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Two Americas: Urban farmer aims to find solutions to food deserts

Black Farmer Jane
Black Farmer Jane
Peppers in Black Farmer Jane's garden
Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 03, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An urban farm in Kansas City, Missouri, is working to provide fresh and healthy food to people who don't have access to a grocery store.

La'Trice Murray also known as "Black Farmer Jane," converted a small portion of land outside her home into an urban farm during the pandemic.

“Once I was stuck at home and I would personally need to go out and get groceries or wanted fresh fruits and vegetables, I’d realize how hard they were to obtain," Murray said.

Murray's farm is located in the 64128 zip code on the east side of KCMO and is considered a food desert.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as a low-income area where a large number of residents don't have easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store.

The distance from Murray's farm to one market is an 11 minute walk and a 35 minute walk to another market.

Avis Jackson likes fresh vegetables and fruit, but needs to travel to get the quality she wants.

“I don’t want to have to travel to a different neighborhood to get something healthy for myself," Jackson said. "Why can’t I get it in my neighborhood?"

Jackson gets peppers grown on Murray's farm to make her famous salsa.

“Where I live to drive to the City Market, would take me about 20 minutes," Jackson said. "This is five minutes away.”

Murray said in addition to her Kansas City farm, she also has locations in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee.

The urban farmer said her goal is to tackle food insecurity one farm at a time.

“I feel that good food should be accessible for everyone," Murray said. "It shouldn't matter what your income is. You should be able to eat good.”

Murray said she plans to expand her Kansas City farm to include more crops. She said she's willing to help people eager to grow their own food or learn more about urban farming by having them contact her through her Facebook page.