May 2020 Update: Members, Events and COVID, Oh my!

May 9, 2020  La’akea community update

Wow that was a sudden change! 

We had a busy winter with wonderful events all of January and Feb, and La’akea was bustling with friends,farm supporters and guests.  We had enough money from the events to pay our old debts mostly off, after many years, and buy fertilizer and other things we needed for the farm.

 

 

We pretty much recovered from the shock of the eruption a couple years ago that was only a few miles 

away, although the volcanic rift zone is nerve wrackingly close.  Only two lots away constant steam is coming from the ground, in huge warm billows.  Several houses have become uninhabitable because of sitting on a stem vent.  Plants and palm trees are reduced to baked nubs.  It is a strange apocalyptic scene, but we managed to avoid that fate.  We just smell the steam sometimes and the heavy metals in it bothers some of us.

We had some time to recover and pack away all our supplies for next year, and POW! the pandemic is in full swing, Hawaii shut down and we are in social isolation!

In February we added a new member, Janice Johnson, otherwise known as JJ (Yay!  We are so excited!). 

JJ has been living with us a lot over the past couple years as a trial member, and she finally decided to take the leap!  We had a sweet welcoming ceremony.

And then, suddenly we are all here together, with no where to go and no one else coming through!  We have our usual crew of 2 children (now 12 years old) and 8 members, as well as 3 farm supporters, Michael, Dusty and Mango.  Mango has since been accepted as a new trial member!  

We had long meetings about how to handle it the pandemic.  Should we stay connected in our little group of 13 people, and be able to touch and be close? How close should we be to others?  Should we shut down the Airbnb that one of us runs, even though we never see the guests?  Should we see our lovers who live off the land?  Should the kids see their friends, and if so, how many and how often?  How many of us should go out and do shopping (the most dangerous activity we have to do)?  How should we spend the money we have, considering that our usual source of income is from visitors and live events?  How much should charge our farm supporters for being here, considering they just lost their jobs?

We decided that certainly we wanted to to all touch and hug and cuddle!  That would have been really hard to stop.  Plus, we all eat at the same kitchen so we see each other all the time.

At first we were really cautious, and sprayed disinfectant all over the common surfaces everyday, and required everyone to wash hands and change clothes after going out to shop.  We stopped seeing all our friends or having visitors.  We have an elder here in his 80s with pre-existing health challenges and we wanted to be sure he was safe.  We bought enough bulk food for a few months of feeding ourselves, and we bought enough herbal treatments to help if COVID blew through our community.  We had political discussions about the effects of the lockdown, and the worldwide economic repercussions and losses of civil rights.

We had some tense moments when one of our children came down with a fever and sore throat.  He and his mom had to quarantine from the rest of us for a week while we brought them food, and that was not easy for any of us.  We think now that he had strep throat.

After a while, it became clear that COVID is really not in our area.  There have only been 75 recorded cases on our island, and one hospitalization, and no deaths, and almost all in Kona on the other side.  So even though we still wear masks to go out shopping, and still wash hands well when we come back, we are relaxing our guard.  

This week we have begun to allow residents to see friends at their own dwellings.  We can have small gatherings in our outdoor space if we stay well apart from each other.  And we can see our outside lovers.

So it feels cozy and warm and sweet to be all together.  I have been really enjoying the lower traffic through the community and the chance to get to know each other better with the people who are here.  We kind of have a built in party here.  We have been doing hot tubs, cuddle and movie nights, work parties on the land and massage nights.  

We have had creative heartshare evenings, like a recent one where we took turns having our feet pampered in warm water with a foot rub by 3 people at once!

Funny how when you can’t go out for entertainment, you look around and notice that the garden needs weeding.  And maybe we could expand the garden by uncovering those beds in the corner from 4 years of cane grass growth and grow even more food.  And maybe the garden fence should be repaired and cleared. 

And what about getting more baby chickens, since our flock is down to 4?  How about some baby sheep that Ai’ala can raise for a 4H project?  What about that tomato/cucumber shed that is totally buried under years of plant growth? Now our gardens are bursting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael has created a new fenced in raised bed to try to grow potatoes, and has planted corn, despite the warning that it won’t grow well here… he is going for it anyway!  And that tomato shed is now uncovered, after hacking away at the vital, persistent jungle for a couple hours. 

A new lilikoi trellis has been built by Michael and Ruben, and a new baby chicken cage now houses a few dozen adorable peepers!

 

 

 

 

 

Also Dusty and others are building a sweat lodge.

We suddenly converted to homeschooling instead of their usual Waldorf school, and they were very unhappy not to attend the school and see their friends.  They have been doing their homework from home and we have Tracy who is a great teacher to support them.  See below for photo of bored kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children made movies about their social distancing time, learning to use video programs.  Here is one from Ai’ala: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCzO_WEl0g8

Personally, I found that I really was glad for all the years of investment of time and money into this community.  All the time building relationships, building trust, and building my cabins.  I see many of my friends stuck in apartments by themselves, having a hard time during the pandemic. 

I had been doing a lot of traveling and teaching in person classes, and creating large festivals on the mainland, and that was my primary income.  Suddenly I am personally in a different reality, and my income suddenly dried up.  I had to cancel everything I had planned all spring and summer.

Including a Hawaii wedding with Michael and I.  We had one planned but it was just a bit too late to continue with the friends we invited.  So we just did it anyway, with the folks here, who all helped us do parts of the ceremony, and it was very very sweet.  We plan to do a mainland ceremony also, which we moved back to September.  We hope it can happen!

However, I have been wanting to learn to do online classes for a while now, and suddenly, learning zoom and obtaining enough phone data has become highest priority.  I am glad for the small stimulus check that helped me keep going and am hoping to someday see some unemployment money.  And now I theorectically have time to edit some videos and write that book on Co Counseling.

I hope all of you are weathering the storm OK. 

Please feel free to tell us your stories on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Laakea.Community

We look forward to seeing you face to face someday again!

love,

Amara, (member)

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What are these huge leaves?

Have you ever noticed how many HUGE leaves there are in Hawaii?  Here are some from the La’akeq land.  Do you know the names of the plants? 

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2013 Local Food Contest Entries- Volcanic Sweet Potatoes!

Yum!  Check out these wonderful dishes that we all enjoyed at the Seed Exchange this year!IMG_0382 IMG_0381 IMG_0380 IMG_0379 IMG_0377 IMG_0376 IMG_0374

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2013 Seed Exchange- Videos of the Speakers

We had a wonderful annual seed exchange this year, with a nice big crowd, lots of good food, and some really fine speakers.  Here are the links to the movies of the talks, so you can learn too!

Summary list:  See below for vids

Saving Your Garden Seeds

Raw Dairy Politics and Health

Making Raw Yogurt at Home

Raising Bees Naturally

Making Mead from Raw Honey

Local Non Grain Flours

Grazing on Perennial Greens 

 

Saving Your Garden Seeds  5:56 mins

Saving your own garden seeds is fun and easy!  Learn about resources for education on seed saving, and how local seed exchanges and seed banks are forming.  Help preserve our genetic biodiversity and grow your own!  A talk by Lynn Howe at the East Side Seed Exchange 2013, Big Island of Hawaii.

 

Raw Dairy Politics and Health  10:18

Join Diga Kern in an exploration of why using raw dairy products is a wonderful healthy addition to your diet.  A short history of the political reasons why it is hard to get good raw milk, and how to find a source of it near you.  A talk from the East Side Seed Exchange 2013, Big Island, Hawaii.

 

Making Raw Yogurt at Home   12:23 mins

Learn how to make delicious and healthy raw milk yogurt yourself in this step by step outline of a simple process. With Diga Kern, at the East Side Seed Exchange 2013, Big Island, Hawaii.

 

Raising Bees Naturally  15:50

Learn how to keep bees using natural, nontoxic methods, and without using any of the standard chemicals. What is the difference between honey, pollen, nectar, and bee bread?  Jen Rasmussen explains how she controls small hive beetles and varroa mites in her hives.  A talk from the East Side Seed Exchange, 2013,  Big Island, Hawaii.

 

Making Mead from Raw Honey    7:05

Want to make easy, wonderful healthy meads (honey wine) and ginger ales? Natural beekeeper Jen Rasmussen tells you how.

Local Non Grain Flours  11:36

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi-1EktW1Q

How can we make yummy breadlike foods living in a tropical rainforest, where growing grains is difficult? Join Tracy Matfin in a short exploration of making flour from tapioca root (cassava), peach palms, and taro root.

 

Grazing on Perennial Greens  7:37

Join Tracy Matfin as she teaches about edible perennial greens for your tropical gardens in Hawaii! A talk from the 2013 seed exchange at La’akea Community.

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Local Food recipes, winner! 2012 Cookoff

100% LOCAL FOOD COOK OFF AND POTLUCK!

Here are some of the recipe entrees for our 2012 contest….

The winner was… Alasandra, for her Mac Nut Pate!

These were some of the other yummy entrees:

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Fall Equinox Festival Seed Exchange 2012 Report

Report on our seed exchange, Saturday September 22nd, 2012 At La’akea Permaculture Community We had a fantastic Seed Exchange, with over 130 people attending, lots of trading local plants, and yummy food!   There were informational tables on GMO food … Continue reading

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Winter Internship and Permaculture course were amazing!

Winter was a busy time for us here, with non stop events for a couple of months.  It was amazing, stimulating and rewarding to have 16 people join us for the month of February, and 25 join us for the 2 week Permaculture Design Course in March.  What a high quality of people are coming through these days!

Here are some comments from our interns, and some photos:

“The most valuable thing I will be taking away from this experience was practical knowledge about community living, being with people, supporting myself, others and the community. Also new knowledge about working with plants and soil, preparing food. I also discovered some old intuitive knowledge come out from me when working with food, seeds, soil and plants. People holding the program (the Laakea members) have years of experiences and you can feel that because all is so well organized.

Besides that they provide you with community living tools, love and compassion in practice (morning check-ins, heart sharing,…) It is much more than just about permaculture techniques it is spiritual, heart opening, community living, people, communication,…”

Aleksander L,  Winter 2012 Intern

 

“The most valuable thing I took from la’akea is          L-O-V-E. Everywhere, in everything, and in every person I met. The plants and sunshine radiated it even more. It showed me how to be my authentic self as a woman, and to be completely open. To stay in a state of bliss and share my feelings openly knowing that I would not be judged but completely supported with open arms, and lots of hugs :). La’akea opened my soul even more and brightened my spirit! I am still glowing! We did so much dancing, singing, sharing, and group exercises that filled us with joy.

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, honestly it was the best thing I have ever done. They took your insecurities and helped you build confidence in every supporting way amongst 20 plus people! It was a natural high living in the jungle, barefoot, on the land, and amongst such special and unique people who I cherish as my family now. The bonding that happened over a months time was incredible, I feel as if I have known them my entire life! I love each and everyone uniquely and cherish our moments spent together.

It also gave me such a great perspective on life. That you can touch peoples lives and connect and live off the land together in a warm and positive way, sustainable and off the grid. Enjoying every moment, every minute of your life. Taking time to be conscious and reflect on what is joyous and feels good. That you can slow down and take the time to breathe in the fresh air and take time to be present and BE ALIVE! Everything at la’akea was so incredibly precious and very valuable to me and the transformation that took place for me in a months time in unspeakable.

The permaculture classes were awesome! I had a blast, enjoying what I love most, getting dirty under the sun and strengthening the plants and our mother earth, while gaining so much knowledge. Tracy, Judy, Aniko, and so many others did a fabulous job. It was another chance to bond with the members, talks with Fred on life, machete-ing with Randy and Biko, planting with Judy and Dona. I really got an understanding of what the bigger picture and goal is. I have a great interest in the tropical plants and medicinal uses, and was thrilled when Dona took the time to teach us about all of the different species and their healing properties. Annatto was my favorite, orange healing, of all.

I was extremely satisfied and it was more than I could have asked for. So thank you all, all who taught, and were involved in all of our transformations at La’akea because it was life changing and will never be forgotten. Thank you thank you! So many blessings, I still hear the beautiful conch :)

Love, Light, and Joy!”

Ashley M,  Winter 2012 Intern

 

“I have noticed that I am saying thank you to everyone a lot more then I did before I went to La’akea. Being transparent is probably the most valuable thing aside from the community and sustainable skills I’ve learned and added to my being. I feel a lot more comfortable expressing my self now, and letting people know how I feel at a particular moment. The people at La’akea really opened me up. This also has made me more comfortable with talking in front of people I am not familiar with. Throughout my whole time in the community I learned about communication. I think you guys are doing a great job with this. I told my friends how much I loved it and how life changing it was.

I was already aware and conscious of many things going on in this world. I knew we had to be more spiritual beings and go back to simpler ways to save this planet and our species. But you guys added so much more onto this growth that I started about 4 years ago. I told everyone how much love you are engulfed by. How much love and positivity was flowing around the air throughout each being. How good it felt to share everything with everyone and be apart of a community who cares so much about their land and each other. How it felt to actually live completely sustainable and being connected with your land everyday. How it felt to live simple and stress free. Going back to our roots, and living in the moment.

I told everyone back at home to go out and do something like this!!!! Because it will redirect your mind instantly. My mind was already redirecting and this place just grabbed that mind an ran with it as fast as light.  Mahalo La’Akea!”

Derek S.  Winter 2012 Intern

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Local Food Cook Off Recipes!

Wow, we had some wonderful local dishes brought to our Harvest Seed Exchange and Cook Off!  Here are some photos with recipes, in case you want to try some of them!

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Harvest Seed Exchange and Local Food Cook Off!

Did you miss this event?  We will have another one later… sign up on our email lists to get a notice!

 and watch this video of it in the meantime!

Harvest Festival Seed Exchange

Saturday November 26th, 9:30 – 3:30pm

At La’akea Permaculture Community

Bring your favorite dishes using only locally grown food for the 100%

LOCAL FOOD COOK OFF AND POTLUCK!

Bring SEEDS ONLY (please no plants, cuXngs, or keiki etc)

Exchange & Give Away localized

seeds (bringing seeds is not required)

Hear a panel on “Growing

Favorite Local Foods”

Enjoy Hula Performances!

Dance to Marimba Music!

Local Foods Cook-Off

Local Foods Panel

 At La‚akea Community

Nov. 26th  10:30 ˆ 1:30

Enter to win the first annual Puna Best Local Dish Award

Two Categories ˆ Sweet or Savory

All ingrediants must come from the big island

with the exception of Maui Cane Sugar

Entries must be 32 oz. by weight or volume and come with a written recipe

and list of sources for ingrediants

Winners will be selected by festival attendees

Contact Tracy@permaculture-hawaii.com or 443-4076 to enter

Schedule:

9:00 Table set up (bring your own table and chairs & scrap paper for seeds)

9:30 Opening Circle

9:45 Seed Swap

10:45 Panel Presentation

12:00 100% Local Food Contest

12:30 Local Food Potluck

(bring plates & utensils)

1:15 Hula Performance

1:45 Marimba Music and Dance

3:30 Closing Circle

Sponsor: La’Akea Community, 808 443 4076

Direc4ons: On Hwy 130 South of Pahoa between

MM 14 & 15, turn on Alaili Rd, follow signs for

La’Akea. Please Carpool!

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Summer Internship 2011 Wow!

We had a wonderful group of 9 interns stay with us for a month this summer, and they were a lively, involved and very harmonious group!  It was a joy to have them here.  Here are some photos of our summer fun, and comments are coming soon:

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