Willa Lefever, co-owner of Sonnewald Natural Foods, in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, along with her husband, Bill Kaiser, is thankful for her homestead heritage. “I feel blessed that I grew up on Sonnewald, a 60-acre, chemical-free farm. The house I was raised in is the oldest solar residence in Pennsylvania,” says Lefever. Her late parents, Harold “Tim” and Grace Lefever, adhered to sustainable living practices long before it was in style.
“When World War II broke out, my dad, an MIT graduate, got a job at Westinghouse working on a top security project. Once he realized the project was tied to the atomic bomb, his conscience would no longer allow him to work on it. So he gave up his career, which also meant he gave up his draft deferment, and consequently spent time in a Kentucky prison as a conscientious objector,” she says.
While incarcerated, her father experienced an awakening. “He learned about homesteading, organic agricultural practices and vegetarianism. By the time he was released, his values had changed. He found some property and set out to raise his family in the most self-sufficient, sustainable manner possible.”
Read more about Willa Lefever and Sonnewald Natural Foods in the article Sonnewald Natural Foods is More than a Natural Food Store that was featured in the October 2015 issue of Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania.