Advocacy through alternative urban visions for the floodplains of Yamuna river in Delhi to make a case for preservation of farming and associated livelihoods there
For the past years, our team has been busy advocating for the rights of farmers along the Yamuna, as part of Housing Rights Task Force and along with the partners we work with. You can refer to the technical report prepared as part of the Main Bhi Dilli campaign in our Open Source section here. The farming communities, depsite being important contributors to food production in the city, have been facing constant evictions over the past years as parks and biodiversity zones are planned in their place as per the Yamuna Riverfront Development Plan.
We came up with a collective visualisation with the farmers to re-imagine what Delhi's future riverfront could look like where farms are not removed but integrated with public spaces, while also providing food to the city and helping clean the polluted river. What will Delhi 2041 look like? Can we come up with an inclusive vision?
Did you know that one third of Delhi's floodplains along the Yamuna are farmlands? They cover over 3000 hectares of land today in Delhi. To give you an idea of their size, imagine a rectangle roughly 5km by 6km. This is a huge asset to the city for food production and livelihoods that we simply can't afford to lose.
We know through conservative estimates that 20% of the city's vegetables come from the farms along the Yamuna. It was these vegetables that helped keep surrounding neighborhoods food secure during the lockdown when state borders were sealed. Added to this asset are also the farms along the outer edges of our growing city. Can we imagine a future city where more than 50% of the food supply comes from within the city? Isn't that a truly 'smart city'?