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Sonnewald - Stewards of Life, Land and Liberty

Jul 31, 2020 05:52PM ● By Gisele M. Siebold
Inspiring others to join them in the pursuit of peace, justice and a better way of life for all is the chosen path of the team at Sonnewald Natural Foods. Leading by loving example, sharing nature’s knowledge, embracing hope and impacting lives with purpose is the Sonnewald way.


Careful and responsible stewards of the land, Sonnewald team members are mindful of the Earth and its inhabitants. Over the years the Sonnewald community has been formed by passionate individuals seeking the truth about health, serving others and a desire to share their new-found knowledge.


With a mission to sow seeds and nurture growth of healthy and harmonious living, the team offers their core values as S.E.E.D.S. for the community, which stands for Sustainability, Education, Empowerment, Diversity and Service. “We are committed to living gently on the Earth. We support lifelong learning. We cultivate awareness and encourage positive action. We celebrate differences and seek unity, harmony and peace. We are servants above merchants,” says owner Willa Lefever, speaking on behalf of the team.


Sustainability—Living Gently on the Earth


Sonnewald has always been concerned about the health of the planet and the impact of food choices. In their continuing effort to move toward greater sustainability, they are constantly seeking to carry as many locally and regionally produced products as possible. In addition, their passion for reuse, recycling and zero-waste lifestyles can be noted in the fact that the store doesn’t have a dumpster—an impressive feat for an independent retailer.

The store is located on the 65-acre Sonnewald farm which has always been chemical free and is home to one of the oldest solar homes in Pennsylvania. This is indicative of Sonnewald’s commitment to sustainable and regenerative living.


The benefits of living gently on the land, foraging for wild foods, treating land and all life with respect and grace transcend generations, communities and lifestyles. The Sonnewald team welcomes others to join them in learning to live more and more gently on the earth.


Education—Lifelong Learning


Their goal is to provide products, education, encouragement and inspiration for customers and community members. The words and actions of the team focus on assisting others as they journey to greater levels of personal and planetary health. Lefever continues the legacy of education begun by her mother, Grace, by providing free Weed Walks to the community.


Through the Weed Walks at Sonnewald farm, Lefever encourages wild foraging and shares her knowledge of vegetation considered by many to be weeds, making suggestions for which plants not to pull from yards, such as dandelions. For example, she offers a call to solidarity with the Earth to stop pulling and poisoning dandelions and start using them. They’re a source of food—the whole plant can be used in recipes. Dandelions also have traditional herbal medicinal applications, are good for the soil and their vibrant yellow color attracts bees, another sustainable bonus.


Additional educational opportunities exist in the form of free seminars, guest speakers, workshops and attendance at local health and wellness fairs.


Empowerment—Cultivators of Awareness and Positive Action


Knowledge is power.  Sonnewald has a variety of resources available and encourages people to make their own choices towards a healthy lifestyle.  Their knowledgeable wellness coaches are on hand to assist in making potentially life-changing decisions.


Diversity—Giving Voice to Varying Viewpoints


The Sonnewald store team uses a consensus system where everyone has a voice thereby encouraging diversity. The team is represented by various demographic generations who come together around causes, expressing concern, exchanging dialogue and offering solutions. Utilizing social media, Friends of Sonnewald is a community of individuals who share information, opportunities, events, projects and ideas on all aspects of healthy and sustainable living.


Service—Seekers of Unity, Harmony and Peace


Sonnewald has been serving the community since 1955 through their vast resources of free literature, books and referrals. The Sonnewald Exchange is one of their community outreach programs that provides a place to freely exchange books, and obtain literature. It is located inside the South Building at Morningstar Marketplace, in Thomasville. Another area of outreach is the free information stand located at York Central Market.


Sonnewald encourages everyone to plant S.E.E.D.S. in their community and watch them grow.


Sonnewald Natural Foods is located at 4796 Lehman Rd., in Spring Grove. For more information, call 717-225-3825 or visit Sonnewald Exchange is located at 5309 Lincoln Hwy., in Thomasville. For more information, visit York Central Market is located at 34 W. Philadelphia St., in York. For more information, visit

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