Contemporary agri-ecological systems and their contribution to community resilience: reconnecting people and food, and people with people


  • Christine Anne King The University of Queensland


agricultural systems, ecological systems, food systems, community resilience, sustainability


Alternative agricultural systems that ecological and community resilience provide a bridge between traditional agriculture ( . broad scale mono-cropping rotations) and natural resource management ( . maintaining pristine environments). These can be referred to as -ecological systems and include systems such as Organic Agriculture, , Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s), , Farmers Markets and Community Gardens. Government agencies, private industries (and to some extent Universities) primarily focus on traditional agricultural systems. Where sustainability and community health issues are considered, the usual emphasis is on how these traditional systems might be adapted or managed to reduce environmental or health impacts (within the current economic and production paradigm). Communities however, are taking the lead in developing -ecological systems that address today’s environmental and social justice imperatives. These approaches often require more systemic change, as well as a shift from an economic paradigm to an ecological one. emphasise eg eg agri Biodynamics Permaculture agri This paper reports on current research by the author to explore a range of alternative approaches to agriculture and how they contribute to more resilient agri-ecological systems and communities. For example, resiliency can be seen as a systems ability to adapt and respond to external impacts on a system, and farmers markets show resiliency to sudden market changes (such as price or consumer preferences toward organics, through direct sale and the involvement of a range of consumers and producers offering a broad range of organic produce). More specifically, this paper reviews these alternative approaches to agriculture in relation to key concepts from ecological systems thinking, such as ecological resilience, biodiversity and holism. In addition, the paper explores how these systems contribute to more sustainable and resilient communities, through community development processes such as relationship building, genuine participation, inclusiveness, resource mobilization and creating space for knowledge sharing. The paper concludes comparing ecological systems models to alternative agri-ecological systems, and suggests how ecological systems theories and concepts might contribute to thinking about the future of community-based agro-ecological resilience.



How to Cite

King, C. A. (2006). Contemporary agri-ecological systems and their contribution to community resilience: reconnecting people and food, and people with people. Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2006, Sonoma, CA, USA. Retrieved from



Organizational Transformation & Social Change