Faces of Bloomingfoods: Mary Beth Haas

Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I elected to have a lumpectomy, but after extensive research declined the prescribed radiation and chemotherapy because those treatments would further compromise my obviously overwhelmed immune system. Instead, I did everything natural I could find to cleanse my body of toxins and build up my immune system so that I would not get cancer again. I am thankful for the wake-up call cancer gave me to change my life and I am very grateful to Bloomingfoods for helping me save my life and regain my health. I no longer fear cancer and I am healthier in middle age than I have ever been.

The co-op provided me with a diverse and abundant selection of delicious organic fruits and vegetables, organic dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, quality prepared foods, vitamins, homeopathic remedies, and non-toxic cleaning and body care supplies long before the chains realized there was money to be made in organics. Even now, with the subsequent growth in organic availability, when I travel to other towns, it is rare to find a store that can compete with our local co-op for quality and organic abundance.

It has always been a joy to shop at the co-op because the staff is so knowledgeable and helpful. Everyone seems to be in a good mood working and shopping there. I love to run into friends and it happens quite often because I grocery shop almost exclusively at Bloomingfoods. We usually hug. Now that I think of it, I'm never hugging anyone in chain stores. I appreciate also how the co-op contributes to the Bloomington community by supporting local non-profits. It feels good to shop Bloomingfoods physically and morally. And we own it!

I keep a postcard propped against my monitor on my desk at home. On it a young boy walks toward a luminous full moon on a tightrope stretched mid-air between a house roof and his own hands, dreamlike. It helps remind me of the improbable miracle of life and the power of the human spirit. How fortunate that the board and management of Bloomingfoods are willing to extend themselves to take the risk and effort of growth to expand the benefits of the co-op for the residents of downtown and near west side Bloomington. It will also be convenient for all of us not headed to the east side, to stop at the west side location. I am happy to loan the co-op funding to help make this dream a reality. It's the least I can do.

Thank you for giving me the chance to express my gratitude to all of you, the members, the board, the employees, and my fellow shoppers at Bloomingfoods for all the health and pleasure you have given me over the years. I have included a recipe for raw brownies that I hope you enjoy. Bon Appetit!

Mary Beth Haas is a longtime Bloomington resident, Bloomingfoods member, and community volunteer. She is vice president of Bybee Stone Company. You can find her favorite brownie recipe in our recipe section.