Joe O’Meara has joined the COMS community as the resident Chef and Farmer. Joe worked in various restaurants as a cook for several years before attending Kendall College to study Culinary Arts. He trained under renowned chef Rick Bayless and managed the kitchen for special events for both Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. During his time there, he cooked for Oprah, President Obama and even C-3PO.
At Frontera, Joe’s appreciation for local, farm-fresh foods grew. He began volunteering at City Farm and eventually left the culinary world to learn how to grow food. He worked at City Farm for 2 years, managing restaurant sales along with farming. His next step was to leave the city for Tempel Farms Organics in Wadsworth, IL. Joe spent 4 years operating tractors, raising animals, establishing fruit orchards and managing the harvest in mixed vegetable production.
After a season at Radical Root Farm, Joe returned to the south side of Chicago, where he was born and raised. He co-founded Blue Island Organic Sustainable (BIOS) Farm with Larry O’Toole. BIOS works strategically to sell local, organically grown produce in Blue Island and nearby with a Community-Supported- Agriculture subscription and on-site farm-stand. Joe also spent the last 2 seasons starting the farm program at Opportunity Knocks, a non-profit that serves young people with special needs. He was nominated for Man-of-the-Year by Blue Island Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and 2018.
Joe is excited to help establish the farm-to-school program within COMS and to give children the opportunity to learn about local food and sustainability. His two children, Joey and Juniper, are students in the Children’s House.