Sustainability transitions are inevitable if we are to address the multiple crises in and caused by industrial agriculture. Despite the intent, there are few analyses of policy changes that enable sustainable agriculture; of the policy processes in particular. This paper analyses two cases of transition from the Union Government supported green revolution to biodiverse local and sustainable agriculture; cases of policy change evident in millet based agricultural programmes by two State Governments (Andhra Pradesh and Odisha) in India. A Laswellian in-context policy analysis reveals how the adverse social and ecological consequences of the green revolution in rainfed agriculture tracts in the country, was a key driver of these policy changes initiated by the State governments. The emergence of new and dispersed sub-national policy makers and regionally differentiated policy processes to address these consequences, mark significant institutional change. The re-definition of the policy problem by these new policy communities, led by civil society organizations and State Governments is enabled by new deliberative practices, a result of the substantive understanding of and the agency of rainfed agriculture and millets in these local agri-food systems. The new territorial identities forged within policy communities continue to confront the institutional rigidity of centralized consolidated agricultural knowledge and policy making. These decentralized policy processes and knowledge of and in the process are necessary for the transition to sustainable agri-food systems. They demand more academic and public engagement with institutional reform for sustainability.