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north tulsa oasis fresh market
Crowd cheers at the grand opening of Oasis Fresh Market in Tulsa. (The Black Wall Street Times)

Today, north Tulsans welcomed a new grocery store: Oasis Fresh Market on 1725 North Peoria. The store had its grand opening at 11am, to a large cheering crowd of citizens who had waited over a decade for a grocery store.

The project, spearheaded by Tulsa City Councilor for District 1, Vanessa Hall-Harper, is the culmination of citizen’s efforts to address north Tulsa’s food desert status.

While a mobile grocery store, R&G Family Grocers, has addressed food insecurity in the area by driving through nearby communities, for the last 10 years there were no flagship grocery stores for north Tulsa citizens. Meanwhile, north Tulsa is defined by the USDA as one of 4000 urban food deserts in the country.

North Tulsa: 10 years without a grocery store

The USDA defines a food desert by the following two aspects: a poverty rate that is greater than or equal to 20 percent — or a median family income that does not exceed 80 percent statewide — and at least 500 people or 33 percent of the population are located more than 1 mile from the nearest supermarket or large grocery store. By those metrics, north Tulsa qualifies as an urban food desert.

While the lack of grocers had been supplemented by stores like QT and Dollar General, both of whom offer a few selections of fresh fruits and vegetables, north Tulsans still faced difficulties in obtaining larger quantities of fresh food for their families. But that has all changed with Oasis Fresh Market.

Oasis Fresh Market’s mission is “to reduce barriers for community residents of north Tulsa to access fresh fruits and vegetables, but our heart reaches so much further than just a grocery store.” The project also includes a tangential non-profit organization, The Oasis Projects, whose mission is “to develop programs to reduce barriers and build bridges for other community needs.” 

Oasis Fresh Market’s regular business hours are Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Follow Oasis Fresh Market on Instagram @oasisfreshmarkets

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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