Ferne has more than a decade of research and teaching experience on sustainable cities, food systems and social change.
Ferne’s research includes topics of sustainable cities at the University of Melbourne; ethical consumption at RMIT University; urban mapping and community gardens at the University of Western Sydney; and climate change adaptation, human health and food production at the Australian National University. With a background in cultural anthropology, Ferne’s independent research includes conducting ethnographies of food waste and freegans, alternative food economies, urban beekeeping, and food security and food sovereignty in Australia and Venezuela. In 2013, Ferne was appointed a World Social Science Fellow by the International Social Science Council for research on sustainable urbanisation in the Global South.
Ferne is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the European Research Council funded project, SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food-sharing economies. Led by Professor Anna Davies, SHARECITY is a collaborative, multi-phased investigation of food sharing economies in cities and its potential to contribute to sustainable urban transitions.
Ferne has contributed to the conceptual and analytical development of the SHARECITY100 Database, a global database of food sharing activities in 100 cities. She is also conducting in-depth ethnographic studies of food sharing enterprises in selected cities around the world, including Melbourne, Australia, and Barcelona, Spain. Her specific expertise in food sharing includes work with Food Not Bombs, urban foraging, food waste redistribution organisations, various forms of on/off line food mapping, and the Venezuelan food sovereignty movement.