Legal Defence Fund

The time to defend the growing movement of small-scale food producers has come.

Despite growing concerns about the nutrition, safety, and ethics of the food we eat, some regulators are making it harder for Australian small-scale farmers to produce ethical, ecologically-sound, nutritious, and delicious food for their communities.

The issues include: communities who want access to raw milk from local dairies, farms doing on-farm processing facing unfair and inconsistent regulation of their facilities, and many others grappling with outdated and illogical definitions of ‘intensive’ and ‘extensive’ livestock in local planning schemes that see a farm with a few hundred chickens out on the paddocks subjected to the same requirements as one with 10,000 birds in sheds.

Our Vision

We aim to continuously adapt and improve the ongoing development of the LDF by remaining transparent and open to suggestions from our members and from the broader public. The LDF aims to identify and act on emerging legal issues and trends in Australia and overseas relevant to food sovereignty, and do so by building strong and productive relationships with stakeholders.

As an ongoing goal, the LDF is fulfilling a key outcome to produce an evidence-based, prioritised list of the regulatory threats for which immediate responses should be developed.

Would you like to donate to the LDF?


Who We Support

The LDF supports and advocates for small-scale farmers, artisanal producers, and the broader community through legal policy, reform and advocacy work. We support farms doing on-farm processing facing unfair and inconsistent regulation of their facilities, as well as others grappling with outdated and illogical definitions in local planning schemes.

As part of our services, LDF staff provide advice:

  1. when small farms are caught up in a trial by media;
  2. on public and product liability for farms and food producers who sell direct to the public;
  3. about current legal reform where necessary to support the growing food sovereignty movement;
  4. to communities who want protected consumer access access to raw milk from local dairies;
  5. that benefits AFSA members and provide guidance in relation to, including but not limited to, relevant food safety standards and legal requirements for supply of small-scale farm produce and artisan food.

If you would like to know whether the LDF can help with your issue, please contact our administration or legal staff about your concerns.

Our Services

The AFSA Legal Defence Fund (LDF) is ably supported by AFSA’s Legal Team, Mahalia McDaniel, Freia Johnston, Brittany Gordon and Berk Eker. The LDF is proud to provide the following services to support the fight for fair food and protect the rights of small-scale farmers:

LDF Advisory

Do you require assistance navigating the legal requirements of producing or accessing small-scale and artisanal foods?

Do you have a query relating to a planning permit or with your local council?

Do you wish to share an issue for small-scale farmers with the Legal Defence Fund?

All farmers, artisanal producers and members of the broader community are welcome to contact our Legal Team for advice or queries at

The LDF Information Repository

AFSA is developing a knowledge and information repository consisting of legal research and advice obtained for AFSA members, which will benefit AFSA members and provide guidance in relation to, including but not limited to, relevant food safety standards and legal requirements for supply of small-scale farm produce and artisan food. Watch this space for more information coming soon.

If you wish to make a donation to the LDF to enable this critical work to continue, email us on

If you would like to join our LDF Advisory Committee, please contact Jessie Power at Please note that members must be a registered legal practitioner or be a farmer with experience in submission writing and government engagement to join the LDF Advisory Committee.


Show your support for the Legal Defence Fund by becoming an AFSA member


LDF Campaigns

The LDF assists AFSA’s national campaigns by employing legal research and support services. The work of the LDF improves the overall effectiveness of AFSA’s lobbying and public advocacy efforts, but the LDF does not itself perform lobbying or advocacy in its role.

The LDF is also continuously developing and implementing the marketing and social media aspects of fundraising campaigns to raise funds for the LDF to ensure its long-term financial viability.

Read more about our Legal Defence Fund campaigns below.

  • Happy Valley Free Range farmer Jo Stritch and her family ...

  • Impact of Regulation on Small Farms AFSA put in a ...

  • The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance has issued its response to the ...

  • The ludicrous nature of the Victorian planning scheme has again been exposed with the targeting of Joanne and Andrew Stritch of Happy Valley Free Range in the Yarra Ranges Shire.

  • In this inspirational President's Report AFSA President Tammi Jonas shares ...

  • Story by Tammi Jonas, AFSA President, May 2015
    In response to a regulatory environment that says Coca Cola is safe but raw milk is dangerous, over 40 Australian farmers, chefs, providores and assorted supporters, journalists and academics came together to discuss the potential for an Australian organisation similar to the American Farm to Consumer Defence Fund.

  • Story by Russ Grayson, April 2015. It is time for reform of local government’s handling of community food initiatives on public land. It is time, too, to reform councils’ handling of complaints about those enterprises…

  • AFSA and the Victorian Farmers Markets Association have today released ...

  • Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), surveyed farmers’ experiences and views on fairness in the food system. We’re delighted to hereby release the report from that survey...


  • Proposed state government legislation limiting the sale of eggs by small-scale producers ...