Kahumana Permaculture Sanctuary Part III: Structure & Plans

Preface - Home Page

Part I: History & Legends
The History

Part II: The Vision
Different Streams Come Together
The Vision
The Intention

Part III: Structure & Plans
The Preliminary Permaculture Design
Projects And People
The Intentional Community
Building Intentional Community
The Location
The Physical Structure
1. Structures (Prioritized A-C)
2. People On The Land
Activities Within The Structure
Organizational Structure

Part IV: Community Integration
Community Vision
Cultural Heritage Recuperation

Part V: Finances & Legal Structure
Financial Outline
Managerial Outline
Progression of Planning/Completion Phases
Legal Format

Part VI: Contact Info. & Appendix
Pertinent Stakeholders
Letters Of Intention

The Preliminary Kahumana Sanctuary Permaculture Design:


In the midst of a global environmental and cultural crisis, our goal is to conserve and enhance natural ecosystems by offering people sustainable ways to live, think and feel. To accomplish our goals we rely significantly on the Permaculture approach, an approach that provides for human needs while actually improving ecosystems. Our Permaculture design reflects the overall goals of the Kahumana Sanctuary and strives to create a synergistic blend of Permaculture, Deep Ecology and self-sufficient community.

During this preliminary Permaculture design process we visited the Kahumanu Sanctuary property several times. By listening to the land we developed the beginnings of an integrated approach that we believe is sensitive to the aina and the diverse concerns of the community. Although this design employs Hawaiian cultural practices, we strongly feel the need for additional input and guidance from proactive Hawaiian elders - preferably those whose families are from lower Puna.

The land that makes up this 350 acres is an ideal place for what could become Hawai'i's premiere permaculture, deep ecology and community-living education site. The earth is extremely fertile and overall it is one of the most beautiful areas on the island. Furthermore, it is close to many excellent destinations, like beaches, tide pools, warm ponds and other Permaculture farms.

We are very excited about the Kahumana Permaculture site and are looking forward to developing a more detailed design. We feel that the implementation of this design will make Kahumanu Sanctuary an outstanding model for a sustainable future in the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.

please click the image below to navigate the full design

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Projects and People

Teaching Permaculture as a sustainable practice.
Permaculture is about designing ecological human habitats and food production systems. . La'akea Permaculture Gardens attracts students on a continuous basis. It has shown that this kind of educational setting can persist in our local environment. [For a detailed definition of Permaculture please see Appendix]
Presented by the La‘akea Permaculture Gardens team.

The Earth Speaks Experience
The Earth Speaks Experience is an intentional transformational experience. It is a process of remembering our connection with the Earth and revealing our inherent freedom. At its core we have placed a powerful tool of Ecotherapy, called the TARA Process.
Presented by Dr. Beatrix Pfleiderer and team.

Exploring the Ecology of Body, Mind and Spirit
The emerging field of eco-psychology bridges the domains of ecology and psychology to address the psychological and spiritual roots of the ecological crisis. Eco-psychologists view humanity as interdependent with all other life forms, including Earth itself. By reaching this consciousness through transformation, we act effectively to care for the Earth and all life.
Presented by Bodhitara Searles and team.

Environmental Vision Quests
Island Outpost (IO) is a Public Charity dedicated to raising the conciousness of our fellow humans in the arena of the inter-connectiveness of our global environment and our role as Stewards of Planet Earth. [For more information and a statement from the director please see appendix]
Presented by Dr. Jason Saleeby, President and Director of Island Outpost

Conservation Projects
Certain areas shall be managed primarily to benefit native species.
By designating critical habitat we make an effort to protect threatened and endangered plants. A critical habitat does not create a preserve or close areas to private use but limits activities such as logging, grazing and recreation.

3.6 Solar power- a technology for today and tomorrow
Each day more energy falls to the Earth from the sun's rays than the total amount of
energy the planet's 5.9 billion inhabitants would consume in 27 years. Only in the last few decades-when growing energy demands, increasing environmental problems and declining fossil fuel resources made us look to alternative energy options-have we focused our attention on truly exploiting this tremendous resource. The requirement for energy in space for powering satellite systems provided a big impetus to advance the technology. Community education programs and conclusive on-site demonstration of applied photo-voltaic technology.
Presented by BP-Solar and Pro-Vision Inc.

‘Aha Pünana Leo – Understanding Hawaiian Ways
Our preference would be to have Jimmy Nani‘ole help us develop an understanding of Hawaiian tradition and create an opportunity to share this with our guests, workshop-participants and staff.

Bird Sanctuary
We are fast approaching the point where we need refuges for ALL global life forms as well as regional, national, or state parks for indigenous forms of plants and animals. While we see our local flora and fauna as "native", we may also logically see all life as "native to Earth". While we try to preserve systems that are still local and diverse, we should also build new and recombinant ecologies from global resources. (from Bill Mollison's Practical Guide for a Sustainable Future).
The Bird Sanctuary is William's domain.

Agricultural Research Station
Cooperative agro-research for local crops. This permaculture based research project will protect, cultivate and share endangered plants as well as developing appropriate farming methods for local organic farmers, householders and public facilities.
Douglas Bullock

Cash crops / Coop / Market
We could consider going beyond sustaining our own food needs and generating income through marketable crops and/or products derived from these. These products could be sold at the “Four Corners Market ”which could also function as a produce (re)distribution/ marketing facility for local organic farmers especially from Papaya Farms Road.

HAAS Hawaiian Arts and Science High School
HAAS will open in September 2001 in the Lower Puna area. They are intent on exposing their students within their Waldorf based curriculum to alternative agriculture in a hands-on fashion. Every Friday students will participate and work on different projects of their choice. The school is very interested in establishing and ongoing cooperation with a permaculture project.

Environmental Campground
Although thousands of young people are attracted to Puna for short or long-term visits there is a lack of adequate accommodation and very few options to become involved in areas that interest many of this age-group. We propose to create a campground where visitors can pitch their tent, learn about Hawaii and sustainable agriculture as well as participate actively in creating a better future.

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The Intentional Community

We are a non-political, non-religious group. Our concern is with helping preserve this Land and its culture and being an example for other individuals to follow in the pursuit of a sustainable life, and a healthier planet.


  • Establish a self-sustained community
  • Provide its members with an improved living standard
  • Further the social, cultural and productive capacities of its members
  • Create social and community programs
  • Instill in its members the need to assist others
  • Promote the establishment of environmental education programs
  • Encourage scientific research in different fields
  • Promote rational land management uses and techniques
  • Rescue the local legends and traditions
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Building Intentional Community

Although our legal structure will have many safeguards built in to protect both the collective and the individual, its best insurance against interpersonal conflict (of a destructive nature) is the life-skills training and the on-site specific Permaculture Course that all residents participate in, as part of the orientation process.

So we also
  • learn the skills necessary for effective communication
  • appreciate and respect differences
  • revitalize to create new solutions
  • locate resources and knowledge within the group
  • overcome obstacles to working together effectively
  • make remarkably effective consensual decisions
  • accomplish specific tasks or goals
  • experience personal and group empowerment
…which encourages authentic communication, risk taking and leadership sharing; Develops a greater awareness, respect and compassion for self and others; Provides a model in which participants can learn to move beyond differences to full respect and embrace our human diversity, individually and in groups; Provides an awareness of the skills needed for effective communication and consensual decision making; Provides opportunities to become aware of the sacred in ordinary human experiences.The life-skills in particular engender a sense of personal responsibility and gratitude in residents, manifesting in acts of diligence, consideration and kindness towards others in the community and the world at large. These life-skills are drawn from many golden threads of human wisdom (no need to reinvent the wheel). Meditation is also a facility that residents often draw upon, prompting a creative rather than reactive response to any given situation.Other than consciously learning skills that enhance our performance as community residents, we take time to celebrate, socialize, and mark the transition of the seasons, observing solstice and equinox dates in the year as well as the full and new moons. These simple observances help us retain the connection with our natural environment and perhaps give us some perspective as to our place in universe at large. A greater awareness of the seasons and nature gives us an enhanced appreciation of where food comes from and the value of wise environmental custodianship.
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The Location

Kahumana Sanctuary will naturally offer a wide diversity of ecosystems. There are vegetable and herb gardens, tropical fruit orchards and greenhouses. We provide a surplus of produce to the educational center and the community at large.

At Kahumana Sanctuary we will provide a serene and inspiring place for teachers to share their wisdom. We will open our healing, spiritual environment to visitors wanting to get away from the pressures of the modern world and we create low impact habitats on sacred land for visitors and stewards in and beyond the Sanctuary. In these dwellings, residents and guests can live with the beauty of nature, heal themselves, evolve psychologically and spiritually, grow close to each other, reap the benefits that community living has to offer, and work together to serve our purpose.

Everyone will participate in a number of ecological activities ranging from farming through consulting to educating. The facilities are in accordance with the land and reflect the care and love with which they are created and maintained.

We will be an intentional community and nonprofit educational center located in the Puna district. We will be committed to stewarding this land and developing a sustainable culture, recognizing and honoring the spiritual, aesthetic, and emotional as well as practical dimensions of sustainability. In addition to our own apprenticeships and workshops, we will frequently host conferences, retreats, and workshops presented by organizations that share our vision.

We are open to all, which is both practical and spiritual, self-sufficient and loving, through exploring, demonstrating, educating, and leading by example. Our vision is one of justice and sustainability. Justice for human beings, animals, and Earth. Sustainability in the way we live our lives and the institutions and technologies we create.
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The Physical Structure

"The walls, with the windows and doors attached to them, form the house, but it is the empty space within that creates the essence of the house. This is the rule: the material harbors usefulness, and the immaterial imparts the true essence." -- Lao Tse
  • Provision of all infrastructure including water- and waste-management to high environmental standards.
  • Allocation of certain areas as critical habitat.
  • Allocation of certain areas for organic food production.
  • Provision of community buildings to support community needs and activities.
  • Provision of income generating buildings - workshops and/or offices to support householders.
  • Provision of adequate space for separation, storage and composting or reprocessing of waste on site.
  • All buildings to be designed and constructed to the highest enviro-technical standards healthy for human and environment.
  • All common lands and buildings to be held by a non-profit land-trust or foundation to ensure sustainability in perpetuity.
  • The building system favored uses local building skills and materials that regenerate themselves within the life-expectancy of the dwelling, adding on new techniques that are ecologically sound.
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1. Structures (prioritized A-C)

1.1 Workshop Area
A 1 General Group-space for weather/insect -protected classroom activities, yoga, movement
A 1 Kitchen and dining facilities for up to 60 people.
A 30 semi protected campsites for course participants
B 4 dwellings for visiting teachers
C 1 library space with general computer access
- Tool sheds
- Greenhouses
- Solar showers
- Composting toilets

1 Laundry space

1.2 Retreat Area
C 2 session rooms for individual sessions
B 4 single retreat cabins
B 4 double retreat cabins
B 2 family retreat cabins
C 1 weather/insect protected-meditation temple
- Solar showers
- Composting toilets

1.3 Land Management
A 1 protected facility for building and maintenance purposes
A 8 dwellings for long-term resident team members (&Mac179; year )
B 10 dwellings for medium term resident team members (3 months)
- Tool sheds
- Greenhouses

1.4 Facility Management

B 5 office spaces for administration and research

1.5 Public area
B 20 basic public campsites for short-term visiting guests to the area
- Cooking area
- Solar showers
- Composting toilets

1.6 Parking area
A For 20 vehicles

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2. People on the Land (maximum impact)

2.1 Workshop area
30 Course-participants
4 Teachers
4 Assistants (including catering and care-taking)
1 Administrator
39 total individuals

2.2 Retreat area
8 Visitors
1 Caretaker
9 total individuals

2.3 Land Management
4 Gardeners
2 Nursery-gardeners
8 interns
2 Planters
16 total individuals

2.4 Facility Management
1 General maintenance
1 Facilities
1 Water/Energy
3 total individuals

2.5 Public area
20 Campers
30 Day visitors
50 total individuals

2.6 Charter School Students Workday
20 Students
2 teachers
22 total individuals

2.7 Gatherings
We might consider holding art/music events or eco-conventions.

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Activities Within The Structure

In choosing a self-sustainable structure we have the opportunity to pick from a wide selection of income generating and self-sustaining ideas for example:

  • Native tree nursery, organic fruit and vegetables
  • Culinary and Medicinal Herbs, Beehives and Honey production
  • Accommodation facility for Eco Farmstays
  • Catering and Culinary department offering natural cooking and catering to the diverse needs of the community.
  • Natural Health
  • Eco-Journal Hawaii
  • Meditation retreats and courses
  • Ecological Building, Life-skills and Community Building,
  • Artisans Workspace (Artist in Residence) producing art and craft work
  • Environmental Education Camps for School Kids
  • Permaculture Teacher Training….

And some of the more obvious choices:

Permaculture Courses

Permaculture Courses can are offered throughout the year with the possibility of taking one of the continuous three week intensives or an apprenticing. They are known to be the best available in the world for their quality and supportive environment. The Big Island offers an opportunity to experience 21 of the world's 22 climate zones. In this unique setting we can work at different locations providing experience and insight into the different permaculture conditions. Part of the work is actually providing the service of designing and planting permaculture gardens for clients on the Hawaiian Islands.

As part of the standard Permaculture curriculum students will learn:

Permaculture methodology, principles, & ethics
Mapping, Site analysis, Observation
Organic gardening and agriculture
Agroforestry systems
Aquaculture and ponds
Ecosystem restoration
Livestock and wildlife
Urban permaculture
Appropriate energy
Village development
Networking and research
Edible landscaping
Tree crops
Medicinal herbs
Erosion control
Sustainable forestry
Native reforestation
Intentional communities
Integrated Pest Management
Working in the Third World
Formal and informal economies
And much, much more

Eco-Psychology workshops.

EP Workshops invite participants to a core inner experience of inter-connectedness with the Earth. As outer skills are developed, inner awareness helps to integrate and harmonize what is being learnt. The workshops are offered and customized for a wide range of people from college students to teachers, business managers and therapists focussing on their individual needs.

Introductory courses catering for newcomers will be held regularly through the year as well as more advanced courses and theme specific courses exploring more fully such areas as appropriate technology and energy generation. Experienced tutors from within Hawai‘i and other countries will lecture on specific topics.

The experience gained in EP courses are integral part of all activities at Kahumana Sanctuary. Deep Ecology is a living, evolving science.

Permaculture and the Inner Garden

A sustainable lifestyle pursued by people who seriously practice permaculture and seek community is without doubt an expression of deep spiritual understanding. In working with the permaculture system it makes sense to choose a supportive spiritual practice, a practice of Self-investigation that enlightens the relationship between Self and other. Every sincere spiritual practice is based on fully knowing and embracing our Selves which leads us to expand our Self-awareness and liberate our Selves from ego-identification into a deeper sense of wholeness with existence. When we work with the en-vironment it is absolutely necessary to include the in-vironment. In that way sustainability becomes a living experience rather than an applied technology.

As we become less restricted by our own ego we grow to include others and treat our environment naturally, as we treat ourselves. This we could call cultivating our Inner Garden. For this reason we offer The Earth Speaks Experience, a process of Self-discovery and inner exploration in connection with the permaculture curriculum. It is integrated as part of the course, but also offered as an additional module with a more intensive character after or before the permaculture courses.

At the core of The Earth Speaks Experience lies a transpersonal technique called the TARA process. This process is experiential and provides a link between the study of natural cycles
from an intellectual distance and the process of personal transformation. Our intention is to provide the space and encouragement to unfold the sense of Self and allow us to merge authentically with the environment.

Environmental Education for Kids

These courses will be held primarily in the first and last terms of each school year and will cater to kids from 10 to 17 years of age. All courses will include basic first aid and CPR training, nature and survival skills, an introduction to native tree species, Permaculture basics and "interconnectedness", night sky study and star spotting (the Big Island offers the most spectacular view of the night sky), personal life-skills training, teamwork exercises, self defense, artistic expression, nature walks swimming and end of camp theatre/production. All students leave with a certificate of completion, a native tree seedling of their choice to care for, a camp class photo, smiles, new found friendships and skills.

Courses will be co-organized with particular schools but several dates will be set aside each year for kids from any where in the country or the rest of the world to enjoy and benefit from this unique educational environment.

Camps for youth at risk and those socially and/or financially disadvantaged will also be programmed into the yearly calendar

Other Courses

Various other courses will be offered in topics as diverse as worm farming, meditation, massage, yoga ecological building, martial arts and self-defense.


Accommodation will be available offering some respite for the world-weary, allowing a chance to recharge batteries and relax the guard against the otherwise harsh world J.

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Organizational Structure

Ownership and Participation

The intention is to create a legal and operating structure that guarantees that Kahumana Sanctuary remains just that - a Sanctuary and Sacred ground for people to reconnect with nature while creating the means and resources to preserve the beauty and awe.

The Kahumana Foundation purchases/leases the land, holds the title and is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Foundation receives funds from an initial investment through the founding members. It is also sustained by receiving a percentage of the revenue generated within the Community.

The Board of Trustees will decide on

The election of a general manager of the Institute
Approval of the yearly budget as suggested by the general manager

The Kahumana Institute leases the land from the foundation at a nominal fee and is the overall operational and legal form within which all activities arise. In exchange the Institue provides the caretaking and oversees the conservation of the land. The Institute receives funds from an initial investment through the founding members, and substantial donations and grants as well as revenue generated in the different project areas. The Kahumana Institute will be run by department managers and a general manager and overseen by the Board of Trustees. The general manager and the department managers will

Assure the on-going maintenance of the facility.
Provide coordination and promotion of all activities being conducted on the Land.
Provide personnel as required to meet the objectives of the Institute.
Obtain grants to promote the interests of the Institute.
Admit individual practitioners as affiliates of the Institute.
Implement the budget.

Departments will be created as the necessity arises, they may include:

Workshops and Retreat Management
Residential Program
Facility Maintenance
Property Management
Public & Community Relations
Permaculture Design & Implementation
Alternative Energy and Solar
Animal Care

The structural and organizational residential and communal setting.

We function as an economic community as well as being a community by association. This is an aspect not present in many Ecovillages and intentional communities. We understand that sustainability must take into account economic sustainability too. The resident household is linked to the association with the Institute. This means that only those who are directly involved in the ongoing activities of the Institute have access to residential facilities but are not required to reside on property. Association and residential agreements will be regulated in a contract.

Residents pay rent based on the individual rented housing. Resident households have exclusive rights to a residential house site and share the rest of the property in common with the other residents and non-residents. This land in common is used for horticulture, utility buildings and workshops, visitor and course accommodation, open fields and wilderness areas of native plants.

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