The population of a city grows through birth as well as migration. The economy has not been able to provide employment and an income for the vast majority of rural migrants, including the urban poor. Significantly, a large number of urban poor work in the informal sector as they have less skill, less education and less capital. In many developing countries, including India, due to the fast pace of urbanization, many rural areas are gradually becoming part of urban areas, where urban amenities are lacking and open spaces, cultivable lands and water bodies remain, at least in the initial stages of urbanization. Due to growing environmental concerns, there is often a demand to preserve such open spaces to protect the environment. This provides an opportunity for some people to earn a livelihood by following traditional occupations like agriculture and thereby providing fresh vegetables for the urban population. However, these people do not enjoy some of the urban amenities and continue to be connected to the rural world through visits, remittances and social, cultural and economic networks, sometimes recruiting people from their rural areas. Thus, the indigenous, traditional knowledge of cultivation and its practice in urban areas, not only helps a group of people, the poor, to survive in urban situations but it also helps to achieve sustainable development with better environmental conditions. © 2015, © 2015 Taylor & Francis.