EcoForest is one of the first communities we planned to visit, as their website comes up when searching for 'vegan community'. EcoForest is not just vegan - it is RAW! which makes it (at the time of writing...) Europe's (the world's?) first and only vegan raw community. But the diet is not the only special thing about EcoForest, and though the 'vision' desperately needs people, if the stream of positive energies continues, it will make it grow into the first community us EcoNomads actually see a feasibility of residency.
After a long uncomfortable over-night train to Malaga, we finished our last evil rice-cakes, and took the slow bus to Coin. It was disappointingly a grey and rainy day at the Costa del Sol, but at least not as cold as where we came from. The umbrella we just found in Malaga train station we forgot at the taxi point in Coin... (easy come easy go). From the bridge we walked barefoot in the rain through the endless citrus orchards and the deserted (but with many barking dogs) farms yet couldn't find EcoForest. Crawling under a vehicle for a dry place, OfeK looked at the map again on the laptop ... a-huh! there's Steve.
Steve has been involved in many projects and communities around the UK, and he has plenty of knowledge and experience. Some years ago, he had shared his vision of an eco-community with the vegan, raw, and permaculture networks in the UK. An initial group was formed and they acquired a slope of land by the Rio Grande, near Malaga. This area was chosen for the climate, proximity to the UK, and of course, the local availability of almost any fruit you can think of.
After an initial boom of many visitors, potential residents, and raw parties, there are now two people living in EcoForest most of the year, a few part-time residents, and several long-term reappearing guests. They lodge at the top of the land in one of the few tents, the teepee, yurt, a trailer-home, or "the house" - a walled one-room building with an improvised temporary roof.
Down the stairs, below the residential area, there's the gravel road (dead end, no cars passing by), a few parking spaces, and the "shop" - a permanently parked van stocked with fruit, nuts, seaweed, solar flashlights/torches and postcards for sale, to supplement the daily communal salad. Below the road, there's a roofed open space, with the kitchen and dining table, and a polytunnel and small gardens. Between there and the river lies the Forest Garden (An independent community of plants that is a self-developing ecosystem that requires minimal maintenance), with mostly citrus trees and underneath them, different kinds of perennial salad greens and veggies.
The beautiful river (relatively speaking in Spain) is quite shallow, but Gaura dug a little pool up for taking refreshing cold baths. The river is also used for laundry, toilet-water (in place of toilet-paper), and washing dishes. Rain water is used for washing veggies, and drinking water is transported from a public spring in Coin. Not too much drinking water is consumed because of the Raw diet and the abundance of oranges for fresh juice.
It rained for most of the time, and we were staying in the house, as it seemed the only leak-free possibility. Without electricity for the laptop, we were educating ourselves by candle light, gulping down the nice selection of books and periodicals about the vegan raw diet, fasting, primal mothering, activism, and even some Egyptology.
At night Steve and other people came over and we lit the stove. Without hot drinks, smoke, or superficial small talk, the Raw lifestyle sparked evenings with a magical atmosphere with music and high quality conversations into the night about all the topics that matter. Steve was a very inspiring character, so calm and wise, talking to the point and sharing his wholesome mind.
So what did we eat? Breakfast was a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with wild grass and nettle juice. Other days it was a big bag of tangerines straight from the tree. We tried not to eat anything else till afternoon, but more or less until our late afternoon meal, we munched freely on apples, amazing cherimoyas (custard apple or anona), avocados bananas, dates, figs, mangoes, persimmons, whatever we had, but trying to combine them right. Then before dark, everyone made their salad, wrapping it in the greens, and sometimes making a nut or bean paté. Food was simple and delicious, and we were feeling just great. Momo went from one lap to the other, tasting each salad, and enjoying the whole experience. While Momo was never a picky eater, we saw in recent months how she tends to fill-up first on starchy cooked food - bread, pasta, potatoes, rice - and skipping the fresh colorful veggies. In EcoForest, she ate everything again, nibbling like a little rabbit on the most bitter dark greens straight from the plants! We never imagined it would be as easy as visiting EcoForest, to become complete Raw and keep it up for months after. That's it, there's no going back... We realized and experienced a diet more optimal than ours, and EcoForest is the optimal place to take the first step.
We returned to EcoForest two more times before going North, and would like to go there again (and again...). It really feels like a different world, or even a refuge, but also it's a bit too isolated, as no one really speaks Spanish. It seems like the neighbors are not quite in the same mind set, as they like shooting birds on the weekends... We hope more people and families will join as full-time residents and shape it into a real community.
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