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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how communities engaged in the valorisation of origin food through Geographical Indications (GIs) and Slow Food Presidia can be resilient to changing conditions and able to innovate their practices. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses the concept of “community of practices” (CoP) to explore the learning processes occurring in three origin cheese initiatives located in France and Morocco. Findings Learning processes surpass the border of the governing body and encompass competitors and consumers. Discrepancies between what is codified and what is done lead to a dynamic redefinition of both specifications and communities. Such initiatives are frameworks for envisioning possible futures emerging from controversies. Originality/value This paper compares two localised agrofood systems initiatives (GIs and Slow Food Presidia), based on evidence from two European and an African cases. The analytical frame of “CoP” sheds light on the underestimated dynamic effect of controversies on knowledge.