Smart Urban Farming Initiative
With the rising population and depleting resources, it is important that all cities become self-sustainable. Delhi with a population of 30.5 million and cropped area of 347.5 ha is not able to cater to this huge population. Fruits and vegetables brought in from neighbouring cities lead to the wastage of humans and nonhuman resources. The above circumstances call for a “grow what you eat and eat what you grow” approach through innovative urban farming design and solutions in a very limited space.
Urban Farming refers to the cultivation, processing and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban settings, including things like vertical production, warehouse farms, community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic facilities, and other innovations. Urban farming will further ensure food and nutrition security, bolster social and political inclusion, sustainability and environment, economic progress and educational awareness on nutrition and food systems.
Under Urban Farming, residents can grow fruits, vegetables, and plants on their terraces if there is enough sunlight available. It would help citizens in avoiding pesticides and harmful chemicals in the food products that they consume on a day-to-day basis, while also increasing the green cover in the city and promoting community living.
Smart Urban Farming Expo 2021
To kickstart a movement toward mass adoption of urban farming in the national capital, the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDC) organised Delhi's first Smart Urban Farming Expo (SuFEX) in collaboration with Urban Gro, the Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE), and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) on 27 and 28 November 2021 at Thyagaraj Stadium, Delhi The expo featured sessions on the new frontiers of urban farming and its associated technical (horti-engineering), business, economic, social, and environmental aspects.
Smart Urban Farming Initiative
Based on the experiences of Delhi's first Smart Urban Farming Expo held in 2021, DDC catalysed a partnership between the IARI and Horticulture unit, Environment Department, GNCTD, to design and launch Delhi Government's Smart Urban Farming Initiative.
The objectives of the Smart Urban Farming Initiative are:
- Citizen engagement in urban farming
- Technology Transfer on urban farming practices
- Knowledge Initiative with impetus on farming needs of Delhi
- Follow–up initiatives for continued citizen engagement and a mass urban food movement
- Fuel the training needs for urban farming entrepreneurship development
- Employment generation through green jobs in various aspects of modern urban farming.
The Smart Urban Farming Initiative was approved by the Delhi Cabinet on 29 June 2022.
The initiative comprises two parts:
- Urban Farming Training workshops: DDC will support the IARI in conducting awareness workshops all over Delhi on urban farming across different socio-economic groups in the city of Delhi through master trainers followed by online support by experts on a weekly basis. These will include 2-day master trainer workshops, and 400 hands-on workshops of 25 participants at a ward level facilitated by master trainers across Delhi. To keep the citizens motivated, after the workshop support will be provided through weekly online sessions to clarify the doubts and discuss the queries of the citizens. 40 master trainers and 10,000 citizens will be trained under this initiative. DDC will also ensure follow-up initiatives for continued citizen engagement through Delhi Environment Protection Committee which will be formed to systematically connect people to this campaign, make them aware and monitor their training. The committee will include representatives of NGOs, RWAs, environmental experts, MLAs and councillors.
- Entrepreneurship training programmes: DDC in collaboration with various industry partners will also conduct the entrepreneurship training programme. 600 workshops of 25 participants each shall be conducted across Delhi aimed at Urban Farming Cluster Development. 15,000 training workshops will be conducted on a cluster basis. This training will be given with a view to raising citizen awareness of urban farming and boosting the creation of green jobs by training youth and women in the field of urban farming, maintenance of urban farming infrastructure, marketing etc. The smart Urban farming initiative will play a vital role in transforming the urban landscape of Delhi. Delhi will witness a sharp rise in its green cover and public participation will help take the movement forward. The programme aims to raise citizen awareness of urban farming and to boost the creation of green jobs in Delhi.