Your Hosts, Brian and Jody
Your hosts, husband and wife team Brian and Jody Calvi, are often described as the perfect compliment to one another, the Yin and the Yang of Farm of Life. While Brian is an adept visionary and teacher, Jody is the maestra of details. They keep a pulse on the needs of the guests, farm, employees, volunteers, etc and together manage nearly every aspect of farm life. Brian and Jody are attentive to the guest experience, seeking excellence for you in all aspects. They specifically provide assistance, education, support and motivation, arranging tours and services, guiding tours, giving health coaching, sound therapy, water aerobics and reiki, teaching workshops and Qigong and so much more.
Their respective histories recovering from chronic disease inspired them to open Farm of Life. They are grateful for the healing journey they’ve experienced, and feel their higher purpose is to give back to others in need. You can read about their journey to wellness at the bottom of this section, including Brian’s triumph over Fibromyalgia and Jody’s lifelong journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Asthma.
The Volunteer Team
We maintain a small and specific volunteer program and invite only the most exceptional and qualified candidates to support our mission and vision. Our volunteers are not only supremely talented within their fields of expertise, but they also embody our core values, which are to be compassionate, in loving service, a team player, a hardworker and a model of the healthy lifestyle.
Nicky Halliday had a talent and aptitude for the world of cookery at an early age, which she further developed when she traveled the world and explored a huge variety of cuisines. On arriving back in Ireland, she decided to study Nutritional Therapy. Nicky was fascinated by the connection between what we consume and our health. Having passed her Nutritional Therapy course with distinction, she decided that she wanted to bring together her love for cooking and her knowledge of nutrition. When she came across Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, she was inspired to move to Berkeley, California to continue her education. Here Nicky learned nutrition and cooking healthy meals designed for optimal health. With these qualifications, Nicky set-up her own successful business as a nutritional therapist, a personal chef, hosts the Move-Nourish-Shine yoga retreats in Ireland and developed the fresh food deli in the well-known Dublin health food store, the Hopsack, where she worked as head chef for 4 years.
At Farm of Life, Nicky prepares healthy, delicious meals, made with love and care, and facilitates food demonstrations for anyone who would like more knowledge in this area. Nicky loves to share her knowledge and encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles. Come and try her healthy delights, you will be surprised at how tasty healthy food can be! You can find Nicky online on Facebook, Instagram and her business is online too.
Alex has been sharing his passion for health and wellness for over a decade. Born and raised in New York City, he had always longed for a more natural style of living. Throughout his childhood and early teens, he was usually on the couch playing video games, reading, gorging on the standard American diet, and only leaving the house for school. This behavior led to mild depression, low confidence, an "incurable" eye infection (that almost made him blind), cystic acne, stomach pain, and being bullied. A conscious change began at 16 with martial arts and body building, eventually moving into salsa dancing and calisthenics. With regular exercise, herbal cleanses, and a plant-based diet, his acne disappeared along with the eye infections and stomach pain. Yoga and meditation came into his life in 2008 while researching exercise programs and working with a local yoga instructor. He was attracted to how these mere stretches not only made him sweat profusely, but also seemed to affect him emotionally, leaving him euphoric after a session. He has been teaching since April 2014, incessantly brainstorming ways to expose students to similar experiences of cathartic emotion, mental clarity, physical challenge, and a good stretch that turned him into a lifetime yogi. During this time as well, Alex was working with several massage therapists and esoteric healers. He trained among them to learn Thai and Swedish massage. Alex has a passion for people, travel, philosophy, body mechanics, and instilling a sense of peace, purpose and freedom among everyone around him. You can follow his journey and classes through YouTube and Instagram (Yogiconnex)
Stephanie Singh began her yoga practice in 2010. Deciding to share the gift of yoga, she attended a teacher training in 2014. In May 2016, Stephanie visited Farm of Life to make healthier habits, seek her truth and learn what it truly means to live her highest potential. She had an epic transformation and we came to appreciate all that she has to offer. Now, serving as one of the farm's Yoga Instructors, Stephanie gives back the same compassion, tenderness, and unconditional love that was given so freely to her during her stay.
Jack Seidel has been our greenhouse volunteer since May 2015 and he too is a talented body-worker, offering reflexology, abominable massage and deep tissue massage. Jack has an exceptional countenance with guests, being compassionate, kind and approachable. He is a beautiful example of being in loving service and his quiet work in the greenhouse feeds his sweet soul.
Secret Fine, Body and Energy Worker
Secret Fine lives in our village, but is a native of California. She has been involved in the Yogic arts since she was 3 years old, growing up in the Baptiste Yoga Center where she was immersed in Yoga and meditation. She began teaching Yoga after many years of personal practice under the guidance of her main teacher Ramanand Patel (Iyengar Yoga). During this time she also studied with Juliu Horvath, became one of his master trainers and conducted teacher trainings in Europe, India, and the U.S. She dedicates her process to her main teachers as well as, Kofi Busia, and several leaders in the Somatic healing arts. With a strong personal practice for the past 30 years she has cultivated an integrated teaching style that has a huge variety ranging from very active to restorative. Alignment is a major part of her teaching style yet she gives time for silent reflection. She has studied Classical North Indian music, Vedanta and has founded her own healing work called Bio Dialectic, a synthesis of Biodynamic Cranio-sacral therapy, Yogic energy principles, Thai massage, BMC, and other techniques she has learned from masters of healing. She maintains a blog and donates her tips to initiatives for the locals.
Christopher Gardner, Massage Therapist
Tophur is a seasoned massage therapist with decades of practice and experience. His technique is a blend of deep tissue, trigger-point and polarity balancing. Tophur massages, as we affectionately call them, are deeply therapeutic and rebalancing.
Tohpur also maintains the BioCharisma Podcast, a chronicle of pioneering souls in search of excellence. He touches on a wide range of topics, but the main focus is mental & physical health.
Our Costa Rican Staff
We have 5 staff hired from our nearby village – 3 farm workers and 2 maids. We know with total clarity that we could never do this without them… their knowledge of the tropics, their innate desire to be in service, their physical strength, willingness to work hard and wise counsel have kept us afloat since the beginning. With Om so much gratitude for Henry, Beto, Frank, Ruth and Lili!
Brian's Triumph Over Fibromyalgia
Brian enjoyed a successful life as a dedicated athlete. He went to college on a tennis scholarship and later worked as a tennis professional and schoolteacher. Then, in his mid-20’s, his health deteriorated rapidly.
It began with severe sinus congestion — and surgery that resulted in a persistent infection unaffected by antibiotic treatments. His symptoms soon exacerbated with fatigue, muscle pain, insomnia and a persistent high fever that kept him hospitalized. After relentless testing by the medical professionals, he was finally diagnosed with the ‘wastebasket’ condition named fibromyalgia. His symptoms worsened; cherished athletics became a thing of the past. While he continued to teach, he suffered through the days, his social life disintegrated, and friends and family treated him like a hypochondriac.
He visited one health professional after another, but their solutions were to prescribe more drugs, herbs and supplements, none of which delivered lasting relief. One surgeon even recommended removal of the first two cervical vertebrae as a possible treatment for his condition. After four years of seeking solutions, he found himself bankrupt, desperate and demoralized.
Brian resolved to heal himself on his own. This shift in consciousness served him well. Visiting a bookstore, he picked up a book on raw food. The principals of raw foodism made sense to him. The belief that the body could heal itself resonated well with Brian. His body had, after all, accomplished amazing athletic feats.
In 2002, Brian made the commitment to eat raw foods and heal his body of fibromyalgia. He announced to friends and family his change in lifestyle. He befriended raw foodists in his community. He got informed; his coffee table was littered with natural healing books; he had consultations with raw food experts; he joined online raw food groups and chat rooms. The transformation to health took several years of discipline, overcoming cravings and learning from the process. He experimented with different raw foods and eating patterns — including raw milk, the 80-10-10 diet, wheatgrass, blue-green algae, sequential eating, fasting and mono-meals — and paid attention to how his body responded. He experienced profound and interesting detoxification, and slowly, his body regenerated. The total transformation to health took several years.
Brian now enjoys great health and remains committed to eating raw, living foods. Brian has since learned about the principals of natural hygiene and now applies those to his life as well. His motto is to just enjoy the lifestyle and enjoy the process of healing.
Jody's Life-long Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Asthma
In 2004, several years into his raw food journey, Brian met his wife, Jody, at a holiday party. With a plate of cooked food in front of them and feeling self-conscious about his lifestyle, Brian confessed, “You wouldn’t believe what my diet is.” Jody answered, “What are you, a raw foodist?” You can imagine Brian’s surprise. He was not accustomed to meeting women who were even aware of this lifestyle.
At the time, Jody was on crutches, undergoing an 11-month stem cell treatment to re-grow cartilage in her ankle. Jody had been diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis as an infant, and had lived her whole life with its crippling effects. Throughout her childhood, there was “no running, jumping hopping, skipping...” She underwent physical therapy twice a day, including heat therapy and painful range of motion exercises. She took every pharmaceutical drug ever marketed for arthritis and experienced nearly every side effect too, including liver and kidney malfunctions, GI irritations, dead bone in her knee and constant fatigue and sinus congestion. At age 16, she was diagnosed with asthma and 30% lung function. For over a decade, she gave herself daily treatments with a nebulizer and asthma inhalers, and took monthly courses of prednisone and antibiotics to treat attacks.
In 2000, Jody delved into alternative methods of healing. She removed 8 mercury amalgams from her teeth, and promptly experienced total relief from asthma! She visited alternative practitioners and tried modalities of every kind — homeopathics, Jaffa-Melor technique, Neuro-emotional technique, different types of chiropractic, EFT, Radical Forgiveness, far infrared modalities, magnetic therapies, acupuncture, colonics, foot baths, psychic healing, bioenergetics, blood type diet, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, yoga, neuromuscular massage, PEMF treatments and many, many herbs and nutritional supplements. While some of these treatments granted Jody incredible breakthroughs in her physical and spiritual healing journey, most of them only soothed her pain and fatigue — they did not contribute towards reversing the cause of disease.
Despite her efforts to find the true healing source, she failed to recognize the one great truth— healing is a divine right and health is a divine presence within. All her seeking had been towards modalities outside herself. Through a newfound spiritual orientation, she began to recognize this greater truth for herself. She also began dating Brian, who taught her the raw food lifestyle and reaffirmed the belief that healing can be accomplished from the inside out.
Reversing old and outdated beliefs about disease, health and healing was Jody’s greatest personal health revolution. Having spent her impressionable childhood entrenched in mainstream medical mentality and battling chronic disease well into adulthood, she was initially incredulous, hard pressed to believe that she was safe with her body or that her body could heal itself without a drug, herb or gimmick. Today she continues to integrate superior thoughts and beliefs about health, lifestyle and her body. She surrounds herself with people who share this faith and confidence in the body’s ability to heal. She finds strength in spiritual teachings, such as Religious Science (www.slc-atlanta.org), Mike Dooley (www.tut.com) and the Abraham collective.
Jody’s transformation to health is a work in progress. She tiptoed her way into the raw food and natural hygiene lifestyles. She came to realize the extreme extent of her body’s toxemia and enervation and the need for rest and detoxification, as well as proper nourishment and re-mineralization. Eliminating stress from her life, getting to bed early, having appropriate exercise, connecting with the elements, practicing self-love and acceptance and doing short fasts are all practices that help restore her body to vitality.
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"This was the most life-changing trip of my life. I have never been around such positive, genuine, and spiritual people in my life." Lina, Florida
"Thanks for giving people the opportunity to get their thoughts straight, guts clean, eyes sharp and heart open. It works, big time." Judith de Grauuw, Netherlands
"This Farm of Life radiates positive energy and healing in ways that, if you allow yourself to remain open, you may not have expected." Vienna Sunflower, New Jersey
"Words cannot describe what healing powers your love emits. Thank you for all that you do." Ashley, Florida
"Not only is the setting straight out of Mother Nature’s heart, but the atmosphere that Brian and Jody have created in every detail of the farm is nothing short of inspirational and mesmerizing." Angela Bliss, Canada
"Arrive with an open heart and willingness to grow and you will leave with an activated and revitalized Vital Life Force." Zan, Alaska
"The meals were prepared with great love & joy." James, Canada
"No worries if you are not raw or even vegan, the fruits here are soooo amazing and delicious they won't leave you wanting anything else." Nina, Slovenia
"It was awesome waking up at dawn listening to the howler monkeys & the other sounds of nature all around. The outdoor shower was to die for." Arlene, Canada
"I definitely recommend this place to all who search for truth, transformation, living in harmony with life, eating vibrant raw foods and pure fun and laughter!" Tina about the Living Yoga Retreat
"The vibes were incredible as well as the connections with other kindred spirits & souls. I will treasure this experience of a true farm to table." Craig Ridgeway about the Raw Advantage Retreat
"This is not a traditional vacation but one that is very healing in all ways. You will leave feeling totally rejuvenated." Linda about the Raw Habilitation Retreat
"I am looking and feeling better than I can ever remember. I cant thank you enough for in essence saving my life, truly thankful for you kindness and vision!" Shelley Kozicki, Canada, Cancer Survivor
"Since our visit last month, we have maintained a mostly vegan lifestyle. Thanks for the inspiration and showing us how easy it is to get in all these lovely living foods!" - Jill & Adam, about learning skills from the Chef
"I could write pages about how I've changed from my experiences on the farm. It hasn't been much "easier" since I have been home, but my awareness, understanding & appreciation of things are on a totally different level. I know that's such a beautiful place to begin. So much gratitude towards you both and everything you represent." - Hayley, Canada, about the Into the Light retreat