will have abundant opportunities to play and discover. For example, you can explore our ohia forests, relax in the wood-fired hot tub or kid around with our kids. Off the land, you can dance wild at Kalani ecstatic dance, snorkel, swim and surf at nearby beaches, explore geothermal steam vents and caves, chill in Pahoa town, attend classes in yoga and acro-yoga and visit Uncle Robert’s Wednesday Night Market.












Living Here

Weather: Located at 1200 feet elevation on the windward side of the island, La’akea experiences a range of weather that makes prediction impossible. It could be very sunny or very rainy or anything in between. Chances are good that some of the outdoor work parties will be blessed by rain.

Housing: Standard housing options for interns include open-air steel-framed camping structures (tent needed) and tarp and screen quonset huts. A limited number of cabins are available for an extra fee.

More about food: Much of the food will come from La’akea and locally from the island of Hawai’i. Interns will also have access to our pantry, which includes, among other things, oils, vinegars, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, teas, flours, bread, pasta, legumes and grains and spices.

A typical weekday during the the internship begins before main breakfast with work on the land. Work during the cool and beautiful mornings can build energy in you and connect you deeply with the land and with your companions. Next comes breakfast and community “check-ins.” At check-ins, people on the land come to the Main House to share “what’s alive” for them and listen to others share. After this rest, you return to work that is often less strenuous and more complex than that of early morning. You partake in a daily ritual of harvest and prep of food and medicine. This food is featured at lunch and dinner, meals which are shared with the community. Afternoons and evenings are frequently times for meetings and classes in emotional and spiritual well-being.


Interns close up



Watch a video testimonial

Written testimonials:

“My experience at La’akea taught me not only how to survive off the grid, but how to engage more with my peers for truly meaningful relationships. I found it fascinating, enlightening, and very magical. What a beautiful place and amazing group of people to have worked with. I can’t wait to come back.”  — Allie Hubert, Summer 2011

“Staying at La’akea for the one month has had so much impact on how I live, my levels of stress, what i find important in life, on so many other things. Most significantly I now feel so free, I don’t know how i lived life any other way, i wasn’t living life. By free I mean free of so many unnecessary social boundaries I chained myself down with. I am not living in fear anymore. I am no longer afraid to share, to be open and be vulnerable, I am not sure if i even knew how to be those things before. I can dance–now I can be silly in front of people, I can be myself and I can connect with people at a level previously not possible. I think your beautiful community played a huge part in my mental shift, through your openness, not holding anything back, trust, constant encouragement to share whats inside, and love. Thank you for having me in your community.” – Devin, Summer 2012

“Great experience! The most valuable thing I took away was all the positive additions to my healthy communication toolbox and the month long community experience!” — Nicole, Winter 2012

“I’d recommend it to a million and a half people.” – Lee, summer ’08

“Please know that my experience with you all has been a great point of reflection and continual transformation…Mahalo again for everything…” — Kevin, 2010

“I came here to learn about growing things, and what I really learned about was growing people.” – Emily ’09

“This is more than I ever dreamed of….” – Ann, fall ’08


Ready to apply?

We ask $750 for the program. A portion of your money goes to your living expenses (food, materials and use of facilities) and a portion supports the community for the energy that its members dedicate to the program.

We ask you to pay a $25 application fee. We will process your application once you have paid this fee. Paypal money to For those who attend, this $25 will go toward the total of $750.

Go to the internship application



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