Background and activities

Dr. Ferne Edwards has a background in cultural anthropology and works across disciplines including geography, design, health and planning. She has extensive international research experience specialising in sustainable cities, food systems and social change. Ferne has conducted research in Australia, Venezuela, Ireland and Spain on food waste, urban beekeeping, non-monetised alternative food economies, and food sharing, contributing to more than 30 publications on urban natures, conservation, design, and healthy and resilient cities.

Ferne is also highly active in running international collaborative networks and events: she led the governance work package for the EU Horizon 2020 IA project EdiCitNet to establish an international edible cities network; she is an UrbanA Fellow for Just and Sustainable Cities, Awards Director for ‘Why the World Needs Anthropologists’, Review Editor for Frontiers Journal, and an Australian Anthropology Society Fellow. Ferne is a founding member of the European Association for Social Anthropologist's Urban Anthropology group and is an Editorial Board Member for the 'Urban Anthropology Unbound' book series at Berghahn.

Ferne has more than 30 academic publications. (Please note that the publication list on this webpage only lists work from commencement at NTNU in September 2020. For a full publication list, please visit: publications include two co-edited books published in 2021: ‘Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices’ with Anitra Nelson (Routledge) and ‘Food, Senses and the City’ (Routledge) with Roos Gerritsen and Grit Wesser. These books have been internationally recognised for their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and to sensory studies, where 'Food for Degrowth' will be released as a paperback in May 2022. Confirmation was recently received that Ferne's first monograph, 'Food Resistance Movements: Journeying through Alternative Food Networks' that describes three ethnographic accounts of the food justice movement in Australia, South America and Europe is now accepted for publication by Palgrave and is expected to be released later this year.


At NTNU Ferne is a Postdoctoral Fellow on Socially and Environmentally Just Transitions specialising in urban natures. This research recognises that despite many urban greening efforts that can offer a range of health, social and economic co-benefits, many people still remain estranged from nature. Research is needed on how to best 'bring nature back' to cities to overcome human-nonhuman conflicts while enabling shifts towards greater socio-environmental justice and sustainability to occur. Ferne's research project investigates urban human-nature connections through studying urban beekeeping practices in addition to trialling a range of innovative methodologies (sensory nature walks, citizen science and urban food mapping).

Ferne also teaches a number of courses. In design this includes the Master's courses: 'Experts in Teamwork - Designing in Urban Natures' and 'Sustainability Transitions', whilst contributing guest lectures to the Bachelor in Design course, 'Sustainable Design'. Working across disciplines, Ferne has also actively contributed to related courses across NTNU, including the Departments of Architecture, Public Health, Anthropology and the Environmental Humanities.

Furthermore, Ferne has co-supervised 10 Masters and PhD level students in the Departments of Design and Architecture at NTNU. She is also on PhD Advisory Committees, has acted as external opponent and has provided informal PhD support to students in her field across the world (including Austria, Australia, Estonia, Spain and Ireland).



Redesigning wasted spaces of just and sustainable food activities (by Miriam Knudsen Hjertholm and Nora K. Bakke, 2021);

Closing the Hungry City Cycle: redesigning relationships to reduce agricultural waste and human need (by Julie Marzano Frey and Kristine Lygre Hoff, 2021);

Increased quality of life and closer relationship to nature through poultry farming in the city (by Caroline Syse and Ida Maria Melen, 2021)



Symbiotic Rooftop Green Structures and its Applicaiton at Saupstad Centre (by Mahalakshmi Harur Venkateshwara Guptha, 2022).

Integration of Social Space, Surface Water Management and Landscape Design at the Voldsløkka Skole in Oslo (by Nusrat Mohua, 2022).



Exploring the Transformation of Making Practices within Culture: Felting as a design activity (a practice-based PhD by Berilsu Tarcan, 2021 ongoing).



Ecologies of Urban Gardening (by Bjørn Inge Melås, an artistic-based PhD, 2021 ongoing).

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Journal publications


  • Edwards, Ferne; Gerritsen, Roos; Wesser, Grit. (2021) Food, Senses and the City. Routledge. 2021. ISBN 9780367458232.
  • Nelson, Anitra; Edwards, Ferne. (2021) Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices. Routledge. 2021. ISBN 978-0-367-43646-9.

Part of book/report

  • Edwards, Ferne; Melen, Ida Maria Corsepius; Syse, Anna Caroline; Pettersen, Ida Nilstad. (2022) Birds, bees and bats: Exploring possibilities for cohabitation in the more-than-human city. DRS2022: Bilbao.
  • Tarcan, Berilsu; Pettersen, Ida Nilstad; Edwards, Ferne. (2022) Making-with the environment through more-than-human design. DRS2022: Bilbao.
  • Edwards, Ferne. (2021) Future directions for food, senses, and the city. Food, Senses and the City.
  • Edwards, Ferne. (2021) Humming along: heightening the senses between urban honeybees and humans. Food, Senses and the City.
  • Edwards, Ferne; Espelt, Ricard. (2021) Technology for degrowth: Implementing digital platforms for community supported agriculture. Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices.
  • Edwards, Ferne; Gerritsen, Roos; Wesser, Grit. (2021) The ‘food, senses, and the city’ nexus. Food, Senses and the City.
  • Edwards, Ferne; Nelson, Anitra. (2021) Future research directions: Food for degrowth. Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices.
  • Edwards, Ferne; Pedro, Sergio; Rocha, Sara. (2021) Institutionalising degrowth: Exploring multilevel food governance. Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices.
  • Nelson, Anitra; Edwards, Ferne. (2021) Food for degrowth. Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices.