Dear Colleagues,

As a health system, our mission extends well beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics. Health is made up of so much more than what occurs in a doctor’s office. I was honored to take part in a ribbon-cutting event last weekend that is a great example of how we are improving lives throughout our community.

On Oct. 28, the Columbia Farmers Market hosted a ceremony to celebrate the expansion of the covered space at the MU Health Care Pavilion and the official completion of the pavilion. It was an accomplishment years in the making.

In 2019, the MU Health Care Pavilion at the Columbia Farmers Market opened as a space for vendors to sell their produce and fresh food to our community. Since then, it has been a goal to expand the roofing of the pavilion, because you never know quite what to expect with Missouri weather. Having a completely covered space means so much to farmers and vendors who have had to contend with the heat or rain.

ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion of the MU Health Care Pavilion
It was a pleasure to join members of our community at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion of the MU Health Care Pavilion. The pavilion at the Columbia Farmers Market now has a roof approximately 550 feet long and 60 feet wide.

The ribbon cutting is the culmination of decades of visioning, planning and effort. I learned that the dream of having all the vendors and customers of the Columbia Farmers Market under one roof dates back to the founding of the farmers market in 1980. It is a vision that we are proud to support.

The farmers market serves as a vital connection between people in our city and producers in rural parts of our region. It is a gem and a highlight of our community. In 2022, the Columbia Farmers Market was named the No. 2 farmers market in the nation and No. 1 in Missouri by American Farmland Trust.

Everyone should have access to healthy food and a chance for a healthy lifestyle. This expansion helps encourage even more people to attend the weekly farmers market and alleviates a barrier to getting out and accessing nutritious food.

Columbia Farmers Market was well attended for the ribbon cutting
Despite the chilly weather last weekend, the Columbia Farmers Market was well attended for the ribbon cutting. In 2022, the market had more than 196,000 total customers – its highest total customer count on record!

It really is an incredible opportunity for our community to have access to the nutritional resources our bodies crave and need, because we know the connection between the food we eat and our health outcomes is inextricable. I am so pleased that we have been able to help create a healthier, more vibrant community through our support of the Columbia Farmers Market.


Rick Barohn, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean, School of Medicine