This Colombia Native is a 12 Year Veteran In The Wellness Space & Is Creating A Much Need Community Where Accessibility Is At The Heart Of Healing
Casa Finca means farm house in Spanish - A typical Colombian estate, the term Casa Finca refers to farms which are found in cities, with land enough to harvest fruits, vegetables and raise animals. Casa Finca started out as a Juice and Elixir bar in the heart of South Street Seaport. Now - it’s a community based entity traveling throughout Brooklyn.
We had the honor of chatting with Suanny Upegui in her beautiful backyard Sanctuary (with actual unimaginable large stalks of bamboo growing throughout her yard). Having been in the wellness industry for 12 years, Suanny is an all around holistic living practitioner, healer and community builder based in Brooklyn where accessibility and availability are essential.
We started our conversation with a beautiful meditation and chatted a bit about what sustainability means to her:
Sustainability means sustaining your life by your own means of work and the understanding of how to work with land and how to have a connection with Mother Earth. How do I connect with her in a way that makes a healthy relationship between the two of us. How do I give more than I take.
I grew up in the mountains of Columbia so it was not a question or anything you have to think about. It was more just something that you do. It was how we lived - you lived by giving what you grow and receiving something else that people grow.
There’s not as much garbage because you don’t have as much packaging. Seeing all of the trash was new to me when I moved to the United states (at the age of 12).
I grew up in a house where the milk man would come to the door. It was not too much of anything - it was real communal living. You still had to pay for some things but it was not the consumerism that we see here in the US. The move was an adjustment. We didn’t really know what recycling means because we would consciously and subconsciously do right away. We reused everything.
Coming here and seeing how much meat people eat - my family and my brother especially had issues with weight because of that - because we didn’t understand. We went crazy because it’s things that we never had in our country. It was culture shock that you consume right away because it’s abundance in a very slave mentality way.
I grew up with sustainability subconsciously.
As I got older growing up in the states and going through a spiritual awakening with Mother Earth - Mother Gaia told me that “I am you and you are me - let’s work together”. I stopped using plastic all together as much as I can - I don’t buy anything with plastic, I travel around with my reusable bottle, I ride my bike, I make sure to recycle, I compost. I try to teach by example!
I decided that I can’t be part of the problem. How dare I think that way.
Having recently just closed her Casa Finca juice and elixir bar, she realized that her dream is to create community! Casa Finca is kept alive by Suanny doing healthy catering, elixir experiences, events at her sanctuary (Beautiful Backyard space), workshops teaching people about herbalism, reiki, holistic nutrition - teaching families how to eat healthy in a sustainable way. She has learned that a lot of families have issues with allergies so she teaches them how to cook for the allergies that they encounter.
In asking Suanny what exciting things she’s working on for the New Year, she told us about the Healing Arts Center in Upstate New York with White Pine Community Farm.
The prep for the center started in October of 2018 and she’s hoping it will be ready for the Spring/Summer season. It’s going to be a space to host events and teach classes for adults and kids but it’s also going to be a retreat center. There will be youth programs for under-severed communities. It’s a very intentional space with mindful thought processes:
We want to make sure that indigenous people are involved as not to do any cultural appropriation. The retreats will be for profit to be able to afford the not for profit. We want to bring indigenous people from other countries to teach their modalities and what ever we make from that we want to give back to their community.
It’ll have a component of classes and not for profit to give the youth the opportunity to come out of school to vocational programs. They can bring these healing modalities to their community - that way we can teach each other how to heal one another and heal themselves.
We want to make sure that everyone is taken care of in some way or another - A SYSTEM WHERE EVERYONE IS TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER instead of creating a hierarchy!
Suanny believes in balance and that everyone deserves healing. Her goal is to have healing facilities everywhere. She shares her frustration with healing being so costly and impossible for many people. She shares that, “healing should be available for everyone not just for few”, and we couldn’t agree more!
In learning so much about Suanny and her passion for positively changing lives, we wanted to learn a bit more about her journey especially as a woman of color:
To be honest - I’ve been in the wellness industry for 12 years and I’ve always hidden my psychic abilities because I’ve always wanted to “fit in” - into this community of wellness professionals in NY, which is mainly white oriented. The reason why I never came out is because I didn’t want to come off as a “know it all” or “standoffish”. I thought that the wellness community was veery fake! So it was my own experiment of understanding the wellness community on both sides.
WOC have been marginalized for so long that it’s become a taboo to be into all of this stuff - our ancestors were killed for doing stuff like this.
The industry is driven by white people and You can not relate sometimes with people who don’t understand the struggle. I’ve felt felt very displaced my whole life in the wellness space and I can only imagine how people who want to learn feel. I can understand why WOC and people of other cultures disconnect themselves a little bit and want to learn on their own - I think it’s changing
I also believe that there’s 2 sides to the spectrum - it’s not necessarily good also to forget that we are all one. Even though those people created a name for the wellness industry that we don’t relate with - maybe come together with them - collaborating with each other will do a lot of healing. A lot of the other spectrum needs healing as well.
When you get to a point from being a healer - you shouldn’t look away from darkness. Understand it - give it some light - then come out of it
It was such a beautiful journey just to chat with Suanny and not only learn about her healing modalities but also how she takes back her power as a WOC Columbian immigrant. We are so excited to journey with her further and hopefully work together in the near future!