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Making Structures to build resilient communities using indigenous techniques in a contemporary world

Climate proofing food baskets by mapping food bowls in coastal metropolises for a Tasty,Efficient,Inclusive,Sustain Food Systems

Photo of Shubham Karchaudhuri
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Lead Applicant Organization Name


Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Eggsmen Organic Pvt Ltd- Egg farming as a solution for drought affected suicidal farmers Better Foods Food Marketing and Consumption Mapping The Food Truck Association of India - NGO Accessibility of cheaper nutritious food The Bombay Canteen - Restaurant , Indian food and Ingredients THRIVE- Urban Gardening , Landscaping, Apiary Blu Catch - Fishery cooperatives based Social Enterprise Aarey Conservation Group - Indigenous community of the only forest inside a metro city CB Logistics - Cold Chain Logistics from Farm to City, Last Mile Delivery Know your Fish - NGO Fisheries Sagarshakti - NGO Marine Bio Diversity Humane Society International - Animal Welfare Fatsmeagol Collective - Digital Marketing Satayushi Farms- Organic farmer, FBO, Organic Pesticide maker Extinction Rebellion - Environmental Movement Fishing Cat Conservancy- Circular economies and biodiversity conservation Humane Farm Animal Care - NGO ,Integrated Animal Systems, Ethical Treatment & Certification

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Mumbai-densely populated city on India’s west coast. A financial center, it's India's largest city. 4355 km².

What country is your selected Place located in?

India -country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populated democracy in the world.

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Among the 20 cities projected to be the most vulnerable to coastal flooding in 2050 Mumbai is second only to Guangzou, China (Hallegatte et al., 2013). It has the sixth largest ‘at-risk’ assets among all major port cities and by 2070, an estimated 11.4 million people and assets worth $1.3 trillion would be at peril in Mumbai due to climatic extremes, so predicts the OECD study carried out by the University of Southampton. Some of the cities with the most ‘at-risk’ assets now—Tokyo, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Nagoya—will, over the next 50 years,be surpassed by Kolkata, Shanghai, Mumbai - booming Asian coastal metropolitan areas where trillions of dollars in economic assets will be vulnerable (Stutz, 2012).

Mumbai is the financial capital, I have completed my graduation degree to learn to be a chef in this city,my first job was in the city as most companies are headquartered here and it was really helpful start to begin my career. 

I run an NGO here for accessibility of cheaper nutritious food. I know the networks here in the food space ranging from the last mile home deliveries or Modern/General trade to farming cooperatives as well as urban communities; my also gets treated for her cancer in Mumbai as its has the best affordable healthcare for the same ailment.

Mumbai is also the city where I started my own company running food education and farmers markets, B2B and B2C sales of certified organic produce , the proximity to food basket (Under 300 km) and the infrastructures to get investments , ready markets for sales , buyers , creditors, hyper/semi and unaware consumers along with gentrification and urban issues plus my last 9 years (post adult period) in this city makes Mumbai my seconf home after the coastal city of Kolkata which is on a similar downward spiral but lacks the prowess of Mumbai, a potpourri of a multi ethnic professions and climate vulnerability due to sea level rise making it a city that needs to be saved from collapsology.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The number of slum-dwellers is estimated to be 9 million.62% of all Mumbaikars live in informal slums. While its also home to multiple of Asias's richest.The religious groups represented include Hindus,Muslims,Buddhists,Jains,Christians,Sikhs.Native Christians include East Indian Catholics, who were converted by the Portuguese during the 16th century, while Goan and Mangalorean Catholics also constitute a significant portion of the Christian community of the city. Jews settled in Bombay during the 18th century.The development is pushing the tribals of the forests and the fishermen out of business|With a strong culture of fisheries while being a trade and finance hub Bombay has local Maharashtrian (state) food of the middle class.While new corporations and food deliveries have entered altering traditional Portuguese/Jewish/Mughal influences into a food dessert due to high prices. The day laborers have a restricted diet which is carb heavy but not nutritionally balanced. 62%+ of the population is Non Veg|14m above sea level, mild winters, humid summers & acute flooding during longer rains with cyclones increasingly hampering fisheries.Prevalent languages are Hindi,Marathi & Gujarati with English.Huge divides in the economic standing and rising property prices force the city labor to stay at the far corners, traveling hours to reach work for less than a dollar /day wage. Women wake up at 4 AM , not be with their children & cook food for husbands as city food costs are sky high and also go for work.Rampant gentrification (60% of the population stay in slums), Dharavi being the second largest slum in the world.Crops are grown 300 kms away from the city which includes rice ,pulses and a range of 32+ types of vegetables & under 15 types of fruits(Watermelon,Musk Melon, Banana,Papaya,Custard Apple,Mulberry,Mangoes, Passion Fruit,Sugarcane, Pineapple).The women & children don't have access to balanced diets.Malnutrition & anemia is highly prevalent in girl child and women.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Mumbai suffers from urbanization issues seen in fast growing cities in developing countries: widespread poverty and unemployment, poor public health and poor civic and educational standards .Premium land rates, leading to cramped, relatively expensive housing, usually far from workplaces,requiring long commutes on crowded mass transit/clogged roadways spend significant time traveling southward to the main commercial district.

1)The growing size of cities+rate of urbanization is straining the food systems (54.8% of Mumbai are immigrants).Despite that there are severe shortages in farm labor & the small scale farmers are quitting.

2)Inequality of wealth+sluggish economic growth challenging the agricultural sector which employs four fifths of the countries population.Mumbai relies on small agriculture producers: (80% of the food)

3)Malnutrition–undernourishment,micronutrient deficiencies & over-nutrition –presents serious challenges & has the potential to worsen leading to noncommunicable diseases radiating through lower income households affecting  health & welfare systems,thus impacting economy.

4)Natural Resources being depleted by unsustainable agricultural practices-other factors further threatened by climate change. causing acute water shortages(40% by 2030)+agriculture, forestry and other land use adding to global greenhouse gas emissions (of which half comes from land conversion).1/3 of the arable land is degraded with more being washed from heavy rain.Increased food prices by as much as 84% by 2050

5)Geopolitical Dynamics intensifying food insecurity showing highest levels of displacement while emerging political movements are demonstrating nationalist and isolationist tendencies that may impact trade agreements+international collaboration.Massive Volatility in supply & rates for certain commodities will happen despite betterment of infrastructure.

6)Technology impacts will not be evenly distributed. In complement to existing technologies, like mobile platforms, new Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies,GMO, robotics,big data, AI+machine learning will be implemented in small scale farms but the people still won’t have access and the speed of connectivity is slowing down.Gender inequality compounds this challenge: women in rural areas are much less likely to access the internet than men in the same communities.

7)Frequent days of extremely high temperatures+intense rainfal with the duration of these extreme days lasting longer into the month of August.Rainfall combined with the sea level rise, will escalate risks of flooding, and would lead to reduction in availability of fresh water due to saltwater intrusion as well as contamination.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

The percentage of the population that is malnourished has reached an all-time low. Synergistic policies, business practices and social efforts have increased accessibility to nutritious food and decreased the affordability.It has become cool among younger generations in the city to eat a healthy diet,as a result of marketing campaigns and social media; in developing contexts, inclusive economic growth and a vibrant rural economy support access to healthy food,including the critical initial days for cognitive and physical development.In this future climate change is partially mitigated,& adaptive efforts supported, through collaboration and a proliferation of shared best practices.While climate shocks still occur, their impact is absorbed by more resilient food systems.The “mutual benefit” philosophy underlying this country is stewarded by strong civil society institutions & international organizations.In this scenario, more people see technology as a tool in food systems. While the risks of new technologies persist,greater trust and strengthened cooperation mechanisms achieve a careful balance between regulation and innovation. There is greater availability, affordability & adoption of technologies that increase farmers’ productivity,such as satellites; strengthen value chain traceability, through sensors; and mitigate climate change, such through carbon storage.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Social Change:Balanced diets limiting animal-based protein,sugar,salt & fat.Sustainable food demand using indigenous systems with contemporary tweaks.Urbanization having an easier transition and can be more flexible with influx in demand for commodities hyper-locally.

Economic Shifts:Mumbai will engage in cooperative trade of exotic seeds/plants/spices while daily food will adopt more isolationist policies for a carbon friendly logistics.Markets will be more resilient as it would be planned with seasonality & locality in mind.Pricing will capture the externalities of health costs for marginal communities & environmental impact.Trade policies on local markets will lead to an increased number of breadbaskets.

Technology innovators engaged with consumers+influenced acceptance,social media+new education and marketing campaigns will influence consumer demand in transitioning farms.

Environmental Trends: Carbon captured through food for every city to offset the city production while efficiency of supply chain increases. Faster soil health transitions(Less than 1.5 years).Scarcity of water will be mitigated through smart irrigation, evaporation control and covered farming.Fall in energy consumption with chargeable batteries through micro grids will run smaller equipments

Political Developments:Nationalistic governments encourages subsidies.Migration will impact food production but sanctions for the same for basic commodities will be done by the state machinery from states that earlier would produce for the animal feed industry.Decentralized decision-making power will be held by the entire value chain vertically for market rates & the entire production value chain horizontally for decision making, policy demands, production planning & future project financing, funding research+institutions.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Part 1

The system starts with coastal cities using mangrove bio filtration merged with an indigenous technique of Khazan lands created many centuries ago and pre-date the Christian and Islamic occupation of Western Coastal India.Khazan lands have been subjected to planned and contour-integrated topo-hydro-engineering by local communities to produce reasonably sustainable productive agro-ecological and agro-economical systems


  • Salinity tolerant paddy crop is cultivated. The land is considered to be fertile.
  • Paddy coconut palms dot the lands.

Fish production

  • The waters inside the Khazan lands are used by fish to lay their eggs.
  • The area hosts ponds with a substantial fish population.

Salt making

  • Some of the lands are filled with saline water and left to dry.
  • Evaporated water leaves salt on the surface. These lands are divided into pans.
  • Salt is than sold commercially.

The Khazan lands are also considered to be important for recharging ground water levels in the nearby areas.


  • The Khazan lands are former wetland areas which are protected by bunds on the outer side from ingress by the brackish estuarine water.
  • The water flow into the lands is regulated by sluice gates that are operated at the outer bunds.
  • Besides outer bunds, inner bunds  with the help of sluice gates regulate the flow of water into the lands.
  • The bunds and sluice gates need to be regularly maintained.
  • Negligence leads to seepage of water from the estuary. This  leads to increase in salinity of the water inside Khazan lands which destroys the paddy crops.

Adding to same will be circular economy models,using value added products like crab, wild shrimp, oyster and sea weed farming which leads to further filtration and creation of crops.

Part 2

Creation of floating farms which can rise up with floods and uses basics of hydroponics and water hyacinth plant to create beds that can float in high tides and produce ample vegetables from the coast while the land is being converted into arable land from saline land using dikes system seen in Netherlands by slowly push back the water of the building dikes and creating polders(the term used to describe any piece of land reclaimed from water). Once dikes were built, canals and pumps were used to drain the land and to keep it dry.Using windmills as pumps to take out excess water off the fertile soil. in which we grow cash crops like flowers(Tulips) which is going to create additional compensatory income.

Addition of bycatch from the fishing industry to boost the Nitrogen/nutrient content of the soil which is otherwise going to pet food/other industry. This technique has been used in similar formats where sea bird poop in Peru was used to boost soil productivity.

Part 3

3 month resting of the soil to eradicate weeds by tarping the entire land piece and taking out the deepest rhizomes in a no till farming methodology post which nutrition building using rotational grazing from cows which produce manure and urine to increase the microbiome content of the field.Mobile Egg Farming using dynamic electrical fencing and pigs for low cost zonal tilling of clumped soil. As we know grass sequesters carbon faster than trees , we first let the cows graze, then the pigs till, then goats to further graze and then we mulch with waste, then we bring in cage free layered poultry with additional Nitrogen inputs from fishery by catch as mentioned above to not block the land with new age chop and drop nitrogen fixers. 

Part 4)

A Chauka system is a method for harvesting rainwater, typically used in arid areas that are subject to monsoon rains. Chauka comes from the Hindi word for square. The system consists of square shaped embankments. On three sides there are nine inch walls and one side is left open to allow rainwater to fill the structure. As one structure fills, then the overflow fills the next chauka and so on. Retaining the rainwater in this way helps prevent soil erosion and recharges the surface water enabling various grasses to thrive. This has the effect of holding the soil together and, as the chauka system is used mostly on common land, provides grazing areas for cow and goat herds. For this to be effective it is combined with the planting of grass seeds and trees.

This system is widely in use in the Dudu block of Jaipur district in Rajasthan, India. Here a local village development organisation GVNML, working in the area of Natural Resource Management, has been responsible for its uptake among local villages.

Part 5

Dividing the land mass into four bodies of water for 4 different purposes

a)Anna Sagar - Water body for food Crops, b)Dev Sagar -1st back-up of water body, c)Phool Sagar - Water body for cash crops, d)Pashu Sagar- Water body for fodder for the animals. This system coupled with fruit trees on the edges will make a land water proof for 6 years as tested above.

Part 6

Mapping the demand of the city ,block by block by running weekly farmers markets and then transitioning it into a home delivery model to understand seasonal requirements while piggy backing the bulk supply logistics of B2B sales to modern trade outlets in the city of Mumbai.This will allow us to map production post first 4 seasons.The marketing of local food is done with the help of celebrity chefs and restaurants festivals along with digital content creation to first familiarize and then empower consumers to cook at home

Part 7 

Creating farmizen assemblies in every growing district at the local agriculture colleges for direct democracy and cooperative solutions for the prospects of the future. The same farmers need to be a)Journalists b)Data Collectors c)Teachers for city folk coming from farm visits to reinstall the respect which farming presently has.Conflict resolution and facilitation skill training is an inseparable part of this to ensure that decision making is decentralized and mitigation of power can happen. Positions available for every circle of farmizen assembly are i)representatives who represent individual interest groups water/machinery/crop diseases/marketing and ii)facilitators who push individual working groups.Both these positions can have multiple people in the role and has to be shifted every two months.

Part 8

Creating a pathway/river of pollinators through the houses on both sides of long bridges of Mumbai city linking it to the forest on one side of the city to the end of the city and then starting of urban farms once the pollinators have been successfully integrated in the city scape using food waste from local buildings and restaurants we partner up with for the subscription of the produce which is coming from the farms.

Part 9

When attempting to resolve the forecasted and expected problems of the agro-industry in 2050, a system’s thinking approach encourages us to adopt macro-level perspectives, which in turn enable us to consider the agro-industry as a subsystem, operating within multiple other larger systems. The cumulative sum of larger systems entails a holistic vision, that details the structure of the Indian society that we consider necessary to support our Food Vision for 2050. As such, this paper briefly explains the ideal structure of a society operating in 2050, that would enable the overhaul of the current agro-industry to the desired state. We believe that an overhaul of the agro-industry will require, among other things, a reversal of the top-down approach of policymaking that is prevalent in the current systems of governance. While the administrative and logistical support of a central, stable authority will be necessary, we believe that considerable decision-making power and economic resource allocation will need to be disaggregated to enable bottom-up approaches to policymaking. As such, we propagate the concept of a ‘micro-democracy’, where individual constituencies 

1 (or smaller administrative units, if considered necessary) operate with greater independence that the current norms. Taking into account the current and expected advancements made in the field of technology and data analytics, we propose a radical system of e-governance. Essentially, e-governance would require the formalization and institutionalization of current trends already seen in India, such as a fast-growing rate of internet penetration and policy decisions such as Digital India 

2.We envision the creation of unique online platforms associated with each constituency, that enable greater and more efficient flows of information between the government and people. Unique identifiers such as Aadhar 

3. or Voter Identification and technological solutions such as geo-blocking would be utilized to ensure unique accounts for each citizens, belong to the relevant constituencies, in said platforms,thereby allowing us to replicate the process of electoral voting on an online platform designed to enable discussion and free flow of information between citizens of each constituency. Such a platform would enable the constituency-level government units to immediately avail the perception of potential micro-level policies among its citizens, engage in public discussion and feedback, and thereby alter policies to address the genuine issues and recommendations placed by all segments of society in an efficient and transparent manner. As such, a system that enables a true bottom up approach, combined with a systems-thinking perspective, would be formed, with decision making decentralized largely to constituency-level administrative units, which in turn use the online platforms to facilitate discussions and public comments from its constituency members, and ensure consequent allocation of resources in a fair and transparent manner.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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Photo of Trupti Jain

hi Shubham: Good afternoon from Ahmedabad. great work. will love to get associated. we are in water /irrigation/flood control/drought proofing sector. We also applauded your entry. Will appreciate your feedback on our entry ""Antodaya" through Food". , ph: +919825506900, wa: +919825506900, T: @BHUNGROO fb: BHUNGROO , e:

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