This thesis provides a critical assessment of the capacities of ‘local food’ businesses and community-led local food initiatives - in County Durham, North East England - to build resilience into our food systems. Resilient social-ecological systems are able to respond to, and recover from, external impacts. It finds that Durham’s local food scene – including the practices of local food businesses, allotment holders and Durham Local Food Network - encompasses people actively engaged in a range of practices, who have diverse motivations for, and understandings of local food. These emergent and renewed forms of social-ecological response are shown to collectively build resilience into the local food system, making the food system less vulnerable to the challenges of climate change, declining non-renewable resource bases, and economic contraction. An overarching consideration is the extent to which these discourses are important to food localisation agendas and action within the local food scene.\ud \ud Taking a participatory action research approach, the research process built in practical outcomes which aimed to strengthen the local food ‘scene’ in County Durham, employing a variety of methods including questionnaires, in-depth interviews with key actors, and participation as a local food activist.\ud \ud The thesis first demonstrates how local food activities are building resilience. It then examines the multifarious meanings, principles and values that local food instantiates and peoples’ motivations for producing and consuming local food. Following this, is a consideration of the social relations sustaining the local food scene. Finally, it analyses the potential for increasing the capacity of the local food scene and barriers to realising this. \ud \ud \u
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