In 1994, I contracted Toxic Strep-A, that flesh eating disease that eats your flesh from the inside out. I had flu like symptoms, and my temperature went to 104.9. I went to the hospital, they turned me upside down to try and get a blood pressure on me. That is the last thing I remember. I became gangrene, septic, and toxic.
My doctors wanted to do exploratory surgery to look around and see what was wrong with me. They took out my gallbladder, but that ended up not being the problem. The doctors said “get her affairs in order she will die any minute”. So doctors and family members were preparing for my death. An infectious disease doctor was consulted at this time.
I was given vancomycin a last resort antibiotic that was suppose to burn up the infection in my body The doctors wanted to amputate my leg from the left thigh down. My family was told that I would be on kidney dialysis for the rest of my life, if I lived. And that I would have heart damage and liver damage as well. My family was also told that I would not have my mental faculties, that I had lost too many brain cells.
Through some miracle though, I did survive. When I woke up I had it all together, my brain worked, didn’t need kidney dialysis. When I came out of intensive care, I was told that the infection was still in my body. Then the doctors wanted to excise the infection out of my left thigh, carve it out. I said give me some more morphine, and come back in an hour. I continued to say that. The pain was so incredible but I was so determined not to have them touch my leg. I was able to keep my leg and the pain gradually subsided after a few more weeks. I had breathing treatments for a month while in the hospital. I was finally allowed to come home but stayed in the bed all summer.
I was still told that the infection was lying dormant in my body and that it would come back, and when it did it would take my life for sure. I had 4 little children to take care of. I started teaching my 6 & 9 year old daughters to wash clothes and cook. I told them they had to learn to take care of their dad and little brothers,that I probably wouldn’t be around much longer. The youngest child was 15 months old.
I went to every doctor I could find to ask if there was something they could do for me, to strengthen my immune system. What vitamins should I take, what should I do to ensure I get healthier and have more energy? I was not given much help. I was told there wasn’t anything that could be done, that I had permanent damage, and I would not get better, just get used to it.
I had been doing a co-op to the Farmer’s Market on Finley Avenue for years up to 1994. I tried to do the co-op again a year or so after my illness. It did not make me feel better to eat the conventional fruits and vegetables but I did not feel worse. I thought it would jump start my body, but I could NOT feel a difference. I still had no energy and felt quite bad.
I was determined I would not die, that I would figure out how to feel better and have more energy. So, I went on a search to heal my own body. A girlfriend in my Sunday School class named Kathy Bley insisted I eat organically and learn about herbs. There was a health food store in Pelham at the time called Amaziing Grains that she recommended I go to. The lady there worked on my health and told me to eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables. She said to try and eat as many raw as possible, not to cook them. I gradually left off meat and dairy for a period of time, eating more and more of the certified organic produce raw. I was feeling a bit better but it was so slow and gradual. After 6 months I was eating 85% of my organic food raw. I was finally able to say I felt incredible better. I was so excited to have learned about organic healthy eating.
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. Feeding a family of 6 on organic fruits and vegetables was very expensive. I wanted to continue to eat this way but had to figure out how to do this on a budget. So, I started an Organic co-op. With having enough folks together in a group we could afford to buy wholesale organic produce. 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.
Within one year we outgrew my porch, and moved to the New Merkle Community Center also called the Cahaba Heights Senior Citizen Center on 4405 Dolly Ridge Road, 35243. We have been there ever since. (We are there every other Tuesday from 12-2:30 P.M.)
Here we are 11 years later still running our large co-op of organic fruits and vegetables. We still do this for 3 reasons:
1, the prices are so much more affordable in our large co-op, 2, the food is so much fresher, it has not been stored in a warehouse. As fast as it is picked it is brought to us. 3, we offer a large variety of organic fruits and vegetables, anything grown in the world we can purchase. We try to buy from as many local farmers as possible. In the winter we have to buy within the southeast.
The MannaMarket Co-Op was started in April 2000 with just 12 families. We are now serving families all over the 4 county metro area, and will ship nationwide.
Every item offered for purchase at Manna Market is guaranteed to be Organically grown or contain Organic ingredients. A standard sack order contains the freshest organic items available so you can enjoy food as God intended!
How do I pick up my order? Preordering is advised. Pick-up location: 4405 Dolly Ridge Rd Birmingham, AL 35243 12:00 - 2:30 pm every other Tuesday Dates for the rest of the year are: Sept 13, 27, Oct. 11, 25, Nov. 8, 22, Dec. 6, 20.
Delivery is always available within the Over-the-Mountain area for a small charge.
To receive additional information on how to adopt an organic lifestyle, please contact us: email@example.com begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 205-566-2533 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Robyn Jones Mitchell 205-566-2533.