The concept of farming that was earlier limited to rural areas only has now made its way to the urban population too. Now that people are more aware, they are trying everything that interests them and to grow your own vegetables is indeed interesting as well as a healthy hobby.
Well, whether they do it out of hobby or health concerns, urban farming is nowadays a really popular concept and nobody can deny that.
The process of agriculture is carried out in numerous ways and urban farming is one of them. Urban farming is also viewed as a sustainable method to produce indoor grown fruits and vegetables. The people living in megacities have become farmers by choice with the increasing craze of urban farming.
Now that you have heard about the popularity of Urban Farming, let’s find out what exactly the ‘urban farmers’ do? what are the benefits associated with this practice? and how Urban farming is going to revolutionize the traditional farming method?
What is Urban Farming?
In simple words, Urban farming is the process of cultivation and processing of food in urban areas. It goes with several names like Urban Agriculture and urban gardening. Other aspects that are related to Urban farming is urban beekeeping, horticulture, agroforestry, aquaculture, and animal husbandry.
The purpose of the development and progression of Urban Farming in India can be seen at different socio-economical levels. On one hand, growing your own ‘food’ can prove to be a great decision regarding the lack of abundance of food in the coming years, and on the other hand, urban farming has a direct effect on the earning sources of traditional farmers whose whole living depends on farming.
The practice of urban farming is used to serve various purposes for the human population. Some people belonging to an urban area also consider it as a way of earning extra money, while some people do it to get more direct access to fruits and vegetables.
Urban Farming is a wildly famous concept in the different parts of the globe and the practice has been carried out for a long period of time. In India however, it may be a new concept but various cities in the world have accepted urban farming as a way of ensuring food security.
Ideas for Urban Farming
Urban Farming being an extensive concept involves a wide array of things. It is classified into various types on the basis of the way in which urban farming is carried out. There are the following types of Urban farming practices:
1. Urban Beekeeping
Urban Beekeeping is carried out as a way of extracting and distributing honey. It involves the keeping of bee colonies in the urban area. Urban Beekeeping can be seen as more of a hobby that has great environmental and economic benefits.
2. Animal Husbandry
Animal husbandry is concerned with raising animals in the urban area with the purpose of getting meat, eggs, milk, fiber, etc. There are different residential areas that allow animal husbandry. It includes selection, breeding, and raising of the animals. Animals that are used for this branch of agriculture are chicken, sheep, cows, buffalos, etc.
3. Rooftop Gardens
Rooftop Gardens is of great ecological and environmental significance. It is basically having a garden on the roof of a building. Apart from fulfilling the decorative purpose it also helps in temperature regulation, hydro-logical benefits, recreational opportunities, a way of providing food, etc. It also serves the economic significance.
4. Tactical Gardens
Tactical Gardens is a way of decorating the surrounding with the help of agriculture. It involves some temporary changes in the already built environment for their enhancement and improvement in the surroundings. The idea is generally low cost and goes by various other names like guerilla urbanism, pop-up urbanism, city repair, etc.
5. Street Landscaping
Street Landscaping is a really famous culture nowadays. It is a practice of planting trees and plants at the sidewalks, dividers of the roads, and various other parts of the streets for environmental benefits and also to serve the decorative purposes. It is an environment-friendly and inexpensive way of street improvement.
6. Green House
Green House is of great significance in the agricultural world. It basically serves the purpose of creating an artificial environment for the plants for their better growth and development. The greenhouse is made of walls and roofs that are made of glass which is transparent. The climatic factors in the greenhouse are regulated as per the need of the plants.
7. Forest Gardening
Forest Gardening is basically a way of creating a fake forest with the help of gardening. But this time the trees of the woodland ecosystem are replaced by fruit and nut trees, herbs, shrubs, bushes, vegetables, etc. It is a food production and land management system.
8. Green Walls
Green Wall is a form of vertical gardening in which the vertical built structure is intentionally covered for vegetation. It is carried out by using soil, water, seeds in a vertical growth medium. And since it takes place on the walls hence the name Green Walls.
9. Vertical Farms
It may sound similar to green walls but it is a totally different concept. Vertical farms are made typically by vertically stacked layers. It involves vegetation in a controlled environment that leads to optimization of the plant growth and soilless farming techniques.
The soilless farming techniques are carried out with the help of aeroponics, aquaponics, and hydroponics.
Benefits of Urban Farming
The popular concept of urban farming is growing rapidly among the urban dwellers. With the help of urban farming, the people of city life are now able to grow their own food. Urban farming has not only helped the urban population at a personal level but also contributed to environmental and ecological significance.
While there are numerous benefits concerned with Urban farming correlation with its every type but to narrow it down there are five main benefits of the practice. These are listed below:
1. Food Security
The main reason behind the whole concept of Urban farming is to have an abundance of food. It was first started as a way of getting people fresh vegetables and fruits. It is a well-known fact that food security is of major concern in the different parts of the world. Therefore it not only helps in the present but also has a futuristic approach.
2. Environmental Significance
With the progress in the field of urban farming and agriculture, people are becoming more aware of the environment. Growing plants has always benefitted the environment, therefore, urban farming helps in making our surrounding more environment-friendly and helps the planet by serving various benefits contributing to the good health of our ecosystem.
3. Learning Opportunity
With the help of urban farming, the urban population grows their own food and learn in the process. Farming is definitely an important skill that is of great significance in the future as well as the present. During the whole process of urban farming, people learn about different species of plants and how they are grown, which climatic conditions are suitable for which plants, gardening techniques, etc.
4. Fresh and Nutrient-Rich Food
Urban farming has given us the chance to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for ourselves that are healthier options than the ones that we get from the markets. Apart from fulfilling the food security needs, it also serves the purpose of getting nutrient-rich and fresh food.
5. Efficient Use of Land
There could not be a better use of land than to grow plants. Using the open land for urban farming for economic purposes is a great step ahead towards the development of the country. Apart from serving an economic purpose, it also fulfills the decorative purpose like rooftop gardens, green walls, street vegetation, etc.
Future of Urban Farming in India
Urban Farming is of great significance considering the future. As the population of India is increasing rapidly soon it is going to trigger the scarcity of food. In that scenario, urban farming will be our only option to maintain food security.
Even with little support from urban farming, we can come up with enough food that will fulfill our daily needs. So it kind of removes the dependency on traditional farming.
People who are living in urban areas have little to no control over the quality of fruits and vegetables that they are getting. So with the help of urban farming, they can actually take control of the quality and supply of food provided to them.
Urban Farming has established itself as a great way of ensuring food security. Apart from fulfilling that purpose, it is also of great environmental significance, planting of trees and plants has always been a great step towards the betterment of the environment. With numerous benefits of urban farming, it sends a very clear message that it could be the next big thing in the future.
Even in today’s world various companies are opting for these strategies to become successful. The concept of Urban farming has connected the city dwellers with the sense of nature and it has proved to be of great ecological advantage.
You can also read ” Hydroponic Farming“.