Groundbreaking Ceremony Scheduled Saturday November 18th!

Build This Town: Campaign for the Agriculture Park is holding a groundbreaking ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 18th at Clary-Shy Park.  This public-private partnership between the Columbia Parks & Recreation and three non-profits - Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Columbia Farmers Market, and Sustainable Farms & Communities - has been working on this project  for the last two and a half years, and has reached an exciting milestone. The ceremony will feature and recognize the many people who have been involved in the development of the Agriculture Park. 

Campaign Director Adam Saunders says, “We have a great project that will create a wide range of positive impacts for Columbia and Mid-Missouri.” Fresh fruits and vegetables grown at the park will be donated to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, organizers estimate the park, once fully developed, will have the capacity to produce 50,000 pounds of food every year. Thousands of children every year will have the opportunity to see how food is grown and have a positive experience that involves agriculture and healthy food. Billy Polansky, Executive Director of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture said “This is an exciting opportunity to expand CCUA’s educational programs so that we can increase agricultural and health literacy.” The benefits to this project extend beyond the city limits, the Columbia Farmers Market expects the new facility to increase the number of customers who are purchasing food from local farmers. “This improved facility is working to keep dollars in mid-Missouri and build community between the rural farmers and customers in town.” Said Corrina Smith, Executive Director of the Columbia Farmers Market. 

Phase one construction will begin in early 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by summer of 2018. Features and components in this phase include the storm water detention basin upgrades, utility hookups, the concrete slab for the main market pavilion (called the MU Health Care Pavilion), and the center section of the pavilion, which includes public restrooms.  Once grading is complete, CCUA will begin work on the nature based Outdoor Classroom and soil improvements in the Urban Farm and orchard areas with a target date of phasing in food production on site in 2019. 

Future phases of this project include a Production Complex for CCUA (including a greenhouse and vegetable wash area), an Outdoor Classroom building, the east and west wings of the MU Health Care Pavilion, a Multi-purpose building (similar to Reichmann Pavilion at Stephens Lake Park), and an expansion of this building that includes a teaching/production kitchen.  These features and others will be phased in over the coming years, and several may event begin in 2018.

Billy Polansky