Designing for Abundance: A Thanksgiving Permaculture Course at Kalani on Hawai'i Island

Tracy Matfin & John Schinnerer

November 15, 2015 - November 28, 2015

Join us for a two-week permaculture immersion! Engage your mind in creating a surplus for yourself and the earth. The sustainability concepts presented range from designing your own kitchen garden to understanding efficient patterns for city planning. 

About the Facilitator(s)

Tracy Matfin is an educator turned farmer, mother and permaculture instructor. She is a founding member of La’akea Community,, where she has been living and experimenting with sustainability for more than ten years. Tracy grew up in the San Francisco bay area in California. She studied enviromental science at U.C. Berkely, and went on to be a high school science teacher for a decade.

Tracy excels in making education meaningful and retain-able through her use of real life examples and hands on projects.  She has been teaching permaculture since 2010. Tracy loves sitting with trees, communing with the “weeds” she is removing from the garden and laughing with her daughter, Aia’ala, friends and family.

"Tracy's passion comes through in her teaching. Her positive, engaging energy transformed the group & kept us alert and ready for more."                  - February 2013 PDC Participant

John Schinnerer is a whole systems design consultant, teacher, and facilitator focusing on cultural and ecological design, with a Master’s degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University, Seattle. Since 1996, he has studied, worked, taught and published in the realms of human relatings, governance and decision ­making systems, ecological design and appropriate technology. His easygoing style and insightful approach support an optimal learning experience. John has collaborated with Tracy and Zach in designing and leading permaculture design courses at La’akea. He has taught with Claude Genest and Peter Bane at Green Mountain Permaculture in Vermont, and been a guest instructor at courses in Hawai’i and Washington state. He also leads workshops at conferences and convergences, and public and private trainings in organizational design and governance. John is principal of Eco-Living Whole Systems Design Services and Governance by Design and a founding member of The Sociocracy Consulting Group.

Scott Laaback, 

leads the Permaculture Team at Kalani and is a food system philosopher, sustainable-living expert, and locavore chef. Scott has resided on Hawaii Island for over 8 years, and has been a student of food cultures and traditions for more than 20. After giving up his career in land management and forestry - serving as a wild land firefighter, Scott has lived and worked on numerous small farms while studying and practicing alternative agriculture. 

Scott also serves as the Director of Programming and Lead Designer at the Kumukoa House in Hilo, HI, where resident students live and work together, while creating and maintaining an urban permaculture model, intentional community, and alternative living skills learning center. During ‘Design for Abundance’, Scott will be teaching about his first-hand experience of integrating permaculture into pre-existing systems.

Guest Instructor:

Zach Mermel of Ola Design Group
One part ecologist, one part horticulturist, one part land planner, Zach’s work and education in ecological design have taken him across the Hawaiian archipelago, the US mainland, and beyond. Born and raised on Hawai’i Island, he is intimately familiar with the different microclimates and multifunctional plants of our unique island home. In addition to his extensive training in permaculture design, Zach holds an undergraduate degree in environmental science, and a masters in ecological land planning and design. As Secretary of the East Hawai’i Chapter of Hawai’i Farmers Union United, Zach helps to advance regenerative agriculture practices at the neighborhood, island, and state levels.  He is also a close collaborator of AMA, coordinated by master farmer Clive Cheetham.

Malaika Maphalala is a Financial Advisor with Natural Investments, a national SEC registered Investment Advisory firm specializing in exclusively socially and environmentally responsible investments for over 25 years.  With an office in both Hawaii and Oregon, Malaika works with individuals and institutions across the country to craft investment portfolios that reflect her clients' personal and ethical values while remaining financially competitive with conventional portfolios.  Her areas of special interest and expertise encompass investments in sustainable agriculture, community development, clean and renewable energy, cooperative businesses, and microfinance, a critical tool in addressing global poverty.  
Malaika lives in East Hawaii, her home for over 20 years. Originally drawn to the Big Island to learn about and practice Permaculture, Malaika has been involved in sustainable agriculture, community building and rural homesteading ever since. Prior to her work with Natural Investments, Malaika spent 10 years in the non-profit sector as an independent consultant providing administrative, development  and program management services for numerous socially driven organizations in Hawaii and Oregon.  After transitioning to the field of finance, Malaika served as the Business Manager for a private investment firm specializing in foreign currency trading where she worked directly with high net-worth investors and developed and implemented fiscal tracking systems.  An important aspect of her work included helping the firm develop its goals to commit a portion of profits for social good.  Malaika has a BA degree from the University of Redland's Johnston Center for Integrative Studies and earned her Series 63 license to become an Advisor with Natural Investments in 2009.

Tour Destinations and Guides:

Lyn Howe and her husband Geoff  Rauch, have worked for the past 13 years to create Beach Road Farm, an off-grid, diversified eco-farm in lower Puna growing 2.5 acres of fruit & nut trees, spices, culinary and medicinal herbs, vegetables and for the past 7 years, a small aquaponics system. The challenge of developing a farm from raw land, a jungle of invasive trees, vines and 750-year old lava, involved extensive work on soil building and soil health.  Learning what will thrive in a microclimate at a 50-foot elevation and 500 feet from the ocean has required patience, keen observation, perseverance and flexibility. Using both Korean Natural Farming methods and permaculture principals they grow 90% of the food they eat, share produce and plants with neighbors at their small fruit stand and sell produce and value-added products to the Locavore Store in Hilo.

Lyn has an herbal medicine background, was one of the founders of Sonoma County Herb Association, studied traditional herbal medicine in Indonesia, and Ecuador and taught backyard medicine classes for several years in Puna.  Presently she creates and sells culinary and medicinal “Backyard Pharm” products with her business partner Hilary Flaming.  For the past 4 years Lyn has been the Project Coordinator for Hawaii Public Seed Initiative (HPSI), a statewide project of The Kohala Center, funded by the Ceres Trust. Visit our facebook page at


Workshop Fees

Kalani is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. Your stay here supports education, community arts programming, and Hawaiian culture preservation within the District of Puna. Kalani has grown to become the largest provider of services in Puna – thanks to the support from guests like you!

Financial aid is available for Kalani lodging and campus access fees. Please click here to download an application; completed applications and questions may be sent to  [email protected].

Kalani retreat rates are all-inclusive and provide access to all instruction and course activities, meals*, accommodations, and use of Kalani's facilities including our 25-meter pool, hot tubs and sauna.

*Meals begin with dinner on Sunday, November 15 and conclude with lunch on Saturday, November 28. Students will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26, feasting on an abundant, homegrown dinner prepared by Kalani chefs and volunteers.

Fees per person: Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
6 - Cottage n/a n/a
5 - Tropical Loft n/a n/a
4 - Tree House Room $ 2125 $ 2970
3 - Bungalow Room $ 1995 $ 2710
2 - Lodge Room (private bath) n/a $ 2450
1 - Lodge Room (shared bath) n/a n/a

Tree House Triple Lodging: $1930
Tropical Loft Dormitory: $1800

Additional lodging options may be available; please inquire upon registration if your preferred lodging type is not listed above.

Kamaʻāina and commuter tuitions are both available for this retreat – inquire for details. A valid Hawaii state-issued ID or driver’s license must be presented at retreat check-in to receive kama'āina rates.

Extend Your Stay at a Discount!
Additional nights can be added on to the beginning or end of this package at special discounted rates for retreat attendees. There is so much to explore on this incredible island - from the volcano and the astronomy centers on Mauna Kea to the tide pools, beaches, and hikes along the coast.  Kalani is always brimming with activity, with 50 classes a week, as well as special events.
If you require airport shuttle service, please contact Kalani Guest Services at 800-800-6886 or [email protected], at least one week in advance.

Cancellations requested 14 days or greater before your arrival date result in a full refund less a $50 administration fee. Cancellations requested 24 hours or more before arrival, but less than 14 days before arrival, result in full refund less a 10% administrative fee, or a $50 administration fee, whichever is greater. If you cancel within 24 hours of arrival, or do not show, no refund will be provided.

Because of the structure of our retreat packages, we are unable to pro-rate retreat fees for shortened stays.

Learn more about getting here.

Community Drumkeepers Initiation - March 2011

White Eagle Medicine Woman

Community Drum Initiation with White Eagle Medicine Woman

Community Drumkeepers Shamanic Initiation

Learn to make Community "Mother" Drums and be a Drumkeeper in a worldwide network with Community Drumkeepers Shamanic Initiation!

About the Facilitator(s)

About White Eagle Medicine Woman:

As the youngest woman to climb North America's highest peak Mt. McKinley or Denali in her late teens and having built largest crystal drum in North America, White Eagle Medicine Woman has demonstrated enormous vision, creativity, and determination, all gifts of a far seeing leader. White Eagle Medicine Woman (Suraj Holzwarth) is the director and drum keeper of the International GrandMother Drum Peace Project. She is an international shamanic healer, seer, and ritual and performance artist who has traveled the world for over thirty years, performing, teaching, healing and inspiring thousands.

Her CDs include Journey of the Heart, Songlines of the Soul and Living Waters of Grace. She is the director and co-producer of the newly released documentary film GrandMother Drum: Awakening the Global Heart. She is also the founder and director of The Whirling Rainbow Foundation and the Rainbow Fire Mystery School in Palmer, Alaska. White Eagle's voice has a primal and mesmerizing quality, penetrating to the very heart and soul of our indigenous connection with each other and the earth. White Eagle's dynamic performances and workshops are well known for transforming the hearts of all involved, leading audiences in unified action on global issues of world peace, racial reconciliation, environmental stewardship and earth sustainability.


Workshop Fees

Prices subject to change without notice.

Men's Eco-Festival Week & Jungle-(Q)ween Party

Richard Koob and the Kalani Team

Join us for special men's activities during our Eco-Hawai’i Festival!

Come for several days, entire week, or more
(and receive all added Festival activities free).

Eco-Hawaii Festival

About the Facilitator(s)


Workshop Fees

Fees include workshop, meals, accommodations, and use of Kalani's facilities including pool, hot tub and sauna.

Prices subject to change without notice.

Eco-Hawai`i Festival Week

Richard Koob and the Kalani Team

Eco-Hawaii Festival

About the Facilitator(s)


Workshop Fees

See Kalani Experience for Rates

Fees include workshop, meals, accommodations, and use of Kalani's facilities including pool, hot tub and sauna.

Prices subject to change without notice.

2010 Retreat Centers' Conference

Richard Koob, Kalani Founder/Director, Tiki DeGenaro, Kalani General Manager

2010 Retreat Centers' ConferenceExplore Retreat Centers as a Model
for the 21st Century!

Self-Improvement * Sustainability * Sharing Resources * Striving for Excellence * Safe Haven for All * Serious Soul-Searching * Shedding the Past

About the Facilitator(s)

Richard Koob - Kalani Founder/Director, Tiki DeGenaro - Kalani General Manager, and guest facilitators from notable Retreat Centers such as Esalen Institute, Omega Institute, Harbin Hot Springs, Breitenbush Hot Springs, and others.


Workshop Fees

Great News on Rates!

Because we are honored to host this Conference for the first time we are offering the lowest possible accommodation rates! This price even includes MEALS! So depending upon your choice of accommodation the rates per person per night will be:

Room Type
Standard Rate
Special Conference Rate
Lodge room shared bath
$115 plus $52 meals
Lodge room private bath
$150 plus $52 meals
Cottage w/ private bath
$175 plus $52 meals
Treehouse room w/ private bath
$265 plus $52 meals

Above rates are for all rooms shared with two or three to a room.  Enjoy the greater comfort of a private room for an additional $50/day.

Fees include workshop, meals, accommodations, and use of Kalani's facilities including pool, hot tub and sauna. 

To register

Please email [email protected] or call 1-800-800-6886 (USA & Canada) or 001-808-965-7828 (Worldwide) with the following information:

  1. Your choice of accommodation
  2. Dates of arrival* and departure, and
  3. Credit card info (include cc #, exp date, three-digit code, your full name, address, telephone, and email).

*The conference starts on Monday morning. Arrive in time!

Your credit card will be charged:

  1. $100 Program Fee which covers the entire week-long Conference, and
  2. One-night deposit.


After registering:

Travel options: Hawai`i is the Aloha State’s largest, most spectacular and least crowded island, with 2 major airports – Hilo and Kona. Because Hilo (the State’s second largest city) is just a 45 minute drive to Kalani, we recommend that you route through Honolulu to Hilo. If you are not renting a car, Kalani provides a shuttle from/to Hilo airport only. Fee each way is reduced to $40 for conference participants.  There are direct flights to Kona, however you must rent a car for the 3 hour drive to/from Kalani, which provides opportunity to view the verdant northern or vast southern land-and-seascapes.

Upon receipt of your email we will send you a confirmation and a packet of information regarding traveling here and your stay, along with further details about the conference program.

For travel from the mainland, check the airlines below as they offer very reasonable fares: and

Topics To Be Included

Growing Greener · On the Road to Sustainability · Youth-ing and Aging, keeping the wonder in our lives as we inspire tomorrow's leaders · Community, Business, Government Collaboration · Staff and Volunteer Excellence - enrollment, incentives, teamwork, support · Leadership Succession · Economic & Eco Management, becoming flexible and sustainable · Profit and Nonprofit Collaborations, Marketing, Programs, Outreach, Fundraising - the art of heart · Authenticity, Integrity and Identity -- upholding the aloha of core cultures · Educational Certification · Global  Partnering for success and fun · Branding/Re-branding/Web development · Grant research and application

2010 Retreat Center Conference-Sample Agenda/Schedule

6:30 am 'Free' Time
Start the day off with a complimentary session of Kundalini or Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Qi Gong, or one more than 50 other classes/activities available each week at Kalani.
7:30 am Breakfast
Enjoy a bountiful selection of dairy and meat items, vegetarian and vegan options, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, juices, teas, and delicious local coffee.
9:00 am Morning Conference Session
Introductions and Networking
Breakout Sessions, Topic Discussions
Possibly divide by interest, size, common topic
12:00 pm Lunch
Recharge with a healthful, filling midday meal, including meat and vegetarian entrees, vegan options, homemade soups, and a jam-packed salad bar.
1:00 pm Afternoon Conference Session
Featured speakers and Q&A panels comprised of representatives from Kalani and the larger Hawaii Community, as well as attending Center colleagues.
4:00 pm 'Free' Time
All work and no play ... no way!  Break away for a couple of hours to relax and explore the Big Island by taking advantage of one of our complimentary daily adventures, such as  a visit to our local black-sand beach; swimming and snorkeling at the Wai'Opae Tide Pools; exploring a natural, untouched lava tube at the amazing Mackenzie State Park, soaking in the sun at nearby Shell Beach and Coconut Beach; or just hiking around Kalani's 120-acre grounds.  Feel like a splurge? Schedule a private session with one of our bodywork specialists?
6:00 pm Dinner
Enjoy a gourmet evening meal on our open-air dining lanai, with plentiful portions of meat and vegetarian entrees, fresh seafood, vegan options, soup and salad bar, decadent desserts and organic teas and coffees available 24 hours.
7:30 pm Evening Conference Session
Group Discussions on prioritized topics
9:30 pm Tea Time
Recap the day and socialize in our cozy guest Lounge.
10:00 pm Sweet Dreams
Our Olympic-sized pool, hot tubs, sauna,  and weight room are available for you 24 hours a day, with our compliments.  Or feel free to retire for the night to your comfy guest room and enjoy the clean, bracing night air and dream the night away under a canopy of billions of stars.

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