Practicing urban agriculture (UA) is also a very efficient way of managing open lands in urban areas. It utilizes the “idle” spaces under public possession or those landed properties that are not suited for building purposes. Lands that can have an interim use while awaiting the assigned development within a city or in the periphery and community lands and open spaces around households that can be utilized for vegetable or ornamental plants cultivation (often as a past time or for aesthetics), thus bringing value to the otherwise unused land, even if it is of a temporary nature, thereby, contributing to the city’s economy. By doing so, UA reduces the public costs involved in land maintenance and simultaneously yields benefits from the productive use of land. Properties in Kerala
and that too in the prominent urban areas are now being managed in similar manner.
There is also a belief that there can be a major reduction in the cost of food production from the savings on refrigeration and trucking, which is not required if perishable food is grown within a short distance from the prominent residential areas. Besides, the entry of lesser number of trucks into the city areas also will result in significant savings in energy and a reduction in air pollution from motor vehicles. Lesser number of vehicles will reduce the pressure on the city’s infrastructure and the maintenance costs will always be lower. Therefore, the positive externalities arising from UA can be summarized as:
The improvement in the air assimilative capacity
The use of recycled bio-degradable wastes that helps in reducing the solid waste management costs and at the same time helps in enriching the soil
The use of liquid wastes after an initial treatment
Economic use of valuable under-utilized urban land
Enhancement of the aesthetics of open areas used as lung spaces within cities.
Thus, the prominent cities of Kerala, in their quest for management solutions, are looking upon urban and peri-urban agriculture as a panacea for many of their urban ills. Hence urban agriculture, of late, is being recommended as a good management practice for the cities in the state, to bring about social and economic changes and physical improvements in the environment.