Go Local with Chelsey Simpson from Urban Agrarian

For the whole of July, we’re on a trend. So everything that we will be talking about on the podcast this month will be based on the theme of independence through personal choices.

Today, we’re talking about buying local, and we’re very excited to have Chelsey Simpson joining us as our guest on the show. Chelsey will be talking to us about the stores she co-owns, about what goes into sourcing the very best local produce, and about her motivation for doing what she does.

Urban Agrarian

Chelsey is a local business owner in the Oklahoma City area. She is the co-owner of Urban Agrarian, a fabulous, non-traditional grocery store that stocks primarily locally sourced items and products.

Locally sourced products

For most of the Urban Agrarian’s twelve-year history, just about a hundred percent of everything sold in its stores has been sourced locally, in Oklahoma. Due to the pandemic, however, Chelsey and her partner have more recently expanded its line to include some nationally sourced products.

The Urban Agrarian is a small grocery store

Both Urban Agrarian stores are small, with each of them measuring about a thousand feet. That puts them in a situation that’s a little different from most other grocery stores, which are usually a whole lot bigger. However, Chelsey explains that they are still a traditional grocery store in that you can go in there to buy your bread, milk, eggs, steaks, tortilla chips, snacks, as well as a whole lot more wholesome products.

A win-win situation

For many people, finding a grocery store that focuses on stocking the kinds of locally- sourced foods and items that they would prefer to have in their diets and their homes is truly a win-win situation.

Thinking beyond local

Chelsey explains that at the Urban Agrarian, they try to curate things, and think about everything beyond the simple notion of the store being local. They prefer to talk and think about it in terms of the store being source-verified. And they feel that they are in a position to do that because they know almost everyone who makes or grows the things that are stocked in their shop personally, by their first names.

Individual sourcing involves a lot of work

It takes a lot of work to source each item in the store individually, and it is not the way that most regular grocery stores work. Most of the grocery stores rely on national distributers to supply them in bulk with whatever they might need.

The Urban Agrarian is a food hub

The Urban Agrarian serves not only as a grocery store but also as a food hub. The term “food hub” describes that the Urban Agrarian is doing the aggregating and sourcing of their products, as well as curating products for their customers. That means that they go to the trouble of sourcing all the best quality local products, and then they bring them to one location for the convenience of their customers.

Grass-fed beef from BF Farms

One of the products carried by the Urban Agrarian is the grass-fed beef, supplied by Jane, Doug, and their family, from BF Farms in Oklahoma. They all speak very proudly of the hundred-year heritage that the family has on their farm, and about the great quality of the meat that they supply.

High mineral content

Jane and Doug have explained that the land they own in north-central Oklahoma has very high mineral content. And the high mineral content has promoted good grass growth, which adds even more nutritional value to the beef and lamb that they sell.

The Urban Agrarian is in close partnership with BF Farms

When the Urban Agrarian store was being built, Chelsey and her business partner partnered closely with BF Farms. Some wood from an old barn on the farm was used to create a dropped ceiling in the store.

The effect of the pandemic

For safety reasons, due to the pandemic, the Urban Agrarian stores are closed presently to walk-in customers because the size of each store is small. So their products are only available currently from call-in orders.

Placing a call-in order is very easy 

It is easy to make a call-in order at the Urban Agrarian. And once you have ordered what you need, you can simply drive up and have your order delivered to you at the curb-side. It is very easy, and it’s also contact-free.

Links and resources:

Urban Agrarian

BF Farms

Find a Farmers Market Near You, from PBS 

Know Where Your Food Comes From