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Abstract

This paper explores the development of sustainable food systems in Northern Queensland and draws conclusions as to how they can grow and become more stable in the future. It shows how a community is actively and creatively deploying local networks and local resources in order to gain access to locally-grown, sustainable food. The development of this alternative agri-food network (AAFN) is driven by grassroots movements and underpinned by a strong, not-for-profit sector consisting of environmentalists, community leaders and food activists, who are highly critical of the mainstream agri-food system. The opportunities and challenges faced by actors in alternative food systems are discussed. At federal government level, the adoption of intensive, productivist-based agriculture runs counter to the philosophy of AAFNs. In a political environment that clearly favours economic development, the issue for local communities is how can they influence food and agricultural policy?