Galeria Katowicka's Urban Farm - an idea that bears fruit

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2023-08-17   16:08

Activities for the benefit of local communities, investments in improving the quality of urban space, pro-environmental initiatives - shopping centres pursue those in the area of corporate social responsibility on a par with their financial objectives. The Galeria Katowicka, managed by Apsys, has once again set up an Urban Farm in the very centre of the city, and is distributing the crops to local residents.

Awareness of each company's impact on society inspires actions towards creating sustainable places that are in dialogue with the city and the inhabitants. In the case of Apsys, this is part of the ESG policy adopted, moving with the times in defining the non-financial objectives that shopping malls have. Today, it is difficult to identify them with their commercial functions alone - they go so noticeably and widely beyond them. This approach is bearing fruit in many ways - an example of this is the Urban Farm being cultivated in the centre of Katowice, which, in addition to yielding crops, is bringing about something more: it is greening the centre, building relationships, inspiring and educating.

Ecology, urban planning and slow life in one

Urban gardening is hitting fertile ground - city dwellers are looking for a substitute for nature in urban space, changing habits and lifestyles, increasingly appreciating seasonality, localism, healthy food or slow life. To meet them, Galeria Katowicka transplanted the global trend of urban gardening to its backyard in 2021, when it first landscaped the square next to the centre with wooden boxes, tonnes of soil and seedlings of ornamental and edible plants. The Urban Farm, which blossomed before the eyes of the citizens of Katowice, was accompanied by workshops and meetings with experts who shared their knowledge about growing and caring for plants. The finale of the campaign was a harvest - vegetables, fruit and herbs were given to the residents by the Gallery. The project showed that it is possible to build a green enclave in the very centre of the city, to develop environmental awareness, and to involve residents and customers in more than just pro-sale actions. Among other things, Galeria Katowicka was awarded gold in the PRCH Retail Awards 2022 for its Urban Farm.

"In one action, we have managed to combine ecology, responsible management, building relationships with the local community and having a positive impact on the urban space. The Urban Farm is one of many undertakings that are part of the ESG strategy adopted by Apsys and embody the values close to us," says Anna Szczerkowska, marketing manager of Galeria Katowicka.

The campaign is maturing, growing and budding

In 2023, the Urban Farm returned to the square in front of the Gallery, enriched with new solutions. Some of the boxes were put outside the fenced area of the farm so that passers-by could watch the plants mature up close. The irrigation system has been automated and is as sustainable as possible, using harvested rainwater. Once again, Katowicka is part of the foodsharing concept, sharing the harvest on a daily basis with, among others, a hotel operating in the neighbourhood. It distributed 350 packets of vegetables, fruit and herbs to residents as part of the first of its planned harvesting events, which took place in July. The next harvest festival will already take place in August.