Friends of the Farm Partnership
This campaign is being pushed forward by a collaborative public-private partnership. The partnership is calling itself Friends of the Farm. The following four organizations make up this partnership: City of Columbia Parks and Recreation, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Columbia Farmers Market, and Sustainable Farms and Communities. Each of these organizations has a unique stake in the project and brings a unique set of skills to accomplish the campaign’s goals. This is not a new entity and the organizations are not merging, it is a group of organizations who have agreed to work together. The deep partnerships will allow this park to serve the entire community with an emphasis on fresh, healthy, local foods.
Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture
CCUA's mission is to enhance our community’s health by connecting people to agriculture and the land through hands-on learning opportunities from seed to plate. Since 2009, CCUA has been empowering people to grow their own food, teaching groups of children about where their food comes from and bringing fresh, healthy produce to local hunger relief outlets. CCUA currently operates a 1.3 acre Urban Farm which hosts thousands of visitors and grows over 17,000 pounds of produce every year. In the community, CCUA works with hundreds of families, individuals, and businesses to ensure success in their backyard gardens. Upon completion, the Agriculture Park will become CCUA's new base of operations.
Columbia Farmers Market
First organized in 1980, CFM has grown to become one of the premier locations for locally grown and produced food, crafts, flowers, plants, and other agricultural products in Mid-Missouri. Saturday markets occur year-round, with winter months spent inside at Parkade Center. CFM is a producer-only market. When you shop at CFM you are purchasing a product directly from the farmer or artisan who grew it or made. All 80 CFM vendors come from within a 50-mile radius of the market. Upon construction of a 40,000 sq ft market building at the Agriculture Park, the market can occur at the Agriculture Park year-round, protected from the weather.
Sustainable Farms and Communities
SF&C is the Columbia Farmers Market's "sister organization" that strives to be a central player in creating a sustainable, safe and healthy local food system. Their Access to Healthy Food program provides a 1:1 match to low-income families who shop at the farmers' market. Families who use SNAP and WIC benefits at CFM are eligible to participate in this program.
Columbia Parks and Recreation
The Department of Parks & Recreation is committed to improving our community’s health, stability, beauty, and quality of life by providing outstanding parks, trails, recreational facilities, and leisure opportunities for all Columbia citizens. The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department oversees over 3,100 acres of park land and maintains 83 parks, green space locations, and recreation facilities. The 20-acre Clary-Shy Park is currently home to the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC), the Columbia Farmers Market (in the parking lot), and 10 acres of underused sports fields. Parks and Rec will retain ownership of the future Agriculture Park at Clary-Shy Park.