Columbia Farmers Market

History

Columbia Farmers Market is a year-round producer-only farmers market! Shop local, with everything produced within a 50-mile radius of Columbia! Over the past few years, the Columbia Farmers Market has experienced tremendous growth. With the opening of Columbia's Agriculture Park, Saturday customer counts regularly surpassed 4,000, and the vendor membership expanded to 85 local farmers, producers, and artisans. The market is deeply involved in the community, regularly hosting musicians, artisans, non-profit groups, educational opportunities, and many other special events.

Timeline

1980

· Columbia Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Committee and the University of Missouri Extension Service sponsor the Columbia Farmers Market’s first year of operation.
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1986

The Department of Agriculture recognizes CFM as one of the most successful markets in Missouri.
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1991

The fairgrounds are sold, and all buildings go to the highest bidder. CFM temporarily moves to the Parkade Plaza parking lot. Supporters of CFM begin to envision a permanent site and building.
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1999

Sustainable Farms & Communities (SF&C) was created to act as not-for-profit fundraising entity on behalf of Columbia Farmers Market.
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2008

CFM began accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Access Program).
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2010

Columbia Winter Market opens at Rockbridge Christian Church, allowing farmers and growers to bring local products to market on Saturdays through the winter months.
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2011

Columbia Winter Market outgrows its winter location, and relocates indoors to Parkade Plaza.
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2013

CFM hires a full time Market Manager/Executive Director to oversee market operations, grow programming, and cultivate community connections.
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2014

· M held the first Annual Farm to Table fundraiser dinner at Blue Bell Farm.
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2015

The Good Food Detectives Program begins and weekly children’s activities are offered at CFM.
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2016

CFM, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, SF&C, and City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department form Friends of the Farm and begin planning a farmers market pavilion and agriculture park.
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2017

Friends of the Farm begin fundraising for Columbia’s Agriculture Park. MU Health Care donates $495,000, receiving naming rights for the new four-season farmers market pavilion.
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2018

Construction begins on Columbia’s Agriculture Park and CFM temporarily moves to Parkade Plaza’s parking lot.
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2019

Phase 1 of the construction of Columbia’s Agriculture Park is completed, and CFM moves into the new MU Health Care Pavilion.
Read more

2020

CFM celebrates its 40th anniversary.
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1980

  • Columbia Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Committee and the University of Missouri Extension Service sponsor the Columbia Farmers Market’s first year of operation.
  • A few local growers join together to sell produce at the former Boone County Fairgrounds (now the home of Clary-Shy Park, the Activity and Recreation Center and Columbia’s Agriculture Park).
  • The farmers market opens every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

1981

  • The market is officially organized, and named Central MO Direct Marketing Association with 15 full members, and 64 daily vendors participating.
  • The Boone County Fair Board rents its youth building—built by the Kiwanis Club—to the Columbia Farmers Market.

1985

  • The Columbia Farmers Market (CFM) expands the youth building with funds provided by the Kiwanis Club, and steadily grows during the 1980’s.

1986

  • The Department of Agriculture recognizes CFM as one of the most successful markets in Missouri.

1991

  • The fairgrounds are sold, and all buildings go to the highest bidder. CFM temporarily moves to the Parkade Plaza parking lot. Supporters of CFM begin to envision a permanent site and building.

1995

  • The City of Columbia buys the old fairgrounds as part of a long-range plan to build a recreation center for the community.
  • CFM moves back to the “old fairgrounds”, and resumes as an open-air market.
  • CFM negotiates a 3-year lease with the city.
  • The market board comes to the Columbia City Council to present a vision for a permanent site and building at the old fairgrounds.

1997

  • A model of a future market structure is presented to the public for input and consideration.

1998

  • The city renews the market’s 3-year lease.

1999

  • Sustainable Farms & Communities (SF&C) was created to act as not-for-profit fundraising entity on behalf of Columbia Farmers Market.
  • Consultant hired to facilitate building design.
  • Community Participatory Process meetings held to gain input on topics from the need for a commercial kitchen to stall size and market configuration to create written program that would be used by architect to develop building plans.

2000

  • Representatives from CFM and SF&C select qualifications for an architect for a market shelter. In February, a request for qualified applicants is advertised.
  • Architects was hired to hold design charrette, design and render plans

2008

  • CFM began accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Access Program).
  • Due to the recession, plans for the farmers market pavilion were put on hold.

2009

  • Awarded $57,251 through the Farmers Market Promotional Program Grant (FMPP) to support farmer/vendor business education and expansion, increase the effectiveness of the market manager, increase accessibility to and diversity of the market, and to promote the availability of an existing EBT system at CFM to area residents.

2010

  • Columbia Winter Market opens at Rockbridge Christian Church, allowing farmers and growers to bring local products to market on Saturdays through the winter months.
  • Awarded $26,591 through Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to provide an indoor winter market for vendors, which will enable them to expand their income while offering a selection of local, fresh, healthy specialty crops to the consumer.
  • SF&C created the Access to Healthy Food SNAP and WIC matching program, which doubles farmers market food purchases for low income families.

2011

  • Columbia Winter Market outgrows its winter location, and relocates indoors to Parkade Plaza.
  • CFM opened a Thursday afternoon market at the Forum Christian Church.
  • Awarded $41,791 through FMPP to expand its existing EBT program to residents of an urban food desert by providing transportation to CFM and by advertising.

2012-2015

  • CFM receives one AmeriCorps VISTA worker per year to assist with building activities.

2013

  • CFM hires a full time Market Manager/Executive Director to oversee market operations, grow programming, and cultivate community connections.
  • CFM created a rigorous vendor inspection program, requiring all vendors to be inspected before selling.

2014

  • Awarded $97,931 through FMPP to expand sales by enhancing marketing strategies and collaboration.
  • Awarded $12,994 through SCBGP to implement a youth education program to improve the healthy eating habits of children, and to promote CFM as a routine and reliable source of specialty crops.

2015

  • The Good Food Detectives Program begins and weekly children’s activities are offered at CFM.
  • Columbia voters renew the City Park Tax, earmarking $400,000 for improvements to Clary-Shy Park.
  • City planners and CFM leaders begin discussing improvements to Clary-Shy Park.

2016

  • Awarded $26,441 through SCBGP to continue a youth education program at CFM.
  • CFM, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, SF&C, and City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department form Friends of the Farm and begin planning a farmers market pavilion and agriculture park.
  • Friends of the Farm hires local architect firm to render new site plans.

2017

  • Friends of the Farm begin fundraising for Columbia’s Agriculture Park. MU Health Care donates $495,000, receiving naming rights for the new four-season farmers market pavilion.
  • CFM signs a 35-year lease with the City of Columbia for the use of the MU Health Care Pavilion.
  • Ranked Best Farmers Market in Missouri in Clean Eating Magazine’s Top 50 Farmers’ Markets in America.
  • Through federal funds, CFM starts offering a second SNAP matching program, Double Up Food Bucks.

2018

  • Construction begins on Columbia’s Agriculture Park and CFM temporarily moves to Parkade Plaza’s parking lot.
  • Awarded $50,000 through SCBGP to develop a marketing campaign to promote locally grown specialty crops at CFM within Columbia’s new Agriculture Park.

2019

  • Awarded $28,775 through SCBGP to establish a cooking demonstration program and develop relationships with mid-Missouri chefs.
  • Phase 1 of the construction of Columbia’s Agriculture Park is completed, and CFM moves into the new MU Health Care Pavilion.
  • CFM began offering three markets a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

2020

  • CFM celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Columbia Farmers Market

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