Blue Jackalope: An Oasis In A Food Desert

Tuesday, July 21st 2009, 1:06 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Howell,

TULSA, OK -- In the Brady Heights area just west of downtown Scott Smith saw a new opportunity for an old idea, the neighborhood market.

"We live in what has been termed a food desert," said Smith.  "When I see people trudging in all kinds of weather to catch the bus to get to a supermarket anywhere nearby it kind of started my wheels turning."

So Smith opened the Blue Jackalope, a small local grocery and coffee shop catering to the local clientele and featuring locally produced goods.  This is not just another convenience store.

"It's a community store much like our parents had and our grandparents had when they were growing up."

Produce is purchased from farmers markets, meat is supplied locally and there is a sense of neighborhood pride in what Smith is trying to do at the Blue Jackalope.

"I definitely shop at the Blue Jackalope a lot because of the local foods factor,"' said Libby Auld. "They make sure to buy locally and that it's fresh, and it's healthy. That really means a lot to me, I'm feeding this to my family."

Smith is working with the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative to help build local suppliers and support for more local groceries to serve North Tulsa as well as underserved rural communities.  He knows it takes good food to build a better neighborhood and is just now seeing his hard work begin to pay off.

"I can't tell you what a nice feeling it is, how validating it is to have people come in and greet me by name and just become part of their extended family, community-wise," said Smith.