Keighley McFarland joined Ecologic Institute in 2012. Currently, she works as a Researcher with a focus on biodiversity policy, sustainability transitions, food systems, and innovative science communication. She is a native English speaker and speaks fluent German.
Specific topics of her work include green infrastructure, food waste, the social and economic benefits of ecosystem services, assessment of biodiversity and land use policy, and innovative research dissemination. She is also responsible for project management, communication, and stakeholder engagement. She lead the project "A Taste of the Future of the Seas", which communicated scientific insights about sustainable use and protection of oceans to the public through interactive events featuring sustainable seafood street-food. In the Horizon 2020 project "Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain" (REFRESH), she collaborates on the development of policy solutions for food waste as well as conceptualizes and implements impact-oriented dissemination approaches. Projects to which she has contributed scientific expertise and project administration support include the "European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity" (ETC-BD), "Drivers for Successful Nature Directive Implementation", and "Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals for Soils", among others. She has also been involved in research projects in climate, development, and resource policy, for example "Bottom Up Climate Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Europe" (BASE) and "Follow-Up to the Rio+20 Conference: Sustainable Development Goals and the Green Economy". Keighley McFarland is also active in project aquisition.
In 2014 and 2015, Keighley McFarland completed a research internship at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) in Rotterdam, where she researched social innovation in sustainable alternative food networks. This internship was supported by grants from the Konrad von Moltke Fund and the World Food System Center Ambassadors Programme. Before beginning at Ecologic Institute, she worked as an Assistant in non-profit administration, climate policy, and agricultural policy at Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) as part of the German Federal Volunteer Service. She volunteered with Slow Food Youth Germany (SFY Germany) from 2012 to 2017, including two years as co-leader of the SFY Germany national executive board, and was a delegate of Slow Food Germany to the Slow Food International Congress/Terra Madre in Turin (Italy) in 2012 and 2014.
In May 2015, Keighley McFarland completed her master's degree in Integrated Natural Resource Management at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany). Her areas of focus in her master's studies were transitions in food systems and sustainable agriculture. She graduated with distinction from UC Berkeley in 2011, where she completed her B.A. in political economy and German with a concentration on European environmental policy and economics. She spent an exchange semester at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science (OSI) at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany) in 2010.