Flavors of Aloha: Honaunau Farm
RECONNECTING WITH THE LAND
Steve Sakala’s personal voyage mirrors the travels of European sailors who settled in the Hawaiian Islands some 150 years ago. Steve grew up in Southern California and watched the neighboring citrus orchards being paved over for parking lots. Looking for unspoiled nature, he moved north to the California redwood forests, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and City Planning at Humboldt State University. But a subsequent four-year stint in West Africa with the Peace Corps is what set Steve on his current quest.
“In Africa, I learned how community and agriculture are interconnected,” he says. Back home in California, a chance encounter led him to a group of people who were building a retreat in Hawaii. They asked Steve for help developing an agricultural model. “I worked with them for a year,” Steve recalls.
Then, a more personal vision inspired Steve to create the exquisite 7.5-acre mountaintop community called Honaunau EcoRetreat and Farm. “It’s a multifaceted place, where living is on multiple levels,” he explains. This includes organic fruit and vegetable farming as well as raising goats and sheep for milk. The property is also home to chickens and ducks. “Sixty to seventy percent of our meals come from the farm,” Steve notes with pride. Additional farm produce is sold to local markets and restaurants.
But it is the spiritual component that distinguishes Honaunau from many agricultural endeavors. “What we do here allows us to reconnect to the land and to ourselves,” Steve notes. For this farmer-philosopher and the ten people who work or live there, the farm is a place where “we acknowledge divine design by growing things.”
Honaunau also offers intimate classes in such holistic pursuits as tai chi and yoga, along with therapeutic perks such as saunas and massage for those staying in the retreat’s guesthouse.
“We’re looking for a balance between work and play,” Steve says. “And we strive to create a new model that brings a more holistic approach to living.”