Update Nov 24, 2023

I’m experiencing a satisfied, full belly conclusion to an epic two days of collaboration!
Thanksgiving- we did our best to reclaim gratitude & connection from a historical event of subjugation by focusing on food from the land, family & friends.
We decided to create an imu, a traditional Hawaiian method of using steam & heat in a shallow pit lined with rocks to slow cook food. The last imu we did was over six years ago, either for a Puna Pono Fundraiser or a Seed Exchange, I cannot remember. It’s been so long we needed to dig a new pit.
Then we collected firewood and yesterday we had a big fire to heat the pit & the rocks. After about four hours we scooped out most of the coals, dousing them with water to create some lazy man’s biochar, lined the pit with banana stalks, then banana leaves, then ti leaves and put in the food!
We had five ulu, five large Kalo, 1 tray diced sweet potatoes, 1 turkey, 1 pig harvested that morning and 3 pig legs from the freezer! 115 lbs of pork! On top of the food we placed more ti & banana leaves, palm fronds, blankets and finally a tarp. Then we walked away…
Today we uncovered our food at 3pm, 22 hours after closing it up! Sooo yummy!
This was definitely a group effort. I’m very grateful to my fellow community members and the other residents here at La’akea community. Thank you Biko Long Björn Maynard Prem Ananda Thank Matfin Marion Sinniger Rick Sherman Teyo, Serra, Ruben, Andrew, Nathan Buckley & Amanda.
Finally we gathered for to enjoy the harvest with other friends & family- thanks Janice Johnson Amara Karuna Haridas Michael Holwell Aniko Michele Willoughby Patrick, Sam, Heidi, Jasmine, Diga & Norris!
The best part? Well the food was fantastic…. but the best was connecting with the land through the harvest & the cooking, connecting with each other throughout the collaborative process and enjoying each other’s company through conversation & music!
We steamed a turkey!
scroll through the images below to see the whole process!
Sending greetings to all! 
Tracy Matfin


Picture 1 of 23

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Update Sept 2023

La’akea has been buzzing with activity. We still have four trial members and we’ve gotten to know each other well enough that our business meetings are running smooth. As I mentioned last time, the main house is under renovation.

In 2022 we got caught up with all our debts. No more loan, no more equity buy outs. So we were able to direct the money that came in for much of 2022 to infrastructure upgrades! After years of hearing Cindy & others express excitement about a kitchen upgrade we looked into it. And found…..

To enlarge the kitchen we wanted to enlarge the deck, to enlarge the deck we needed to extend the roof and to extend the deck we needed to remove the old indoor shower house/pantry and to remove the old indoor shower we needed to build a new indoor shower. So …..

We swallowed the fly so to say….

The new bath house is complete! The roof extension complete! The old indoor shower has been torn down!


and…. the new deck is going up.

As a side effect the south facing hillside was also re landscaped. Our beloved herb spiral, created by Joel “wholly jolly”, was disassembled.  The roof repurposed to a covered dining area by the new fire pit. The herb garden moved to the eve of the new roof and a small kitchen garden put in place. Whew! 

Before the roof extension.

Now, we’re in the finishing touches on the deck expansion. Hence the group photo where several of us are standing in an opening.  All this to make the kitchen more spacious. But that’s next year.

Missing: Aniko & Kai’ea (in Hilo) & Amara & Michael (on a plane heading home to La’akea right now!)

In October we will be hosting Liberation.  A 6 day workshop on connecting with our inner child, identifying our imprints, understanding dissociation, exploring protective defenses and learning tools to upgrade our nervous system. I’m excited and curious to see what this is all about- so I’m participating. I’d love to have you join me in this exploration. 

More info: check out Liberation Retreat Hawaii Oct 2023 – Karuna Retreats (karuna-retreats.com)

In January 2024 we’ll be hosting our 2nd annual sufi dance camp. This is a six day gathering for singing dances of Universal Peace and co-creating music &  harmony. When I walked out of the meadow space after the Zikir last year I was one with the stars shining in the milky way above. It was amazing!

Dancing in Paradise, HI (danceandsufiretreats.com)

We’ll also be hosting Wintercamp 2024! Sign up now! I’m very much looking forward to seeing many of you again this year. Registration is open for both of these events so send in your applications!

New Culture Winter Camp (newculturehawaii.org)

Both kids are 15. Wow, what a way to mark time. Kai’ea is attending high school in Hilo and living with his mom, Aniko, primarily in Hilo. Ai’ala is attending HAAS indigital which is in Pahoa.  She’s still at La’akea with her parents. Both of the young adults are excited to drive soon. I remember that excitement myself. 


 I want to write a book. I want to assemble stories about living in the community and I would love to include you. So if you’re interested please send me a description of your stay at La’akea and how it affected you in a big or small way. Please share what you learned or experienced. Any length, whatever details, and if I include what you’ve sent me, I will send you my rewrite. I’m excited to embark on this adventure of looking at the last 18 and a half years of living on this beautiful piece of land with others. Send your story to tracy@permaculture-hawaii.com.

I wrote an article that was published in Awaken on The Spiritual Benefits of Living in Community. Here’s a link:  https://awaken.com/2023/04/the-spiritual-benefits-of-living-in-community/#post/0

We still have time for community barbeques!

What else? A few possibilities for cottage industry are being visited.  Biko is constructing some amazing furnishings from Ohia and mango. He’s really embracing the natural wonder of the roots & limbs. Follow him on Facebook for upcoming photos of his work. 

And Bjorn is very into fermentation.  He’s got kombucha, hot sauce and yogurt.

Teresa is experimenting with daikon kimchee.

Amara just completed her book on Holistic Peer Counseling.  This is an essential life skill for living with others. See https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Hand-Trade-Holistic-Counseling/dp/B0CH25LZFW/

I’m certain there’s more to come.

Soooo much love!


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Update January 2023


We are in the midst of our first Sufi Dance Camp getting very blissed out on amazing singing and dancing. Hopefully more of this next year. Winter Camp 2023 begins in one week – to a sold out group with a waiting list…..

Here are some videos of our dancing! Share the joy!


La’akea is jamming. We’ve just completed an extension on the main house roof – to the front porch may be enlarged again!!! This is in preparation of a major kitchen remodel we have been dreaming of.

To facilitate this we are also building a new bath house – still in finishing mode – oh…. the tile work involved……. It’s going to be one of the nicest places to bath indoors in Puna!

We have two new trial members and several potential members living with us right now. Tracy’s mom has moved in as a long term resident. We have 11 cats now… the sheep have moved on for a spell while we get our pastures in order and discover a new shepherd…. and the chicken flock is back up to 40+!

2023 promises to be a year rich in transitions, joy and abundance. I hope yours will be too.



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Update August 2022

Aloha Ohana!

While our community lost Prasad as an active member in October we gained Bjorn (Aka David) in April. Amara, Michael, Ananda, Aniko, Biko, JJ, Ruben & I are still active members and Randy occasionally passes by as our inactive member.

The land is looking amazing as we had an unprecedented summer filled with farm supporters and visitors. Amara & Michael traveled to the west coast visiting friends & hosting events, Aniko and Bjorn met up at summer camp while independently traveling the west coast and Biko, Ai’ala,  Ruben & I headed to Minnesota for a trip canoeing in the Boundary Waters for seven nights.

As we come back together we are looking forward to another fun filled winter of activities!  

Spring Camp this year brought a whole new level of expansion in our new culture circle.  Sam & Lisa are still with us and James came back for a few months.  And in October I’ll be co-leading a Permaculture Design Certification Course with Bruce Horowitz.  This will be held at Hawaiian Sanctuary this year.

As you can see….. abundance is present!



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Update Feb 2022

It’s been a while since we’ve reached out…. I hope this announcement finds you well with your needs for connection, joy and safety coming more into balance.

Here at the farm we’ve been through it and are enjoying coming back into alignment by once again offering workshops, visitations, tours and New Culture/Experimental Culture Camps! We just hosted our 2022 Winter Camp with tremendous success. We were all so cautious and caring for ourselves and each other that we didn’t have anyone even get a cold, which has frequently happened in the past with staying up late and pushing our personal edges to maximize growth, connection and fun!

Our Camps have such a large number of returnees that combined with our La’akea Members a wonderfully supportive container for personal growth and emotional empowerment is created. We have another camp we coming up this Spring – we decided to offer two this year for several reasons:

1- last year we did not,

2- we’ve reduced the size of camp for increased health, security & connection,

3- there were so many registrations for winter camp that we could not accommodate everyone.

Other than that…. we are thriving!

Our members are Amara, Ananda, Aniko, Biko, JJ, Michael, Randy, Ruben, Tracy & David (Bjorn) is a trial member (hopefully soon a member!)

Our dear Prasad died in November of 2021 after a long dance with cancer. We are grateful for the gift of his life and all the amazing ways he contributed to our community physically, emotionally and intellectually. He is buried here, on the hill, near Berni & Peter. Ai’ala and Kai’ea continue to grow up in our midst, being 13 & 14 years of age and in 8th grade. We thank all of you for all the support you have given while they attended the Waldorf school. 

We have an exciting visit this week from an intern from 2006! We landed here at La’akea in 2005 – so it will be fun to share the changes with a friend from so long ago. We have been successfully interweaving our personal lives with cohesive community for seventeen years this March 15th, 2022. 

Until next time!

Tracy Matfin

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Memorial Tribute to Prasad July 22


This week was Prasad’s birthday, and his memory was celebrated with a ceremony with songs from the tradition of Prem Baba.  We have 6 people here from Brazil and farm supporters, who enthusiastically added to the energy.

Prasad Dittman passed away October 29th, a few days before Halloween in 2021.  It was an amazing experience. He had been bedridden and in pain from his cancer for many weeks, and we took turns bringing him food and keeping him company in his last months.


At a small gathering at his house a few weeks before passing, we captured his loving last message in this short video.

He rallied his last strength and held a ceremony at his house the night before, and thanked everyone for coming to his “death party”. The next morning he called Ananda, his beloved friend and companion, and told her he felt it was time to go.  


All of us gathered around him singing as he transitioned. It was perfect. The sun was shining. He was at peace. Prem Ananda was holding him in her arms.

After he passed to the other side, and we dressed him in his ceremonial clothes, we sang together for him.  See the short video here.


The next day many friends gathered to attend his burial ceremony.  We were able to bury him on our land, as we have already been approved as a burial ground when our other member Bernie passed away. We sang as we threw handfuls of dirt over the body wrapped in white cloth.   See the moving video of the burial here.

Prasad was a mystic, a true priest and an ayahuascaro, a rascal and a rebel.  He loved little children.  He could fix anything and he built himself an amazing, artistic octagonal house on a hill on our land.  He hated going to meetings, and could not understand why we all had to sit around and hash out every little detail of each decision every week. He always advocated for relaxation, presence, and love.  Many people loved him.

I hope my own passage is as blessed as that.

Bon voyage Prasad!

Amara Karuna

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Introduction to La’akea Community Slideshow October 2021

Check out our new introduction to La’akea video!


Introduction to La’akea Community Slideshow

La’akea Intentional community is a small family of friends doing organic permaculture on our 24 acres of rainforest on the Big Island of Hawaii. We value emotional intelligence, communication skills, low impact living, and openness to alternative lifestyles. Take a tour with our members Tracy and Amara!

This was part of an Virtual Tour of Intentional Communities hosted through the Foundation for Intentional Community, in June of 2021

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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!


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

IMG_0373 IMG_0372 IMG_0371

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