Together we can transform our community with good food for all and the skills to grow it. Since early March, when the COVID-19 Pandemic swept the nation, we have adapted to serve our community in new creative ways. With your donation we can reach more people during this challenging time. We have set our goal for this challenge for $10,000, through A Community Thrives by 10/16/2020.
Participants in the Opportunity Gardens program are being supported by CCUA staff with garden mentoring at a six foot distance while wearing masks. Mentoring also occurs over the phone and through text messages. 27 new families in the program have started backyard gardens this year . Currently, 72 families are gardening in the program. Families are growing everything from tomatoes to watermelon and anything in between. We still have room for more families to join the Opportunity Gardens Program, so if you or someone you know is interested and wants help installing and maintaining a garden for three years at no-cost, please see if you qualify and apply by clicking here.
Our PLANTS program has been greatly affected by COVID-19 and school closings. Our PLANTS program predominantly works with school aged children at Columbia Public Schools,and summer / after school programs such asBoys and Girls Club. When COVID-19 struck, the PLANTS program staff adapted with online content so kids could stay engaged while at home. Virtual kids activities include “Cooking with Clint”, VEG OUT Virtual Kids programming and the Kids Art contest that ran March through July. The VEG OUT programming is still daily at 10am on Facebook Live. For more information about our PLANTS program, please visit here.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for fresh, healthy food as our community has seen record unemployment and strains on food supply chains. Local families and farmers have received critical food assistance through our Planting for the Pantry program and Local Food Relief Program. As of 08/01/2020, 13,757 pounds of food has either been grown by CCUA’s Planting for the Pantry Program or purchased from local farmers to help feed families in need.
Food for the Planting for the Pantry program is being grown at both the Agriculture Park and Veterans Urban Farm this year. We are excited about this transition, as it marks our first full growing season at the Agriculture Park. Agriculture was deemed essential, and our garden staff worked tirelessly during the Stay at Home Order. In order to provide fresh, local produce to families who use the Central Pantry, it was important that our spring crop was planted and harvested during that crucial window of time. In mid-May, small amounts of volunteers were allowed to come back with added safety precautions. Harvesting and working in the garden looks different this year, with masks and social distancing. We are committed to continue growing nutritious food for those in our community that need it. For more information on sponsoring a row or general information for Planting for the Pantry, visit here.
We are thankful for Boone County’s financial support of our emergency Local Food Relief Program. This program works to alleviate food and nutrition insecurity in Boone County while also serving as a retail outlet for farmers who have been impacted by decreased sales. The Local Food Relief Program purchases bulk fruits, vegetables, and eggs from Mid-Missouri farmers; the products are then delivered to local hunger-relief agencies.
Spring 2020 was the official start of the Veterans Urban Farm Program at the Mark and Carol Stevenson Veterans Urban Farm. The program is possible due to the partnership between The Truman VA Hospital and Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health, MFA Oil. Veterans United and MEM. Patients in the VA’s Transitional Work Program have been learning job skills through vocational therapy at the farm. The farm crew is working to improve the site so that other VA programs can use the farm in the future. Food grown by the Veterans is donated to Patriot Place, Welcome Home, and the Truman VA Nutrition Program. Additional produce is sold on Thursdays outside the Truman VA Hospital. To learn more about our Veterans Urban Farm program, please visit here.
In order to continue serving as a resource for gardening tips and education in Mid-Missouri, CCUA now offers Virtual Gardening Workshops and educational programs. Garden-Side Chats are live-streamed 3 days a week on Facebook and include “ask a farmer” Q&A sessions, gardening tips, cooking demonstrations, and farm tours. Many people continue to engage with these virtual lessons as the growing season progresses and new topics become relevant. We are thrilled to be able to connect with so many in our community and encourage people to grow and eat their own food! To watch our virtual programming, visit our Facebook page here.
New features continue to be built at Columbia’s Agriculture Park and the park is really starting to match the community’s vision for this space. Construction is taking place on some major parts of the Agriculture Park including the CCUA Greenhouse and Barn, One Room Schoolhouse, Planting for the Pantry Rows, demonstration raised beds, and so much more! We are so excited to see the progress and can’t wait to be able to utilize this park in the future, as we grow. Our temporary office has been placed behind the barn,and it should be ready for us to move into very soon. The Agriculture Park is a big step for this community at a time when health and food security are so important. To learn more about the Campaign for the Agriculture Park, and donate, visit our website here.
CCUA’s offices remain closed to the public.
Volunteers, Staff, Program Participants, and Visitors must wear a mask:
at all times when indoors,
at all times while in a company vehicle, and
outdoors when social distancing is not feasible.
Volunteers, Staff, Program Participants, and Visitors must stay home if sick, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19. Those with symptoms or who have tested positive must notify the Executive Director.
All tools and company vehicles are sanitized after use.
Our updated events calendar below has a full listing of CCUA’s virtual learning opportunities.
I want help with a garden at my home or workplace.
I want to garden at home and I live with a low-income.
Families whose children qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible to participate in our Opportunity Gardens Program. This program provides you with materials and mentoring so that you can be a successful home gardener. There is no cost to participating families.
I want to garden at home or at my workplace and I do not live with a low-income.
Our GardenPro Service helps households, businesses, and agencies start and maintain their own gardens and orchards. Services include garden installation, one-on-one mentoring, and garden maintenance. Contact Matthew Dolan to set up your free consultation today.
I want to volunteer.
I want to join a regular volunteer shift with CCUA.
This type of shift is good if you can make the regular, weekly time commitment. This is a good option for students who are looking to volunteer for are often students looking to earn internship/class credit. If you would like to volunteer for regular weekly shifts, please complete an application in our volunteer portal. Create an account, log in and start applying for volunteer opportunities. After you submit your application, someone will be in touch to schedule an orientation.
I want to show up and volunteer without RSVPing or any future commitments.
This type of shift is good if you cannot make a long-term volunteer commitment, but would like to help from time to time. Our only drop in volunteer opportunity is currently at Kilgore's Community Garden (701 N Providence Rd) the Kilgore’s Community Garden every Wednesday evening from April – October at 5pm - Sunset.
I want to organize a volunteer workday for my group (workplace, church, club).
"Group" Volunteer Shifts:
This type of shift is good for workplaces, church groups, social clubs, or scout troops who want to spend time together working on a service project. Volunteer groups are an essential part of CCUA, participating in all aspects of planting, growing, harvesting and general upkeep and maintenance at one of our sites including: the Urban Farm, Agriculture Park, or Kilgore's Community Garden. Group workdays must be scheduled at least 3 weeks in advance. To volunteer as a group the minimum age is 12 years old and volunteers from the age of 12-15 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone or supervisor. To schedule your group for a volunteer work day, please contact CCUA’s Operations Director, Carrie Hargrove at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (573) 514-4174.
I want to volunteer as a member of CCUA’s Board of Directors.
CCUA is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors. If you would like to volunteer as a member of our Board of Directors,please visit our Board of Directors Page.
I want to donate.
I want to make a donation which supports CCUA’s overall mission.
Donations to CCUA support all of our programs and outreach in the community.
I want to Sponsor a Row through Planting for the Pantry.
I want to make an in-kind donation (like vehicles, other goods, or services).
CCUA also accepts donations of certain materials and services. If you'd like to make a large gift (vehicle, real estate, etc.), please contact Adam Saunders. If you'd like to donate materials like gardening tools, or seeds, please contact Tony Minnick before dropping anything off at the farm!
I want to include CCUA in my will or estate plan.
Consider CCUA in your will or estate plans. Please contact our Development Director, Adam Saunders to find out more about donating stock, real estate and/or including the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture in your estate planning. Your bequest can leave a legacy of hands-on garden education and good food in our community.
I want to make a donation to Columbia's Agriculture Park.
Help us build the park that will feed this town! You can make a pledge or donation on the campaign website.
I want to visit the Urban Farm.
I want my group of students to go on a field trip at the Urban Farm.
A field trip at the Urban Farm is a hands on, interactive experience that gives youth an opportunity to connect their classroom knowledge to the natural world around them. Educational visits include a farm tour and educational activities. To request a field trip, complete this form, and one of our staff educators will be in touch with you to schedule the field trip. To cover our costs we charge a fee of $7 per student. If this is a substantial burden, indicate on the form that your group is interested in receiving financial aid, grant funds may be available to cover these costs.
I want my group to tour the Urban Farm and learn about CCUA’s programs and impact in the community.
We love to get out and tell our story! To schedule a presentation, please contact Adam Saunders.
I want my group to tour the Urban Farm and learn about gardening techniques.
Our talented team of urban farmers would love to give your group a 45-minute tour at our Urban Farm. We’ve been growing food full time in Columbia since 2009. In that time we’ve had a lot of successes and failures which we’re happy to share with you. These tours are “Pay What You Can” with a suggested donation of $40 for your group. To schedule your tour, please contact Tony Minnick.
I just want to drop in.
Come by anytime! If you’re in the neighborhood you are welcome to walk through the farm and see what is going on.
I want CCUA’s staff to visit my group away from the Urban Farm.
I want CCUA’s educators to provide lessons at my site (school, club, church, etc.), or event.
CCUA’s staff educators can bring a hands on, interactive experience to you! 90-120 minute lessons include indoor or outdoor activities at your site. To request a lesson, complete this form, and one of our staff educators will be in touch with you to schedule the lesson. To cover our costs we charge a fee of $7 per student, if this is a burden inquire with our staff about the availability of grant funding to cover these costs.
I want someone to present to my group about CCUA’s programs and impact in the community.
We love to get out and tell our story! To schedule a presentation, please contact Adam Saunders.
I want someone to present to my group, or at my event about a specific topic (e.g. gardening techniques)
Our talented team has done everything from delivering keynote speeches to small workshops. If you would like to draw from our experience, please contact Billy Polansky. We generally request a speaking fee and reimbursement of travel / meal expenses.
I want to attend an event.
All public events are posted on our Facebook Events Page.If you do not have a facebook account, you can still view the events.
I want to interview someone from CCUA.
I am a member of the media.
To schedule an interview, please contact Development Director Adam Saunders.
I am a student researcher or journalist.
We are happy to help you gather the information and interviews you need for school reports, research papers, and student journalism projects. We ask all students first complete the Student Research Request Form.
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