Urban Agriculture

Home/ Urban Agriculture
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSGA2EL4114

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Anna Zimmer

Email of course coordinator: anna[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in


Some space on land or terrace on the campus to practice urban agriculture with the students, required tools, seeds, watering facility.


Urban Agriculture is a course that is relevant for students interested in exploring the interface between seemingly rural agricultural practices, and urban societies and space. The course aims at critically exploring urban agriculture in the Global South as well as Global North. After introducing students to the field, and to the situation of traditional urban agriculture in Delhi, the course debates household, societal, and city-level dimensions of urban agriculture through case studies from around the world. A final module brings the learnings to bear on recent developments in Delhi.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Students will have built a critical understanding of Urban Agriculture in its diversity and be familiar with key authors in the field
  2. Students will be able to analyse actors, discourses, practices, and outcomes of Urban Agriculture
  3. Students will have developed a critical ability to engage in debates on urban/rural dichotomies, and Global North/South dichotomies
  4. Students will have raised self-awareness about their relationship to agriculture and physical work
  5. Students will have applied research methodologies taught in previous semesters to engage with urban agriculture actors in Delhi

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:



This module will familiarize students with the definitions of UA and its different types. It will also give a brief overview of the historical dimension of UA in India.

2.The household level dimension: nutrition, income, and meaning


This module addresses four core motivations for practicing urban agriculture: It starts with food security and income generation, and then focuses on food safety as well as meaning making.

3.Societal impacts of Urban Agriculture

This unit will critically examine the benefits that the academic literature has identified in relation to the term “community”, or to larger societal concerns.

4.The urban dimension: between planning and insurgent politics

This unit will explore how UA speaks to larger concerns of city making. It will discuss the planning perspective as well as critical perspectives on the right to the city.

5.Shifting identities, political economy and politics: UA in Delhi


This last unit will problematize recent developments of urban agriculture in Delhi. Finally, the module will explore if there are urban politics in Delhi that are framed through UA projects.

6.Practicing Urban Agriculture


During this module, students will build a small university organic vegetable garden, and tend it with support of the existing gardeners. The aim of this unit is to make learning an embodied experience, where students can practice action research.


Assessment Details with weights:

Students will be assessed in continuous assessment mode on the basis of their engagement with the educational resources (combined: 20%), and through a reflection on the gardening project (15%). The mid semester assessment will require students to conduct interviews with Delhi’s emerging actors in the field of Urban Agriculture (30%); the end semester assessment will consist of a final examination (35%).

Indicative reading list:

  • Blomley, N. (2004): Un-real estate: proprietary space and public gardening. In: Antipode 36(4), 614-641.
  • Cook, J. et al (2015): Re-conceptualizing urban agriculture: an exploration of farming along the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. In: Agriculture and Human Values, 32, 265–279. DOI: 10.1007/s10460-014-9545-z
  • Covan, T. (2018): The Urban Village, Agrarian Transformation, and Rentier Capitalism in Gurgaon, India. In: Antipode 50 (5), 1244–1266. DOI: 10.1111/anti.12404
  • Follmann, A. & V. Viehoff (2015): A green garden on red clay: creating a new urban common as a form of political gardening in Cologne, Germany. In: Local Environment, 20(10), 148-1174, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2014.894966
  • Hovorka, A. (2006) The No. 1 Ladies' Poultry Farm: A feminist political ecology of urban agriculture in Botswana. In: Gender, Place & Culture, 13(3), 207-225, DOI: 10.1080/09663690600700956
  • Kurtz, H. (2001) Differentiating multiple meanings of garden and community. In: Urban Geography, 22:7, 656-670, DOI: 10.2747/0272-3638.22.7.656
  • Mougeot, L. (2000): Urban Agriculture: Definition, Presence, Potentials and Risks, and Policy. IDRC: Cities Feeding People Series Report 31. Retrieved from: (16.03.2019)
  • NAAS (2013): Urban and peri-urban agriculture. Policy Paper No. 67. National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi. Available at: (05.04.2019)
  • Narain, V. (2009): Growing city, shrinking hinterland: land acquisition, transition and conflict in peri-urban Gurgaon, India. In: Environment & Urbanization 21(2): 501–512. DOI: 10.1177/0956247809339660