This article is presented in partnership with MU Health Care.

A low fog hung over Columbia as the first trucks, vans, and trailers pulled up to the University of Missouri Health Care Pavilion on the morning of July 6, 2019. It was the first Farmers Market held at the newly constructed Columbia Agriculture Park.

The Agriculture Park is located in ten-acre Clary-Shy Park, which was the former home of the Farmers Market before construction started. The vision of this project, a public-private partnership, was to create a versatile community space that could feed Columbia families, educate citizens about food and agriculture, and provide a resource for people in need.

Part of MU Health Care’s mission is to partner with the local community to make Boone County the healthiest county in the state. With that in mind, getting involved with the Columbia Agriculture Park was a natural fit.

“When we learned of the chance to join in this project, it was clear that it aligned with our mission to save and improve lives,” says Jonathan Curtright, MU Health Care CEO. “We all share a common goal of improving the health of our city, state, and beyond, and supporting the farmers market is a way to give back to the community we serve.”

Recognizing that the health of a community goes beyond what happens in a doctor’s office, MU Health Care pledged a lead gift of $495,000 to be named on the Agriculture Park’s main pavilion, which is the most prominent structure in the park. Their commitment helped make the park a reality, which in turn helps Boone County residents get access to the nutrition they need, which plays a key role in their overall goal.

“Everyone should have access to healthy food and a chance for a healthy lifestyle,” says Jonathan. “This bright and open agricultural park will attract vendors with the freshest and healthiest resources.”

To learn more, visit or