Environmentalism, labor and the history of food production in Mumbai
This article aims to understand the pushback by middle-class citizens against lower-caste migrants farming along the railway tracks in and around Mumbai. It highlights the entanglements of complex histories of state driven Grow More Food campaigns to combat food insecurity, the rural agrarian crisis that triggered urban migration, and the unequal process of urbanization. Author shows that class is not the only parameter of power and inequality at play but, rather, caste serves as the organizing principle for domination and labor exploitation in food production. To grasp urban agriculture in the current political moment requires unpacking the history of urban food production with attention to social, political and economic dimensions. This article examines these dynamics in the historical context of food production policy and practices in Mumbai and in India’s rural hinterlands to understand how and why caste structures and interconnected relations of power emerges as a central organizing frame.