Ferne has more than 17 years’ international research and teaching experience on sustainable cities, food systems and social change.
Her work explores the socio-cultural contexts, ethics, politics and sustainability potential of diverse social food economies in cities.
This specialisation contributes to topics of transformative urban governance, conservation and biodiversity, social innovation, urban design and planning, food for degrowth, and healthy and resilient cities.
Ferne has worked across Australia, Venezuela, Ireland and Spain, on topics of: sustainable city networks at VEIL, the University of Melbourne; two ARC grants on ethical consumption at RMIT University; urban mapping and community gardens at the University of Western Sydney; climate change adaptation, human health and food production at the Australian National University; and on ICT-mediated food sharing practices at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
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, and in 2016 became a Fellow of the Australian Anthropology Society and an Honorary Associate at the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.
Ferne currently leads the implementation of the urban governance infrastructure, networks and internationalisation work package of the Horizon 2020 EdiCitNet project across twelve cities to establish a network of edible cities.