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Noocity: a balcony vegetable garden

Imagine vegetable gardens on every balcony and rooftop in every town and city! This is the extraordinary feat of three friends who founded Noocity in 2015, an initiative to bring back agriculture to the heart of Porto, and to all the world’s towns and cities. During Energy Observer’s stopover in Portugal, our film crew went to meet them.

Two men are discussing

In 2007, for the first time in history, the human species became mostly urban. This way of life is increasingly moving men and women away from nature and land cultivation. This is mainly done through campaigns and sometimes at the other side of the world. The food then needs to be transported by sea or by land and it sometimes leaves a totally disproportionate carbon footprint, even though it could be grown locally.

Faced with this issue, it was in 2013 that José Ruivo, Pedro Monteiro and Samuel Rodrigues decided to intelligently use their concrete courtyard in Porto and transform it into a shared vegetable garden. After having tested different techniques, they invented the “growbed” and founded Noocity in 2015. A smart vegetable garden comprising a stackable structure, a flexible container and a capillarity irrigation system.

  • A vegetable garden with 3 chairs in the middle
  • A woman reading a book on a balcony
  • Rooftop Garden

“Noocity aims to transform all unused and available spaces into productive areas and share them with its neighbors and people around it.”

Jose Ruivo, co-founder of Noocity
Two people in the back are filming

Using this system, the start-up wants to allow everyone to grow up to 30 kg of fruit and vegetables per container per year, regardless of whether or not they have green fingers. The irrigation system allows up to three weeks without human irrigation, an ideal vegetable garden for those with busy schedules.

Already present in Europe, North America and South America, the Portuguese start-up hopes to change the facades and roofs of all the world’s towns and cities and thus provide healthy fruit and vegetables to everyone, whilst improving air quality.