Myths & Reality
Myth 1: Urban
agriculture means kitchen gardening.
Household and community gardening are an important and a very easy individual based
contribution towards farming.
But urban agriculture is not limited to the individual
houses.It goes beyond that and looks at the food system that feeds millions that live in
Myth 2: Urban agriculture is a
marginal activity or means of survival.
Urban agriculture means good access to food for the
poorest, a source of income and good food for the stable poor, savings, nutritious and
safe food for the middle class and profits for entrepreneurs. For the poorest, it cuts
expenses on fuel and foods that are by far the maximum income spent areas by this group.
Also urban agriculture is central to the citys economy and generates incomes and
jobs within the city.
Myth 3: Urban
agriculture grabs land that could have been given higher price value as rent. It is a bad
Urban agriculture usually utilises land that is either
lying idle or unsuitable for other purposes. Or, it uses land that is allocated for other
uses, thus giving back higher values. Most cities have many unused spaces in the city that
can be made green spaces. In Delhi, vast tracts of land are devoted to lawns. These can be
used for urban agriculture. Lawns are aesthetic, but have no productive value, consume
enormous amounts of water and are mainly for the rich. This passion for lawns has its
origins in British colonial tradition.
Myth 4: Urban
agriculture competes with and is less efficient than rural farming.
The truth is that urban agriculture thrives on products
that are less suited for rural farming and that might be too costly for the urban poor.
Mushroom and broccoli are two such examples.
Myth 5: Urban
agriculture is unhygienic.
Health problems are undoubtedly the most serious
consequence of inappropriately practiced urban farming. Pesticides, fertilisers and
untreated sewage can pollute the urban environment. Farming along the roadsides, where
crops are susceptible to automobile exhaust, can lead to food contamination. However,
appropriate urban agriculture is not harmful, but has the potential to improve hygiene in
the city because it uses polluting waste as a production input.
Myth 6: Urban
agriculture causes pollution and damages the environment.
Urban farming can cause pollution of the soil, water and
air and affect urban areas adversely. The solution is to provide guidance and assistance
to make it a safer industry for farmers, consumers and the environment.
Myth 7: Urban
agriculture is unsightly and aesthetically inappropriate in the city.
Urban agriculture creates green spaces in the city,
replacing vacant or unproductive spaces within the city into green and productive spaces,
while at the same time providing livelihood to the urban poor. If the fields in the rural
villages are considered beautiful, why are plots of vegetables considered an eyesore?
Myth 8: Urban
agriculture is an archaic, utopian concept and cannot be created today.
In the past, western thought nurtured the concept of
garden cities or farming in the city. Of late, "modernity" is equated to
concrete cities. "Urban" is associated with "industrial" and
"rural" with "agricultural". This paradigm shapes the world of today.
That is why urban agriculture has been omitted from urban planning requirements. Farming
has been positioned as an outdated and backward activity, not fit for the modern city by