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The Changing face of Urban Food Systems: UrbanKissan

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

The majority of the World’s future population will live in urban areas in the near future as we witness a mass migration to the cities due to climate impact, related health hazards and associated risks. Feeding the planet ’s population will be one of humanity's greatest challenges by 2050. Current food systems in cities are being challenged because they fail to provide permanent and reliable access to adequate safe, local, diversified, fair, healthy and nutrient-rich food to host over half the world’s population. The world at present produces more food than ever before, yet dietary diversity is declining and food insecurity is on the rise.

Food is an effective entry point to improve a city’s resilience. Currently, food production is responsible for almost 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and poorly managed fertilization exacerbates pollution of the air, ground, and water. We need to imagine an improved food production system grounded in better use of resources. This will involve moving to a circular economy, particularly in towns and cities. Faced with the acceleration of these tendencies and determined to bring about a reinvention of food policies, urban agriculture is emerging as one driver for this new-look approach. Cities need to explore various opportunities in developing sustainable food systems. Many interesting platforms are reworking on the need for Urban Agriculture and City Region Food Systems.

The Agriculture Industry becomes a complicated place with technologies and marketing tools and techniques that are launched almost on a daily basis. At this juncture how does one feel to step into a farm and purchase greens fresh in an Urban farm and buy it at costs lower than ever thought possible?


UrbanKisaan, the Vertical Farming Startup that puts quality first, has debuted its 3000 sqft new-age urban farm and retail store in Manikonda, Hyderabad. Here, customers can walk into the retail store, harvest fresh and clean products of their choice which are grown in the indoor farm which is on the other side of a glass wall. Urbankissan redefines the category ’Fresh’!

India’s First Urban Retail Farm and Store “Urbankissan” is now open in Hyderabad!
Walk-in, Pick your produce, Harvest on the spot and Walk out with the freshest cleanest produce there is. Grown locally and sustainably, we grow fresh produce that is beyond organic and like no other

Urban Kissan will change the shopper behavior where consumers are increasingly shifting their purchases to more experience-oriented retail locations in urban areas. Urban Kissan is inspiring a trend of having an indoor farm and a store in the same location and this will necessitate the immediate availability of Good Quality Vegetables within the vicinity of Urban areas for the urban consumers. This will also enable urban consumers in having the choice of vegetables at much lesser prices.

While Interacting with Vihari Kanikollu, CEO of Urban Kissan he eloquently explains the concept of  Urbankisaan to be a  full stack of plant science and food production technology — a sustainable, high-tech, high-efficiency, automated indoor vertical farm that can produce delicious, nutritious food at massive scale for lower costs than ever before thought possible. Urbankisaan brings together the unified design of a complete large-scale farm that maximizes the applications of energy, process control, and big data, along with with with advanced plant science to create maximum flavor, better shelf life, and ultra-clean food at incredible yields. By combining the latest plant science with these technologies, Urbankisaan farms are ideally optimized to produce yields of delicious, nutrient-rich food at a lower cost. ● 1.75 Acres produce grown in 2,000 Sq. Ft ● 30 days from seedling to harvest ● 365 harvests per year ● The shop and the farm are divided and the shop if of 500 sq ft and the farm of 2000 sq ft.

Urbankissan thereby plans to build a series of indoor vertical farms across India and will grow pesticide-free produce with 95 % less water and requiring less than 1%  of the land needed for outdoor farms thereby saving 2,16,000 liters of water per farm per month. Vihari reiterates the Supply Chain’s approach to decentralize F&V production and distribution by being inside and close to the consumption centers (cities). By cutting down thousands of food miles, the produce is in consumers’ hands within hours of harvest, not days or weeks as is now. They harvest at the peak of taste and quality versus harvesting early for transportation. As and when the product gets finished in the shop they harvest more according to the need.

UrbanKisaan has been recently funded by Ycombinator in Winter 2020 batch and has gone on to raise further.

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