At Cleveland’s Galleria at Erieview, people going to the food court who expect to find only processed, junky food are going to get a welcome surprise — fresh, local-as-it-gets produce for sale.

The Galleria is creating an urban garden in the food court. The glass dome ceiling was never intended to double as the ceiling of a greenhouse, but turns out, it’s perfect for it.

Clevelend.com reports that Vicky Poole, marketing and events director for the mall, put two and two together after she saw a photo of plants growing in the windows of a New York café. The granddaughter of a nurseryman, Poole realized that the glass dome at the mall could be used to do the same thing she saw in the photo — help sustain plant life.

The project that is being called Gardens Under Glass “is meant to be a bold statement about sustainability as well as a novel way to attract more people — and their money — to the mall.”

Not only will mall customers be able to buy the fresh greens, herbs and tomatoes grown at the mall, restaurants in the mall will be able to get a limited amount of food for their menus, too.

I usually avoid malls like the plague, but if I had a mall near me that was willing to try this type of innovative, sustainable project, I’d have a reason to go. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.