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


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.

Posted in La'akea Updates | Tagged , | Comments Off on 2013 Seed Exchange- Videos of the Speakers

Local Food recipes, winner! 2012 Cookoff


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:

Posted in La'akea Updates | Comments Off on Local Food recipes, winner! 2012 Cookoff

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

Posted in La'akea Updates | Comments Off on Fall Equinox Festival Seed Exchange 2012 Report

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

Posted in La'akea Updates | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Winter Internship and Permaculture course were amazing!

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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Local Food Cook Off Recipes!

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%


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


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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Harvest Seed Exchange and Local Food Cook Off!

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:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Summer Internship 2011 Wow!

Update 2011 April

La’akea 2010/11


As our little ones reached toddlerhood, life became more easeful for the La’akea family, especially the parents.

While two and three year olds are a challenge we mostly experience them as a delight finding joy in their curiosity, learning and humor.

Adjusting to our routines, they participate in check in and generally delight in their caregivers.  A childcare policy was established to assure they are given space and encouragement to have and release their individuality and feelings.

A very well received homeschool for little ones was started one morning a week.   This stimulated the growth of a playground that now has a trampoline, slide, jungle gym, and sand box.

bunniesThe homeschoolers also enjoy the bunnies a project initiated when Ai’ala received a male and female for her 2nd birthday.

While bunnies make great fertilizer, and eat almost anything from our abundant jungle, they also very prolific.

A system was created to manage the population.   Eating them was not an option as some community members developed a close relationship.


We were delighted to receive Randy as a new member.  He comes from Vancouver Island and brings so many skills.  Most important his love and care for our children and gardens.  We feel blessed to have him join our family.

Amara moved on to the land this year. She is very happy in her new space and to awaken to the sounds of birds and buzzing bees.  The rest of us are happy to have her close.

We experienced a tragedy this Fall when our 9 bee hives suddenly died, from a combination of two new parasites (to Hawaii), the varoca mite and the small hive beetle.  We were sad to lose the bees, their love, pollinating and honey. This happened to most of the hives on the Island.  Pollination still seems to be happening   Wild honeybees and a few domestic bees have survived while beekeeper rally to find solutions to reestablishing our hives.

We were surprised and delighted to receive a grant of approximately 10,000 dollars from the US Department of Agriculture (over three years) to do basically many of the things we wanted to do.  The grant sped up mulchingour orchards/gardens, and establishing better forage for our sheep.   Part of the grant was a new greenhouse with gutter system which we are in the process of getting up.

Our lawn mowing, weed whacking, sheep, did a great job and were also great reproducers.  We sold some. Meat eaters in the community enjoyed luau mutton.  We created a system to keep the sheep population at a number beneficial to our orchards.  We hand raised a female sheep from birth whose mom decided to abandon her.  We’re hoping a tame sheep will do spot weeding and be easy to milk in the future.

Our 3 intern programs were successful, fun and challenging.   As we learn to better integrate our teaching, working, and community life the program continues to evolve.

Our seed exchange was an overwhelming success although smaller attendance, those present seemed to be the folks really interested in “Doing it”.  Learning about the seeds that were exchanged and actually planting them.  Six local farmer/permaculture experts gave a insightful panel on how to grow food, live more sustainably and love their land, soil, and families.

Biko and Tracy who set out to build a mostly natural (Ohia Post) and recycled material house, are almost

finished with a beautiful space including cordwood walls, bamboo, ohia (from dead trees) and quava from our land with a bit of lumber and gear from hardware stores.

Bernie our eldest member who has been transient in the past, made the big move. La’akea is now his permanent residence, he purchased one of the small houses already on the property.

Many educational tours were given including several to University classes.  We continue to have a great working relationship with the University and hope to work closer with them in the future.

blessings to all, Dona & Amara

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Update 2011 April

Update 2010 New Year

Tracy’s 2009 Update!

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!
Can you believe it?  We made it to 2010!!  When I was a kid, I remember calculating how old I would be in the year 2000, now I’ve made it to that mile marker and beyond.  What an amazing year it has been.  So many of my dreams have come true and life’s abundance continues to astound me.  I’d love to share some of this past year with you…

Tracy and Ai'alaFirst of all, Ai’ala and I made it through our first year together.  She lights up my life in the most amazing ways.  I am incredibly grateful.  As the months go by we grow closer, as the hormones lessen and the relationship deepens. We laugh, giggle, smile and cry.  She took her first steps on her birthday and now runs!  Although her spoken vocabulary is still relatively small, she understands so much.

Secondly, as a community, we are bustling!  These last two years saw our core grow. Don’t worry though – there’s still plenty of room for you to join!

In the summer of ’08 we held our first successful internship program.  For this program we invite people to come live with us for a month.  They get to experience community life, living on a farm off the grid in Hawaii.  They also get several permaculture classes and community living skills classes.  The program has become a big hit.  This winter, our 2010 winter program begins Jan. 13th and we have a waiting list and will have to turn people away.  This program gives a way to share our vision of sustainability with others.  My dreams of teaching where I live have actualized.

This past summer we also hosted our first truly successful permaculture course – thanks to Jay Ma of the Living Mandala Group.

Aside from that, I just want to share how blessed I feel to be alive.  I live in a beautiful place.  I have two families – one blood, one chosen.  I feel loved by them both.  On the farm we grow a huge percentage of our own food – so delicious and nutritious is the norm.  If you haven’t had a chance to come visit yet, I highly encourage you to do so.

May this New Year bless every one of you as much as you can stand!  Your hopes and dreams can come true!


Posted in La'akea Updates | Comments Off on Update 2010 New Year

Update in 2008

So much has happened…. here’s a glimpse!
We began an internship program to complement our existing work exchange program in the summer of ’07. That first summer the enrollment wasn’t sufficient to run a full program, but we had a group of folks arrive at the same time anyway as work exchangers. This created a special container which was enjoyed by all. Here’s them in action!
Since then our internship program has grown and blossomed. We now run three programs a year.  At the end of each program the group selects a design project and gets a chance at their own creation. This year the winter interns decided to build upon what the fall program began.


Socially, we have been very busy as well. We had some trial members who chose not to join as the trial period is for us all to see whether there is a good fit or not.

We also had two births! Aniko gave birth to Kai’ea in Nov. ’07 and Tracy gave birth to Ai’ala in May ’08.


Aniko and Kai’ea


Ai’ala, Tracy and Biko

Posted in La'akea Updates | Comments Off on Update in 2008