Near Death Experience Brings Organics to Birmingham
by Robyn Mitchell
In 1994, I contracted a case of Toxic Strep-A which left me in a coma for a week, and had doctors and family members preparing for my death. Through some miracle though, I did survive. During my nearly year-long recovery and rehabilitation, I sought information on healthful living and eating. My research led me to the benefits of eating organically, and sparked a passion that spawned a business as well as an informal consulting service. I started eating a diet of raw fruits and vegetables, gradually leaving off meat and dairy. At that time, I was eating 85% of my food raw, and almost all organically. Within 6 months, I felt incredibly better. Even though I have gradually reintroduced meat and dairy to my diet, I continue to benefit from the improved nutritional value of organic foods.
At a time when organic foods were largely unknown in the state, I set out to introduce the community to the health benefits of eating organically. Starting on my porch, with the help of a friend, I began a small Co-Op. The initial participants, like me, were primarily those who were recovering from a serious illness. They saw in organics the potential for renewed and sustainable health in their lives by cutting out the various pesticides, preservatives, and other contaminants routinely found in commercially grown foods.
MannaMarket Co-Op was started in April 1994 with just 12 families. We now grow using bio dynamic methods and work with other growers to do the same and become GAP Certified. In 2002, We set out to lower the importing of organic produce and certain organic fruits and other organic products into the State of Alabama and across the southeast. The company became a recognized USDA Food Hub 2012 by the AMS.
We are a Non Profit Organic Cooperative (CO-OP) and Food Hub. We are now a Food Hub recognized by the USDA AMS, and soon we will ship nationwide. We are Licensed by the Alabama Department of Agriculture as a Cooperative; we have a Growers Permit Issued by the State of Alabama and issued Farm Number 2316 Tract # 9475 issued by USDA – National Resources and Conservation Service. We affiliate with over 60 growers throughout the USA and South America to bring All Organic Produce and Organic Specialty Products to our CO-OP Members year round.
We started Delivery and are now serving families, businesses, restaurants and schools all over the 6 county metro area of Birmingham, Alabama, recently expanded to North Alabama and soon look to expand into South Alabama. Soon, we will ship nationwide.
We recently added Organic Essential Oils and Organic Cosmetics to our product lines. There are many benefits to eating organically and using organic products!
Why, well here are just a few facts:
Just a few reasons why an organic lifestyle is important � not only for adults, infants, and children, but for the general health of our world as well.
Consider the fact that pesticides rarely occur by themselves and that multiple pesticides may be used on a fruit or vegetable. Pound for pound, children eat more fruits and vegetables than adults do. They have less detoxifying enzymes than adults, making it more difficult for them to break down the toxic chemicals that enter their bodies. They breathe faster and have immature organs. Their playing habits put them into contact with toxic chemicals more frequently (down on the carpet and the lawn, or hugging pets doused with flea and tick sprays or wearing chemical collars).
Organics are the products of an environmentally sustainable agricultural system that protects farmlands, water supplies, wildlife, farm workers and consumers.
Because organic farming builds soil fertility, by using naturally composted fertilizer to feed and keep soils balanced, foods grown this way are generally more flavorful and nutritious.
Certified Organic acreage has doubled in the last three years, increasing its ability to offer year-round availability with a greater level of consistent quality.
Dietary fiber acts somewhat like a brush, keeping your intestines clean and promoting a healthier digestive tract. Experts agree that eating 20-30 grams of dietary fiber per day (almost double what the typical American now eats) may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms, and can also be harmful to humans.
More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the U.S.
Although more and more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently owned and operated family farms.
The logic is inescapable. Eating organically not only promotes health in humans, it also promotes health in the environment, and ultimately health in our economy as resources are redirected toward food production rather than the eradication of poisons intentionally introduced into our soils and waterways.