Urban farming in schools

Research Keywords

urban farming, community practices, motivation, action

Project description

My thesis work is in the area of environment education, with a focus on developing community-practice based interventions (such as urban farming) to motivate environment-oriented behavior. This action-oriented approach seeks to address the limitations of information-based environment education approaches, which have failed to motivate sustainable practices among students.

As part of the research project, I have designed a practice-based intervention in the form of a terrace farm in a Mumbai school. I am studying how related environmental actions emerge from activities on the farm, with a specific focus on how the activities in the farm motivates wider environmental actions. My data comes from field observations, interviews, photos and secondary sources of information, such as diaries maintained by students.

My data analysis focuses on identifying interactions in the farm that illustrate the development of ideas related to interdependence, frugality, and widening areas of environmental action, and discussion around these topics. The premise is that these lines of thought and practice are foundational to developing an ecological point of view, and such interactions would thus support and motivate pro-environmental actions in a scale wider than the farm.

The long-term objective of this project is to use insights from this study and analysis to develop policy recommendations, which would allow redesigning the environment education curriculum in an action-oriented fashion, where similar community-practices motivate students towards an environmentally responsible culture.


Deborah Dutta, Ankush Gupta, Adithi Muralidhar, Dibyanshee Mishra, Geetanjali Date, Sanjay Chandrasekharan

Selected Publications
  • Dutta, D., Chandrasekharan,S. (2017). Doing to being: farming actions in a community coalesce into pro-environment motivations and values. Environmental Education Research, 1-19.
  • Dutta, D., Chandrasekharan, S., (2017). Time for Action: Towards an integrative practice-based environment education. Paper presented at Philosophy of Education Conference, Bangalore, India, 9-11 January
  • Dutta, D. & Chandrasekharan, S. (2016). Practice-based approaches to nurturing environmental values: A case study of an urban farming group in Mumbai. Second Graduate Seminar School of Public Policy & Governance, TISS, Hyderabad, India

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