Kansas City, MO — La’Trice Murray, who goes by the professional name ‘Black Farmer Jane’, says she never really had much of a green thumb, until the pandemic struck.
Murray, who travels most of the year as a software trainer for Cerner, found herself grounded during COVID-19.
In search of a hobby, Murray found her new calling.
“From one plant just last year, when I just had this small strip over to the right, full of peppers and tomatoes and cucumbers,” Murray said. “That was enough to provide for myself, my mother, my father, my uncle, my grandmother and several people at my grandmother’s senior living facility.”
Murray realized her humble urban farm could make a serious dent in the city’s so-called “food deserts”, where fresh and healthy food can be hard to come by.
“And that’s if you’re physically able to walk and go get it,” Murray said. “So what about your people who are on SSI? Or sick and shut-in? Or elderly? Their forgotten about. So those people don’t have access to healthy food at all.”
Over the last year, Murray has expanded her operation to include three off-site growing operations in Memphis, Dallas, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
In addition to providing fresh food, she relishes the opportunity to teach others to provide for themselves.
“Whatever you have, even if it’s just a stoop, we’re going to show you what to grow and how to grow it,” Murray said. “So that you can provide for your family and someone else as well.”
Murray hopes to open a neighborhood farmer’s market later this summer.
“It’s going to be a good season,” Murray said.