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Marketing an Idea for Facilitating Urban Food and Environment Security – Experiences of IIIBFT, a Chennai-based NGO, in Promoting Societal Participation for Sustainable Development*

CASE STUDY, CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Case Preview

Marketing an Idea for Facilitating Urban Food and Environment Security – Experiences of IIIBFT, a Chennai-based NGO, in Promoting Societal Participation for Sustainable Development

 

“In November 2008, I started to work on a field-based project for Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) aimed at understanding the Entrepreneurship among Dalit women in interior areas of five districts in Tamil Nadu. In my travels during the next two years I found prime agricultural lands being converted to residential plots.

When I enquired about the type of jobs the family members were engaged in, I was told of all kinds of jobs except agriculture. They would say that they were working as construction workers in a city or a security guard at an ATM or something else but no agriculture. When asked why no one took to agriculture, they listed a number of difficulties that they were facing - lack of water, labour shortages and escalating cost of labor, meager and uncertain incomes, escalating cost of seeds and fertilizers among others which discouraged them from continuing farming in their lands. It was more lucrative to leave the land fallow for some years and sell it off as non-agricultural land to a real estate developer later. This experience kept bothering me,” says Alagu Perumal, Founder – Director, Indo – International Initiative for Billions of Fruit Trees (IIIBFT) who is also a faculty at LIBA. Could something be done before it was too late? How could farming be taken up in an urban city? Were there any examples outside India which had tried to look at creating food sources in urban areas? With these questions in mind a quest for a solution began.

Teaching Note Preview

Marketing an Idea for Facilitating Urban Food and Environment Security – Experiences of IIIBFT, a Chennai-based NGO, in Promoting Societal Participation for Sustainable Development

 

Synopsis

This case study is trying to look at ways in which fruit bearing saplings can be grown in an urban environment. It also seeks to encourage a discussion of how this initiative can grow to support all forms of life. The premise on which this is sought to be supported is that fruit bearing trees can be a source of ready alternate food in an urban environment. The initiative looks at bringing together institutions to further the concept of growing saplings in as little space as possible with minimum or no initial cost. The current case gives an account of how IIIBFT had worked with school children in the city of Chennai. Both government and private schools had overwhelmingly participated in this initiative. IIIBFT has been able to design a small demonstration tool that is being used in the schools. The discussion also highlights the challenges faced by institution. The initiative is open to suggestions and ideas that can help it to scale up and replicate this initiative in different parts of the city and the country.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding before the Classroom Discussion

The students/participants should be asked to do a brief survey of the urban landscape of the city in which they are residing. The students should be asked to prepare a brief study note on how cities are evolving. They should be asked to list out the indigenous trees that are commonly seen in the city.

The following paper is to be given as a reading:

Hughes and N. Haq, “Promotion of indigenous fruit trees through improved processing and marketing in Asia”, The International Forestry Review 5(2003): 176-181.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in MSW, MBA, Executive MBA or Executive Development Programs, for Course on Sustainability or Course on Corporate Social Responsibility.

  • • Course on Sustainability: “How societal participation can affect in mitigating hunger?” – to sensitize the participants regarding hunger and malnutrition that is plaguing the world, and understand how societal participation can help the cause.
  • • Course on Corporate Social Responsibility: “What kind of initiatives can be brought under CSR?” – to make participants aware of different forms of initiatives that are in need of funding.

 

Assignment Questions

I. What should IIIBFT do to create better awareness of growing fruit trees? Is the method of using school children a good idea?
II. How can IIIBFT build teams for its social cause that can plan for a more sustained action on the environmental front?
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Product code: CSR-1-0008, CSR-1-0008A

Abstract

India is surging towards greater urbanization, with an estimated population of 590 million to be living in the cities by 2030. Tamil Nadu is one of the states which is likely to be more than 50 percent urbanized and Chennai, the capital city would grow to a population of 11 million in 2030. Countries like China and Cuba have tried to integrate food production into urban development. Beijing since 1960s, has its vegetable supply come from the city’s own market gardens that costs less than produce trucked from distant areas. Cuba has also promoted intensive urban and peri-urban horticulture since the early 1990s, accounting for 60% of horticultural production. Among other ways of promoting urban food security, FAO has worked to establish school gardens as means of promoting child nutrition by providing tools, seeds and training in more than 30 countries. This helps children getting familiar with horticulture and help teachers develop nutrition courses and, when replicated at home, would go a long way to improve family nutrition as well. This case showcases the steps taken in design and dissemination of the idea of raising fruit bearing and other trees through school children. The work is carried out by Indo – International Initiative for Billions of Fruit Trees (IIIBFT), a Chennai based NGO. It has initiated a billion fruit trees campaign and begun the implementation of the idea in educational institutions (primarily schools) in and around Chennai city. The case documents the experiences in implementing the exercise of involving children in city schools. It identifies working solutions for schools to undertake the project and execute the idea. It looks into the attitudes of schools, teachers and children in developing a sapling bank within the school. It tries to understand the motivation and incentives required to promote societal participation.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To discuss and debate how teams can be built for a social cause that can plan for a sustained action on the environmental front.
  • To understand the role of institutions in promoting socially responsible initiatives formally and informally.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in MSW, MBA, Executive MBA or Executive Development Programs, for Course on Sustainability or Course on Corporate Social Responsibility.

  • Course on Sustainability: “How societal participation can affect in mitigating hunger?” – to sensitize the participants regarding hunger and malnutrition that is plaguing the world, and understand how societal participation can help the cause
  • Course on Corporate Social Responsibility: “What kind of initiatives can be brought under CSR?” – to make participants aware of different forms of initiatives that are in need of funding

  • * GSMC 2017, IIM Raipur

    This Case Pack Includes:
    - Abstract
    - Case Study
    - Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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