CCUA Puts on “Empty Bowls” Event to Fight Hunger

Mar 20, 2017

"Empty Bowls" is a national event, and this week, Columbia locals were able to get a taste of the event themselves.

The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture hosted “Empty Bowls” on Sunday at the Missouri United Methodist Church to raise awareness of hunger in the community. All of the donations raised will go toward the Planting for the Pantry program. A meal of soup and bread was provided for attendees, as well as a table full of free items to pick up such as postcards and a “Planting for the Pantry Pledge Card.”

Kristin Frazier, the Development Associate for CCUA, was one of many in attendance. She has been with the CCUA for only two weeks.

“I’m very excited,” Frazier said. “I’m going to be helping out with fundraising, and also with getting the CCUA mission out there into the community so that more people know about us and know what we do.”

Before going back to work, Frazier was a stay-at-home mom for several years. However, she wanted involvement with the community.

“I’ve always loved non-profit work. For some reason it touches my heart,” Frazier said.

Frazier said she comes from a farming background and her family has always had a strong interest in healthy eating, which is what the Planting for the Pantry program emphasizes. Planting for the Pantry says it has shared 17,958 pounds of fresh produce with local food pantries since its start in 2013.

The Planting for the Pantry program is a fundraising campaign designed to help cover the cost of the vegetables grown at the CCUA’s urban farm in Columbia.

“All those vegetables then go on to be donated to food pantries around the area to different hunger relief outlets.” Tony Minnick, the Urban Farms Manager for the CCUA, said.

He originally began work at a student farm as an undergraduate.

“I found it to be very contagious working with my hands outside and growing vegetables all throughout the year,” Minnick said. “It’s really empowering to be able to teach other folks about how they farm or garden on a small scale.”

The CCUA partnered with Lee, Derby Ridge, and Paxton Keeley elementary schools. Students handmade the bowls and donated them to the event. Anyone who donated money to Planting for the Pantry was able to take one home.

“We have such a strong, educational focus at CCUA,” Frazier said. “Any time we can work with kids is a good, good thing. And it’s just fun to get out there and create.”