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Introducing the Eco Village: A Cleveland Mall that takes the notion of a food court to a new level.

When Vicky Poole, marketing manager at Cleveland’s Erieview shopping mall, was thinking about how she could rebuild and reuse the abandoned space in the mall’s glass-enclosed galleria, she had green on her mind, and it wasn’t money.

With a grant from Cleveland’s Civic Innovation Lab, the ‘Gardens Under Glass‘ project has turned the mall’s central atrium into an urban garden and farmers market. The project, bolstered by artificial light and a hydroponic system (growing plants without soil, using the ions in water) sells flowers, herbs, peppers, lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes, supporting the lofty goal of getting all Cleveland residents to eat locally.

The Gardens Under Glass creators hope to reinforce recent studies which have claimed that, with smart use of resources, rural Cleveland can avoid importing produce. The Eco Village is also encouraging green-minded businesses to reclaim the space, and stores that offer recycled products, vegan restaurants, and renewable energy companies are all looking to set up shop.

[via Grist]

—Marley Gibbons

Photo: Gardens Under Glass