The international vegan animal rights organisation Libera has turned an abandoned park in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, into an inclusive space, economically supported by a vegan restaurant. The area of Mirador Guápulo of Quito used to be a desolated site with many security problems, and because of that citizens used to avoid it. But now it has become a vibrant inclusive park with the vegan restaurant Tandana as its cornerstone. The project is composed of the vegan restaurant that was created in 2016, a cultural centre created a few years later, and now it has finished with the recovery of the park and the development of urban orchards.
The restaurant is one of the first fully vegan restaurants in Quito and promotes responsible practices at an ecological and social level. Nathalia Romero, Head of Communications of Libera Ecuador, said about the restaurant, “the tables and furniture are made of recycled materials, and the products are practically all agroecological and from local suppliers.” The restaurant also organises vegan cooking workshops. The park was renovated by installing playgrounds with recycled materials and turning old walls and graffiti into murals with cultural and environmental messages created by local and international artists.
Pedro Berméo Guarderas, founder and coordinator of this intersectional project, said, “Tandana is a Quichua word. It means gathering, uniting, protecting the unprotected. But the word is not exclusively for humans, but also for other species, such as animals and the environment. It does not discriminate in any way; that is the central vision of this project.” The restaurant’s architecture makes it suitable for people with disabilities. Sandra, a resident, said to Infobae, “I like that the community has completely taken over the park’s space, the murals, the playgrounds… It seems that that park finally belongs to someone. It used to be empty. It’s interesting to see how the interaction with the community managed to do all of this.”