Veronika was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and discovered community living in 2003, while on holiday in Spain. She attended a life-changing permaculture course at a rawfood community, called Ecoforest, in the Malaga countryside. After two weeks at Ecoforest, living in a tent with just the basics, bathing in the river and eating only raw food, she experienced a huge transformation. In those two weeks, she healed herself from depression, gave up her addictions to alcohol, tobacco and other substances and felt a spiritual opening for the first time. Feeling the incredible benefits of the raw food diet and the proximity to Nature, she decided to become a member of the community to continue on her journey of healing and self-discovery.
During the year and a half she spent at Ecoforest, she experimented with a lot of cleansing and fasting and began a Naturopathy Degree at the College des Médecines Douces du Québec. She also became involved in the management of Ecoforest and took responsibility for welcoming visitors and running the shop. In 2007, she completed her Naturopathy degree. She has worked as a Naturopath, specialising in nutritional consultations and detox, at different retreat centres. Veronika also has extensive experience leading juice detoxes as well as giving talks and workshops on superfoods and healthy diet.
In 2005, she discovered Ayahuasca, through the Santo Daime tradition and she was catapulted onto her spiritual path. Having grown up an atheist, after experiencing this ancient plant medicine, she felt a powerful spiritual connection which completely transformed her beliefs and vision of the world. She has been leading her own ceremonies for 15 years, combining teachings from many different spiritual paths and especially inspired by Brazilian traditions.
As well as managing the community and leading ceremonies, Veronika dedicates her time to her husband, Lorenzo and their 4 children. She is passionate about all aspects of natural living, such as self-management of health, natural childbirth, attachment parenting, alternative education, raw food, wild foods, and following the natural rhythms of the Earth. She enjoys singing, gardening, and making delicious raw creations (especially raw chocolate!) and has experience working as a chef at different retreat centres.
Lorenzo was born in France in 1969 and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnology from the University of Montpellier. A trip to Indonesia, in 1996, proved to be a transformative experience as he wondered how people with such a simple and low standard of living could express so much joy and happiness in comparison to the people in his native country. At the time, France with its high level of material wealth and social benefits, was the world's leading consumer of anti-depressants. Something was amiss.
He felt a strong inner calling to search for an alternative lifestyle. During the summer of 1997, he attended the second Francophone Meeting of Ecovillages at Lac de Vassivières. Pierre Rabhi, French writer, farmer and environmentalist was one of the speakers and inspired him in his decision to live from that moment onward, close to Nature, within a community.
Lorenzo is passionate about eco-building and has experience building with natural materials such as earth, lime and hemp. As part of his desire to live closer to Nature, he decided to live in a low-impact structure. In 2002, after doing a course with the architect Florent Geiger, he built his first yurt. In 2003, he brought his yurt to Ecoforest and had his first community experience. It was his first experience living without electricity and other creature comforts. The year spent at Ecoforest, a permaculture centre and the world’s first intentional raw vegan community, also had a powerful impact on his health. Since birth he had been suffering from asthma attacks, severe allergies, as well as a chronic cold, which all "miraculously" disappeared after he changed his diet.
At Ecoforest, he met and fell in love with Veronika, who has since become his wife and mother of their four children. Making the decision to move closer to Nature proved to be an extremely enriching experience, which confirmed the importance and value of leaving his "comfort zone", in order to discover new opportunities and experiences. He dedicates his time to family life, the management of Amoraleza, leading ceremonies and building yurts.
It is said in the medicine of the soul that it is not the parents who raise the children, but rather the children who raise their parents. We have the chance to have four adorable masters who help us to evolve. Children are a source of life, to which adults can come to quench their thirst to savour and learn the magic of life and love. It is a nice feeling to write these words, while hearing their shouts of joy and laughter, while they play under the flowering almond trees. I hope you can hear them as you read these lines.