PRESS RELEASE: Agriculture Park Campaign Launches Public Fundraising Effort as it Rolls into Phase Two
Agriculture Park Campaign Launches Public Fundraising Effort as it Rolls into Phase Two
Campaign Launch Media Packet
FOR RELEASE MAY 6, 2017
May 6, 2017—Columbia, Missouri
While hundreds of people shopped at the Columbia Farmers Market, the rest of Clary-Shy Park was flagged and signed to show where future features of a proposed Agriculture Park will sit. The Campaign for the Agriculture Park is a public-private collaboration between Columbia Parks and Recreation, Columbia Farmers Market, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, and Sustainable Farms and Communities. The partners are calling themselves Friends of the Farm.
The campaign launch event invited the public to walk through the park which was marked with flags, cones, and signs to show where future buildings, walking paths, gardens and orchards would be placed. Adam Saunders, Campaign Director said, “The Agriculture Park in its finished state will have three acres of fruit and vegetable production, a barn, recreation trails, an outdoor classroom, pedestrian plaza, commercial kitchen, a large farmers’ market building, multipurpose building, and office space. The investments in the park will greatly improve Columbia’s and Mid-Missouri’s ability to connect with local food and the land.”
During public announcements, Robbie Price, Campaign Chair, announced to the crowd that the campaign had already raised $1,707,142 surpassing the goal of $1.65 million needed to build phase one of the project. With the funds in hand, the group plans to break ground at the park later this year. The entire buildout of the park is anticipated to cost around $5 million. “We are well on our way to changing Columbia for the better. There is great momentum behind the Agriculture Park, but we’re not finished yet. Your help is crucial to the success of this project. Besides your charitable donation, please talk to your neighbors, your friends, people at church, and your co-workers. Tell them about the Agriculture Park, and ask them to join you in support of this unique public park. We need everyone to make a financial pledge to this project. Together our community can Build This Town! ”, said Price. The campaign has established a fund called the “Friends of the Farm Fund” at the Community Foundation for Central Missouri where all contributions are being kept.
The campaign’s largest gift to date, $495,000, comes from University of Missouri Health Care. “At MU Health Care, our vision is to partner with the community to make Boone County the healthiest community in the state, and we want to make Columbia, Missouri, a destination health community,” said Jonathan Curtright, interim CEO of MU Health Care. “That is why we are so pleased today to be able to support this campaign to build an agricultural park that will benefit generations to come.”
Other large contributors to the campaign include $400,000 from the Park Sales Tax. “We could not do this project without our partners. This is a wise use of public and private money to build a site that will serve thousands of people every week,” noted Mike Griggs, Director of Columbia Parks and Recreation. The Boone County Community Trust and Stafford Family Trust are each contributing $150,000. The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, announced on Friday that the Agriculture Park will receive a $100,000 grant through their “Partners for Places” project. The grant will support the sustainable design that is integrated throughout the project.
Lara Landrum, a campaign volunteer and avid farmers’ market supporter spoke of the positive impact the park will have on children. “I am thrilled that this park will provide more opportunities for children to play outside. Many kids don't have meaningful or engaging experiences with the natural world. Nature isn’t just a national park or a pristine wilderness. Nature is all around us, and children who live in the city should see that. For thousands of children, the Agriculture Park will spark their imaginations and make them eager to learn about healthy foods and the natural systems that sustain us. I joined the campaign committee because I believe in this project's success. It will be a great gift for our children.”
Lindsay Lopez, Executive Director of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri also spoke at the event. “The future Urban Farm at the Agriculture Park will not only be a showpiece in central Columbia, it will have a significant impact on local families facing food insecurity by providing three times more food than CCUA’s current farm can produce for the pantry. Our goal at The Food Bank is to provide families with foods that encourage good health—protein, dairy and of course produce. This garden will produce more than 50,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to help us achieve that mission.”
In addition to addressing human health, the park will improve the health of the mid-Missouri’s economy. Dustin Stanton, co-owner of Stanton Brothers Farm, and a board member of the Columbia Farmers Market also spoke at the ceremony, “This project is an investment in local agriculture and these improvements to the farmers’ market are an investment in local family farms. Our ‘producer only’ market helps get money back into mid-Missouri’s rural communities. This provides much needed economic activity to our small towns and farming communities. ”
Contact Campaign Director, Adam Saunders at 573-356-9392 or Adam@ColumbiaUrbanAg.org with questions.