A local urban farming organization held an "Empty Bowls" fundraising event on Sunday to help support local urban gardens and raise awareness about food insecurity in Columbia.

The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, which hosted the event at Missouri United Methodist Church, grows food for local food pantries in Columbia and educates people about growing their own food.

People who donated at the Empty Bowls event received a handmade bowl crafted by student artists from the Missouri University Clay Klub and Access Arts. Those who attended the event were able to join in a community meal to raise awareness for hunger.

The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture grew 17,000 pounds of produce in the past year, which it donated to local food pantries, said Adam Saunders, a volunteer for the organization.

Baby kale, spinach, lettuce plants were also handed out at Sunday's event.

"We envision a community transformed by good food for all," said Kristin Fraizer, one of the event's organizers.

Half of the donations from Sunday's Empty Bowls event will go to growing food for Columbia's food pantries. The other half will be split between education outreach and an endowment fund to support the group in the long term, said Fraizer.

Over 350 people attended the event according to a count by the organizers.

"I think it went really well. A lot of people got some beautiful bowls and ate some great soup," said Fraizer.

Supervising editor is Gary Garrison.

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