Miss Ferne Edwards



School /
Work Unit

School of Global, Urban & Social Studies

Contact Details

+61 3 9925 1965



Building: 015
Level: 04
Room: 002

City campus


College of Design and Social Context

Dr. Ferne Edwards is a researcher with a background in cultural anthropology specializing in sustainable cities, food security and social change.

Recently awarded a PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University (Canberra, 2015), Ferne has more than a decade of international research and university teaching experience on food security for sustainable global cities, alternative food production and social change. Among her numerous publications, she has conducted research on freeganism and food waste, ethical consumption, alternative food economies, food mapping, impacts of climate change on food systems, social change and the Venezuelan food sovereignty movement. Ferne’s doctorate addressed a key global challenge, food system crises and food security, investigating the contribution that civil society driven alternative food economies can make to feeding urban populations through extensive field research in cities of Venezuela and Australia. Ferne has also contributed to policy for the CSIRO and National Climate Change Research Facility. Since 2013, Ferne was appointed a World Social Science Fellow by the International Social Science Council (founded by UNESCO in 1952) to contribute to research in sustainable urbanisation in the Global South.

Key activities

Ferne is a Research Assistant on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, ‘The Rise of Ethical Consumption in Australia: From the Margins to the Mainstream’, led by Chief Investigators, Tania Lewis, Media Communications, and Kim Humphery, Centre for Applied Research, RMIT University. This three-year project seeks to investigate the rise of ethical consumption nationwide. It is the first of its kind in Australia and comes at a time when our nation and the world is facing considerable challenges — economic, environmental and social — partly as a result of how we consume. There is a noticeable growing focus on the ethical dimensions of consumption, and a sense that issues around the environment, sustainability, working conditions, animal welfare, fair trade, and other matters of concern are becoming more prominent when people make, sell, buy, use and throw away consumer items. This research project is designed to find out why this is going on, and what people think about the notion of ethical consumption. Kim and Ferne are interviewing peak institutional bodies and ethical retailing and distribution concerned with ethical consumption in Australia.


   Mondays 9am - 5pm


  • Doctor of Philosophy — Anthropology, 2010–2015, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University
  • Masters Social Science — International Urban and Environmental Management, 2002–2005, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Bachelor of Arts — Honours in Anthropology, 2002, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • Bachelor of Arts — Double major Anthropology/ Single major Spanish, 1998–2001, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia