Future Columbia agriculture park receives $700,000 grant
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded $700,000 toward the planning, construction and programming of the planned agriculture park.
This is the largest grant or donation toward the park since fundraising started six months ago.
Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture Executive Director Billy Polansky said this grant is a substantial step forward, but the organization will continue to seek donations.
"To date we've fundraised enough for our first phase of construction, but we have a long ways to go. So we need continuous donation and continuous support for the project," Polansky said. "This grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health is putting us in the right direction and is going to get us started off on the right foot."
The farm is expected to be in a 10 acre site at Clary-Shy Park on the western side of Columbia.
It will be a remodeling of a site that has not been used to its best ability, according to Polansky.
"We'll be able to turn that site from an open field into an agriculture park. This will have demonstrations, we'll grow food there for the food pantry and we'll be able to expand the farmers market as well," Polansky said.
According to Polansky, the site will offer around 50,000 pounds of fresh food to the food pantry yearly.
The grant will support Community Food Assessments, capital construction costs, and staff and supply costs for educational programming.
The funding will end summer 2021.