A mall's green oasis: nurturing inclusion and sustainability

Klépierre & ACIP

If you had to list all the benefits of an urban garden, could you do it?

After discovering the paradise of urban gardens in the cities of Porto and Guimarães, surely new benefits come to mind!

The Parque Nascente and Espaço Guimarães shopping centers, which are part of the Klépierre European leader in shopping centers, have started a project in collaboration with the ACIP institution as part of their Act4Good policy, which is a result of their commitment to people, nature and the communities that surround them. 

Noocity garden

“Produce local and sustainable food.”

“This partnership, more than vegetables, cultivates emotions, memories, social inclusion and solidarity”. These are the words of Eduarda Lima, head of the Communications and Marketing Department at ACIP – Ave Cooperativa Intervenção Psico-Social, C.R.L., which aims to promote the social inclusion of children and adults with disabilities.

It’s not every day that you find an urban garden in a shopping center. Leonardo Sousa, Technical Director of Espaço Guimarães, explains that they wanted to encourage the city’s inhabitants to “grow and produce local and sustainable food”. Since it was installed in September 2021, the urban garden has found its place and attracted a diverse audience, including children and adults from the ACIP institution.

The story is a little different at the Parque Nascente shopping center, since the urban garden was initially dedicated to production and later the involvement of members of the ACIP institution emerged. However, as Joana Rocha, Director of the shopping center, explains, “we were very satisfied with the collaboration and the way the urban garden project was working and we thought we should take a step forward: this is the natural evolution of the project!”.

In this way, recently they developed a partnership with ACIP on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, during which members of the institution got involved. Joana adds that: “this is a great opportunity to implement an important part of our social responsibility policy and a way of drawing visitors’ attention to the importance of social inclusion.”

For ACIP, social inclusion and eco-responsibility go hand in hand, and the animations featured by Noocity Ground Yourself Program have an educational, human and therapeutic reach. In addition to the laughter and the connection with nature, Eduarda Lima mentions in particular the “development of sensory stimulation, the promotion of oculomotor coordination and social participation” that these collective moments promote.

Behind the animations led by Noocity growers André Virgilio and Lurdes Silva, charming stories enrich the project. As the head of ACIP’s Communications and Marketing Department says, when the institution’s members harvested the largest cabbage on record, as well as tasting and enjoying for the first time a meal that included beet, spinach and edible flowers of the vegetable garden.

“Truly unforgettable moments shared by everyone, which allow us to connect with nature.”

“From the vegetable garden to the table at our residential home, an activity and training center for inclusion in Vila Nova de Famalicão and Lousada, all the harvests come in. With the varied harvests (peppers, stevia, chives, tomatoes, cabbages, leeks…) we create recipes (juices, teas, salads, quiches, snacks, lunches, desserts…) that are included in our daily menu,” explains Eduarda Lima.

At Parque Nascente, the future is also destined to show that they are more than just a shopping center. Joana Rocha reveals that the vision is “to keep this project alive over time, to add more people and ideas, so that it evolves. What started out as an urban vegetable garden will gradually become a symbol of the shopping center, a sign of the commitment of the city’s people and companies to healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.”

The partnership between ACIP and Espaço Guimarães has been described as “positive and rewarding” by Leonardo Sousa, who has announced the launch of a new project called ‘Hearts without barriers’.

These partnerships make us think about tomorrow, the one we are all cultivating. A tomorrow in which vegetables grow anywhere in cities, strengthening human connections and the roots of the future!

Ground Yourself Program

A transition program
centered around a community garden.

Find out how the Noocity’s Ground Yourself Program helps your company with starting the ecological transition.

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