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COUNTING BLESSINGS UNDERNEATH THE SILVER LINING...to salvage the regenerative food system for crafting thriving farmizen communities by 2050

To provide viable means of socio-economical access to secure and nutritive food that not only addresses preferences but also wellbeing.

Photo of Bhagyalaxmi Madapur

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

SJB School of Architecture and Planning, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Other

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

Our team is multi-stakeholder entity composed of the following collaborators: • Producers • Influencers • Consumers • Research institutes • School and college students • Independently working professionals related directly and/or indirectly to the urban food system • Food organization and Water management officials • Policy makers dealing with land, water and food • Agricultural science organizations and universities • NGOs working in the areas of food systems, nutrition, citizen empowerment, organic farming and food education.  

Website of Legally Registered Entity

sjbsap.edu.in

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

  • Just beginning now

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

Bengaluru

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

India

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

Bengaluru

What country is your selected Place located in?

India

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Our team members reside and work in Bengaluru. Some of them are natives of Bengaluru and some of us even though we have been living in Bengaluru from the last 15-20 years, we used to frequently visit Bengaluru from our childhood days. We cherish several fond memories of this beautiful garden city and have witnessed its remarkable growth from being a ‘Pensioners’ Paradise’ to bustling metropolis acquiring the status of IT Capital (Information Technology) of India and hence fondly referred as ‘Silicon Valley’ of India. It is the major hub of $150 billion IT sector and contributes nearly 10% to India's GDP. 

We have been inspired by the movement, "Eat what you grow, Grow what you eat" initiated by Dr. Vishwanath Kadur whose is a resident of Bengaluru. This movement has been widely influential in promoting an urban culture of backyard and terrace gardening among the Bengalureans.

In the past two decades, Bengaluru, the face of India's changed fortunes has changed beyond recognition. Unregulated urban growth is placing ever increasing demands for better livable urban conditions with regard to food, water, energy, housing, transportation, social amenities, employment, etc. Lakes and vast variety of flora and fauna which garnered the city as Garden City are vanishing under the pressures of growth to address the increasing unreasonable demands of rapidly escalating population. This unfortunate scenario is morphing Bengaluru from being the most livable city to a dystopia in the making.

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.

Brief Introduction

Over the past seventy years, Bengaluru, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka famously referred as Silicon Valley of India has transformed from being a non-descript small town into bustling metropolis. Bengaluru is ranked as the most dynamic city in the world and about 80,000SqM of built up area is added per day. Urban agglomeration is on a steady rise with 80% of Bengalureans living in urban district area. The majority of the city lies in the Bengaluru urban district and the surrounding rural areas are part of the Bengaluru rural district. With a population of 8 million in the city limits and about 10 million in the urban agglomeration, it is the third most populous city and fifth most populous urban agglomeration in India. 

Evolution of Bengaluru

 In 1537 CE, Kempe Gowda, a feudal ruler under Vijayanagar Empire established the foundation for Bengaluru's oldest areas which exist to the present day. City's morphology closely corresponds to four distinctive evolutionary phases-the native town (1537-1809); colonial period (1809-1947); science & industry phase (1947-1980s) and hi-tech phase (1980s-till date). Post-independence of India, Bengaluru was made capital of Mysore state and remained capital when the new Indian state of Karnataka was formed in 1956. 

Physical, economic and socio-cultural backdrop 

Bengaluru is located in southern India on the Deccan plateau at 3000ft mean sea level. Due to this high elevation, Bengaluru has a moderate climate throughout the year, although sometimes summer is uncomfortable due to steadily increasing temperature every year. The topology is relatively flat although the western parts of the city are hilly. Bengaluru is that rare large metropolitan area with no prominent perennial source of water. In the 16th C, several lakes were constructed to meet the water requirements. No major rivers run through the city. However, a minor tributary arises within the city and unfortunately carries much of city's sewerage. Currently river Kaveri (located away from the city) provides around 80% of the water supply with 20% provided by two major reservoirs. Ground water occurs in silty to sandy layers of alluvial sediments. 

A demographically diverse Bengaluru has one of the most highly educated workforce in the world (literacy rate is 90%). It houses numerous public and private institutions, organizations and most importantly it’s a leading information technology exporter.

Diverse people represent multi-religious, multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan culture. Majority of the population is Hindu along with smaller percentages of Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, Anglo Indians. City has a very active and vibrant presence of art and related cultural organizations. The diversity of cuisine is reflective of the socio-cultural diversity with a wide and varied eclectic mix of culinary options. It is fondly called as a foodie's paradise owing to its vast variety of foods with a touch of Bengaluru's uniqueness and tradition.

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

710

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

1340000

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

Current (2020) Challenges

Urbanization and the prevailing adverse conditions: 

Population growth and the resulting unscientific urban expansion are phenomenally changing the landscape of the city. Taking the cognizant of the situations that are prevailing in the city, it can be visualized that in 2050 it will be far more diverse in its socio-cultural and economical domains. Bengalureans have limited access and control over the food they consume.Unregulated urban growth is placing ever increasing demands for better livable urban conditions with regard to food, water, energy, housing, transportation, social amenities, employment, etc. As a result, most parts of the urban areas, transition areas and ru-urban fringe areas are witnessing the increased conversion of farming land coupled with unsustainable farming activities and increased flow of untreated sewage from various built areas into several lakes are leading to degradation of the physical environment while creating food security concerns. The constant reduction in the arable land is posing threat for the urban bio-diversity. Increasing demand for food also means a substantial increase in the demand for water and energy. Several Bengaluru's urban farmers farm near the city's polluted lakes and tend to wash the produce in untreated sewer water which is the primary source of water available to them. In comparison with the other key components of the city building, the profound information and understanding with regard to food supply-demand system is highly neglected in the planning, design and policy discourses of the metropolitan area. 

Future (2050) Challenges

Majority of Bengaluru's food equivalences are going to be affected by its multi-cultured social fabric implying the escalated and intensified demand for diverse food varieties. The increase in the per capita income and the resulting unrestricted spending would transform food for many Bengalureans into something more than just the sustenance. In the coming decades, food production is going to be significantly impacted by changes in climatic conditions and unsustainable means of farming. Swift urbanization would have direct bearing on the way food is marketed, purchased and consumed while intensifying the socio-political concerns related to food price upsurge. Inaccessibility to nutritious food, irrational consumption and wastage of food would exert pressure on already strained food system of the metropolitan area. As a major consequence of food insecurity and subsequently inadequate nourishment is bound to result in chronic public health issues while increasing the health care costs. Further,fast forwarded urbanization, increasing population (natural increase and migration), adverse climatic conditions, high transportation costs, etc. would severally impact the cost of food. Increased demand and prices of basic food supplies are not only associated with its availability but also to the degree of accessibility and the ethical utilization of the available food. Food production and consumption would majorly get influenced by the access to quality food and this in turn impacting the public health in general.

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

Our vision "COUNTING BLESSINGS UNDERNEATH THE SILVER LINING...to salvage the regenerative food system for crafting thriving farmizen communities by 2050" accentuates on the need for addressing the growing demands for sustainable, nutritional, affordable and accessible food through proactive and innovative approaches. 

In view of the increasing demands for nutritional organic food and escalating  costs of food owing to the drastically changing climatic conditions, our vision emphasizes on the significance of recognizing the urban and peri-urban agriculture as a farming system primarily contributing to food security and employment generation meanwhile improving the urban ecology of the area. 

In the scenario of antagonistic conditions, our vision recognizes urban agriculture as not only the most viable solution to address the growing food demands in an ethical way but also to generate related socio-economic and ecological benefits. 

Most areas of Bengaluru and the other urban areas in general, do have enormous potential for growing food despite of greater densities. Hence, our vision strongly believes that the approaches, frameworks and methodologies that are proposed with respect to Bengaluru Metropolitan area can be emulated to several other metropolitan areas with contextual modifications and refinement.  

Our vision prophesies the following crucial benefits of urban agriculture: 

Environmental:

Protection of hinterland, opportunities for organic farming, effective management of natural resources (open spaces, vacant lands, degraded land areas, water shed areas, wetlands, etc.), reduction in food miles, controlling pollution & degradation of land, etc. 

Diets:

As the urban agriculture can be practiced at various scales and layers that offers diversity, all the stakeholders have mindfulness regarding the source and consumption patterns while being aware of the value of the nutritious food for well being.

Economic:

Employment and income generation, balanced equation of supply-demand, reduction in food costs as food miles are nominal, etc.

Culture: 

Urban agriculture can be versioned as a form of public space for active involvement in turn enhancing the food security of the community. Numerous possibilities for engaging urban dweller’s interest in active work, recreation and regenerative activities in turn contributing to the physical and mental well being.  

Technology:

Advancing technological innovations can be significantly leveraged to develop efficient and resilient urban agricultural practices.

Policy:

Ecological footprint could be potentially reduced by integrating the agenda of urban agriculture into the comprehensive urban strategy through innovative policy and regulatory framework.

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.

Bengaluru metropolitan area expanding primarily as four distinctive zones; core, wedge, corridor and periphery having dense, mixed use, patchy and ever changing peripheral conditions respectively while influencing the intensity and the type of land use.  Hence, our vision proposes four-zone model that can be formulated to analyze the locations of urban agriculture along with the scope for diverse options, despite the exceptions and the fast dissolving boundaries between urban and rural areas. 

Four zone model to analyze potential locations for urban agriculture: 

1. Core (center & nodes) with highest density: 

Locations: Redevelopment and vacant plots (for temporary use), public parks, unbuildable areas, water front areas, water bodies, rooftops, balconies, etc. 

2. Wedge with high to medium density: 

Locations: Zones wedged between districts, Wedges between corridors and periphery, steep unbuildable areas (steep slopes, river edge, wetlands), military bases, university campuses, solid waste dumps, cemeteries, etc. 

3. Corridors with medium to lower density:

Locations: Along main corridors, transportation networks linked to commercial/residential areas, corridor farming with retail outlets, etc. 

Scope: Interim farming, pollution resistant and low-intensity crops, ornamental horticulture, micro-livestock, grazing, market gardening, vegetables, flowers, etc.

4. Periphery with low and dispersed density (per-urban fringe areas): 

Locations: Efficiently connected fringe areas, Small and medium size farms with favorable landscape features, etc. 

The four zone model presents enormous opportunities for efficient management of urban land to help contain the ecological footprint while offering diverse options and choices. Hence, urban agriculture should be recognized as an appropriate permanent and long term land use. Thus our vision envisages the contributions of urban agriculture to be measured in terms of environmental conservation, food security and economic benefits.

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

Our vision "COUNTING BLESSINGS UNDERNEATH THE SILVER LINING...to salvage the regenerative food system for crafting thriving farmizen communities by 2050proposes to promote a regenerative and nourishing food future of Bengaluru Metropolitan area as described below. 

Bengaluru's urbanization is interconnected with the locations of food production. Hence, supply of food to different areas is an important component of the ecological footprint. An enormous potential can be leveraged for the potential integration of urban agriculture with natural and built environment to help minimize this footprint. These spaces include community lands, public parks, neighborhoods, degenerated inner city core areas, huge campuses, industrial zones, reserved public and private spaces, right-of-way areas (such as railroad tracks, canals, electric power transmission/ natural gas and utility service networks, etc.), areas allocated for other uses such as area along the streets, areas unfit for building activities such as wetlands, steep terrain, buffer areas of infrastructure facilities, water bodies, flood plains and spaces inside, on and around the buildings. 

Details of the vision

Advantages of Urban agriculture in different domains

Ecological:
Protection of hinterland, opportunities for organic farming, effective management of natural resources (open spaces, vacant lands, degraded land areas, water shed areas, wetlands, etc.), reduction in food miles, controlling pollution & degradation of land, etc.
Cultural:
Urban farming can be versioned as a form of public space for active involvement in turn enhancing the food security of the community.
Endless possibilities for engaging urban dweller’s interest in active work, recreation and regenerative activities there by contributing to the physical and mental well being.
Economic:
Employment & income generation, balanced equation of supply-demand, reduction in food costs as food miles are nominal, etc.

Duration of use
Urban farming activities are significantly influenced by the duration of the time that a particular space is available for farming as it cascades on several other related aspects such as types of crops, amount of planning and preparation. Certain important spaces are available either permanently or temporarily as outlined below.

Permanent use:
Certain areas such as steep terrains, water bodies, flood plains, wetlands and stream side are permanently available for urban farming as they are unsuitable for building activities. They should be used for urban farming along with recreational open space activities.
Long term use:
Certain urban areas covering large tracts of land are reserved for eventual non-agricultural uses, but in the interim such lands can be used for farming, biological waste processing, ecologically sensitive recreation facilities, etc. enhancing the environmental balance and generation of economy.
Short term use:
Interim availability of land in tune with the time encourages urban farming.
As the city grows and expands its perimeter, several plots are always available for the short-term farming. Temporary sites are often available for urban farming as redevelopment activities in the old city cores and neighborhoods.

Different possibilities for integrating urban farming with the natural environment (details are in the image attached):
•Agro-forestry
•Horticulture
•Aquaculture
•Livestock
•Others

Urban farming- potential integrations for built and natural environment:

•Inside, on and around the buildings
•Community spaces
•Neighborhood
•Urban waste lands
•Steep terrains
•Flood plains and stream side areas
•Wetlands and water bodies
•Community lands
•Areas along the streets
•Degenerated inner city core areas
•Educational institutions as spaces for community farming
•Reserved public and private spaces
•Industrial zones
•Right-of-way farming
•Women’s Community Gardens

Different techniques for integrating urban farming with the built and natural environment(details are in the image attached):
•Building Integrated Agriculture (BIA)
•Vertical farming
•Steep terrain as green buffer zone
•Aqua-terra farming systems
•Aqua-culture below the city
•Sewage-fed lagoon fisheries

Access to land and tenure
Urban farming continues on land and in water under a variety of legal and extra-legal arrangements through ownership, renting, leasing, etc. as mentioned below (details are in the image attached):
•Farming under permit
•Fiscal rent or lease
•Usufruct rent or lease

Innovative policy frameworks to support urban farming(details are in the image attached):
•Climate change strategies and action plans
•Urban farming and food culture
•Policy framework
•Planning framework
•Community supported agriculture
•Strong community spirit and social cohesion
•Producer organizations

The vision proposes the following reforms

1.Urban agriculture activities would be significantly influenced by the duration of the time that a particular space is available for farming as it cascades on several other related aspects such as types of crops, amount of planning and preparation. Hence, the vision emphasizes that the government should create long-term plans for managing several unbuilt and unbuildable lands that are permanently available for urban agriculture. 

2.Urban areas would be potential platforms for exploring integration of urban agriculture with the natural and built environment through various techniques such as agro-forestry, horticulture, aquaculture, livestock, etc. 

3.Various legal and extra-legal arrangements through ownership, renting, leasing, etc. would be explored as urban agriculture would continue on land and in water. 

4.Resolving land ownership and acquiring appropriate official arrangements would unlock potential spaces for urban agriculture. 

5.Ecological footprint could be potentially reduced if the agenda of urban farming is combined into a comprehensive urban policy. 

6.Different frameworks to support urban agriculture (details are in the image attached): 

•Climate change strategies and action plans

•Urban farming and food culture

 •Policy framework

•Planning framework

•Community supported agriculture

•Producer organizations 

Addressing the people engaged with the food and urban agriculture

Food insecurity and climate crisis are systemic which requires fundamental societal behavioral change. Inhabitants would be made aware of the environmental repercussions of frenetic pace of unregulated development to help address the crisis of the food ecosystem. Educate and train enthusiastic inhabitants to take action by setting up socially conscious farms, retail operations and restaurants, etc. Regularly organizing and visiting periodic farmers' markets is a certain way to directly engage with the farmers responsible for growing the food. 

Strong community spirit and social cohesion: Urban farming for self-consumption and occupation are vital sources of food security. Paying farmers a fair price for their work will motivate them to stick to organic methods. Through several arrangements, consumers can create their own mini farm by renting a certain area of  plot of land on a local organic farm for a certain rent per month and can choose produce to be grown by the farmer. Smart and user friendly app notification can inform the consumer regarding the days of the harvest to help them in personally visiting the farm for harvesting. For this, farmers can convert part of their land to mini-farms. Also, in such cases farmers need not struggle with middle men for selling their produce. Inhabitants need to be more mindful of the consequences their consumerist actions and they should be given an opportunity to buy produce that is both accessible and affordable to achieve holistically sustainable food system that addresses the demands. 


The initiatives such as energy efficiency, high resource productivity and strong policies  envisaged by our vision aid in containing the urban sprawl and would have greater influence in promoting urban agriculture as a significant tool to embolden balanced sustenance of Bengaluru metropolitan area.

Hence, our vision strongly believes that the approaches, frameworks and methodologies that are envisaged with respect to Bengaluru Metropolitan area can be emulated to several other metropolitan areas with contextual modifications and refinement to help realize a network of regenerative, accessible and nourishing food future at both global and local levels. 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Through a friend

Attachments (1)

The urban food system of Bangalore.pdf

This report discusses diverse aspects related to the food system in Bengaluru, as well as the larger context within which this system functions. It focuses on the history and evolution of the city, a range of socio-economic characteristics, as well as on the food system not only in Bangalore, but also at the national and state levels.

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Hi, I want to create a network with you.

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Hi...I am interested for networking. Kindly inform on the means of doing so.

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