Sowing Sustainable Cities: Lessons for Urban Agriculture Practices in India
Nitya Rao, Sheetal Patil, Maitreyi Koduganti, Chandni Singh, Prathijna Poonacha, Swarnika Sharma, Parama Roy, Ashwin Mahalingam, Nishant Singh | 2023
Despite growing interest and recognition of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) as a nature- based solution, there is limited empirical evidence in countries like India on its role in reconfiguring goals on environmental functions (such as biodiversity, waste management, water recycling, micro-climate regulation, etc.) and social wellbeing (such as food and nutrition security, gender relations, work burdens, land tenure and community ties). A need to address this gap led to the ideation of the project ‘Urban and peri-urban agriculture as green infrastructures’ ( UPAGrI ).
When UPAGrI started in 2019, the research on UPA in India was thin but growing. However, the practical experience of urban farming across Indian cities is thriving and diverse, built on decades of bottom-up experimentation. Within the landscape of our ever-changing cities, we found vibrant communities-of-practice sharing seeds and knowledge, engaged online influencers discussing composting and water reuse, and stories of farming becoming sites of multi-generational bonding and nutritional security.
This compendium is a collection of 29 such innovative UPA practices from across the different cities in the country. These diverse case studies are loosely categorized into four themes: environment and sustainability; food, nutrition and livelihood; gender and subjective well-being; and urban policy and planning. Written mostly by practitioners themselves, the case studies collectively recognise and celebrate UPA innovations and practices, serving as a repository of lessons for peer-to-peer learning, and demonstrating how UPA can be one of the many solutions towards sustainable, liveable Indian cities.