Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

University of Missouri Extension-Crawford County receives $250 for artist, farmer rendezvous event

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Maria Bancroft

ST. JAMES—Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) awarded University of Missouri Extension of Crawford County a $250 grant for its artist and farmer rendezvous event project. The check was presented at MRCF’s invite-a-friend luncheon March 7 at MRPC in St. James. This year, the MRCF board reviewed a total of 21 grant applications requesting a total of $5,500 and representing projects in Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties. University of Missouri Extension was one of six projects selected for funding.

Despite interest from the community and tourists for locally grown food, several past attempts to start a farmers’ market in Steelville have not been successful. In the fall of 2017, Turtle Earth Healing and Arts organized a meeting of several interested businesses and individuals, along with MU Extension specialists, to discuss opportunities to expand access to local food, provide a venue for local artists, and create a new social event for the community and tourists. The result was the decision to create a series of Artist and Farmer Rendezvous events in the spring and summer of 2018 to bring together artists, farmers and the community in a unique market style event. The funds from the grant are going to be used to help provide advertising for the events in an attempt to draw more people.

“The Steelville Farmer and Artist Rendezvous project aims to create a meeting space for all farmers and artists to come together and buy and sell local goods,” Lindsey Hethcote, agronomy specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, said. “There are many rural producers in and around the Steelville area, as well as very talented artisans, that are lacking a centralized place to gather and sell their goods. The Rendezvous market will bring a sense of community to local residents, as well as offer an additional tourist attraction for those passing through town and looking to connect with the local culture.”

Other recipients, receiving $250, include:

  • The Ya Ya’s of Belle in Maries County for park and arena improvements,
  • Caledonia Community Foundation in Washington County for village park improvements,
  • Dent County Community Foundation for clean-up and beautification projects,
  • Art Works on Main in Owensville for classroom renovations, and
  • CASA of South Central Missouri for a recruitment event in Maries County.

MRCF is an outgrowth of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) and is an affiliate of Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) in Springfield. The regional affiliate was formed in 2010. Its 12-member board includes representation from each of the eight Meramec counties and from MRPC. Vicki Lange of Osage County serves as president of MRCF.

Currently, MRCF has 59 funds totaling over $1.39 million.

CFO is a public foundation serving the Missouri Ozarks. The foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the region through resource development, community grant-making, collaborations and public leadership. Formed in 1973, CFO has since grown to include 49 affiliate community foundations and more than 3,200 charitable funds totaling approximately $285 million in assets, as of June 30, 2017.

MRPC, in addition to establishing the regional foundation and providing the initial investment to create a grant program, provides staff support to MRCF.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 23, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to MRCF for its grant making efforts or interested in establishing their own fund can contact Maria Bancroft at MRCF at mbancroft@meramecregion.org or by phone at 573-265-2993 Ext. 114.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.

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Photo: Sarah Massengale (left) and Lindsey Hethcote with the University of Missouri Extension accept the ‘big’ check and the real check from MRCF Chair Vicki Lange.