Patterns of urban foraging in Bengaluru city

Somesh, Dhruthi and Rao, Rohit and Murali, Ranjini and Nagendra, Harini (2021) Patterns of urban foraging in Bengaluru city. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 57. pp. 1-12. ISSN 1618-8667

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Urban foraging is widely prevalent globally, and can provide foragers benefits like additional income and nutritional supplements. However, urban foraging is largely understudied and we have little information on types of species foraged, patterns of foraging, socio-economic profile of foragers, and impact of urbanization on foraging. In this study, we aimed to identify patterns of urban foraging in one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bengaluru in India. Our specific objectives were to identify a) the foragers b) species foraged and foraging sites c) impact of urbanization on foraging and d) the barriers to foraging. We collected our information through semi-structured interviews with residents from four sites selected across a gradient of urbanization. Sixteen per cent of the respondents reported that they foraged, most of who were women (97%) belonging to socially (90%) and economically (81%) disadvantaged groups. Seventy-six species were foraged across the four sites for food (76%), medicine (26%), and cultural practices (18%). Foraging occurred in unused land (32%), parks (32%), farmlands (12%), native villages (12%), nearby woodlands (9%) and home gardens (3%). We found significant differences in foragers along a gradient of urbanization (chi square = 34.56, p = 1.5 × 10-7, df = 3) with most foragers at the least urbanized site (40% of the respondents) and least foragers at the most urbanized site (2% of the respondents). Lack of knowledge of foraged species (66%) and lack of access (55%) were the biggest barriers to foraging. Our study demonstrates that foraging occurs in a metropolis like Bengaluru with foragers generally belonging to lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are most vulnerable to changes due to urbanization. Redesigning urban environments to create green spaces for forgeable species to flourish, that are made accessible to marginalized communities, is essential for their nutritional and cultural well-being.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Somesh, Dhruthi and Rao, Rohit and Murali, Ranjini and Nagendra, Harini
Uncontrolled Keywords: Foragers, Foraging barriers, Global South, Species foraged, Urbanization
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Development
Full Text Status: Public
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