Just Food’s City Farms program works with city residents through workshops to assist people in growing, marketing, and distributing garden-grown food. Thomann works primarily in Brooklyn, where he founded a community garden, and Queens.
“This is a way of getting food to the people, and that’s what Just Food is all about,” Thomann said. “We have a food system that is based on the industrialization and mass production of food. Food from far away comes to the consumer, and there are corporate interests that gather and retain a lot of the profits.”
“The system that Just Food is trying to develop is a system that is way more localized.”
Just Food eliminates the problems of empty calories, high food miles, and high prices. Its variety of trainers are skilled in teaching New Yorkers about preserving food, nutritional information, and, in Thomann’s case, the ins and outs of starting a garden.
“Specifically I teach them techniques that they can use for growing their food,” Thomann said. “We’ve been growing our own food for the last six thousand years on every single continent. We need to get back in touch with the soil.”
Thomann, who has been with Just Food since 2006, has been a gardener all his life. He is still inspired by the enthusiastic reception from the community and loves seeing a “light bulb go off in people’s eyes.”
In addition to teaching seven to eight workshops a week, Thomann teaches the nation’s first undergraduate course in Community Gardening. Thomann’s teachings have allowed him to work towards ideals that he finds invaluable.
“A community garden addresses the three goals: To have a healthy body, healthy community, and a healthy planet. What you are doing is environmentally conscious, and the planet benefits as well,” Thomann said.
For more information on Just Food, visit www.justfood.org.