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Community Economies Research


This program of research draws on the rich tradition of community economies research and practice that seeks to bring about more sustainable and equitable futures for people and the planet.

Building on J.K. Gibson-Graham’s critique of political economy, community economies research is centred around diverse economic practices, many of which are alternatives to capitalist economies or outside of capitalism altogether. It focuses on how human lives and livelihoods are supported by a vast range of economic practices. Many of these remain unrecognised and undervalued, but are crucial to the health and wellbeing of communities which include human beings, our plant and animal Earth-kin.

Seeking to catalyse social transformation, the work we undertake includes imagining and enacting collective actions that support communities in surviving well together in ways that honour our diverse ways of knowing, being and doing. Our work is underpinned by the following principles:

  • sustained curiosity and openness to the unexpected and the unknown that emerges from research.
  • affirmation of a range of solutions and strategies for change and multiple pathways toward more sustainable and equitable worlds.
  • commitment to an ongoing process of learning and becoming ethical through negotiation with human and Earth-kin.

Current Projects

Global Garden Project

The Global Garden Project is about improving food security, nutrition and livelihoods through small-scale vegetable production in urban and peri-urban contexts around the world.

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Strengthening agricultural resilience in Western Province: developing methods for strengths-based livelihoods approach

Focussing on the diverse regions of Western Province in Papua New Guinea, this project is working to identify locally appropriate practices for sustainable agricultural development in the region, fostering a ‘community of practice’ amongst development practitioners in order to give the sector more confidence in their practice, new ideas to trial, and appropriate support for ACIAR’s ongoing work in the region.

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Innovating fish-based livelihoods in the community economies of Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands

This project is working with women and men in rural Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste to develop and share innovative solutions for sustainable fish-based livelihoods, and increase the capacity of national agencies to support them in doing so.

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Next generation agricultural extension: social relations for practice change

Working with smallholder farmers in north-west Cambodia, this project explores what the next generation of agricultural extension would look like if it began with the premise that farming is about more-than-human relationships. Using a co-design and farmer-centred approach, the project designs and tests agricultural extension methods for supporting sustainable livelihood ecologies.

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Completed Projects


Our community economies research is closely aligned with global community economies scholarship from the Community Economies Institute, and the Community Economies Research Network.