On 15 February Professor Louise O. Fresco was awarded an honorary doctorate in Leuven for her important role in the public debate on ensuring a sustainable food supply. Every year the University of Leuven recognises people who have made special contributions in the areas of science, society or culture.
’I view this award as an acknowledgement of the importance of a broad scientific approach to the food chain of production, consumption, nature and policy, as well as an acknowledgement of the importance of telling the story of scientific progress to a wider audience,’ states Fresco.
The reasoning for the awarding of the honorary doctorate was as follows: ‘Professor Louise O. Fresco is a unique, committed voice in the academic and public debate on ensuring a sustainable food supply. She was one of the first people to emphasise that we need to have a well thought-out and implemented policy that incorporates areas that overlap with other major social challenges such as underweight and obesity, environmental impact, climate change, biodiversity and economic and social developments.’
Louise Fresco studied tropical plant cultivation at Wageningen University and graduated cum laude in 1986. She has been a professor of plant-based production systems and sustainable land use at Wageningen, Leiden and Amsterdam and a guest professor at several universities, including Stanford and Uppsala. From 1997 to 2006 Professor Fresco was head of agriculture and food at the World Food Organisation FAO. She writes about food security and eating culture for a wide audience in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and in her book Hamburgers in het Paradijs (Hamburgers in Paradise), published in 2012, which was followed by the six-part TV series Fresco's Paradijs ('Fresco's Paradise'). She has also written three novels. Her book De utopisten (The Utopians), published in 2008, was nominated for the Libris Literature Prize. Louise Fresco has been the Chair of the Executive Board at Wageningen University & Research since 2014.
Read the full interview in KU Leuven Campuskrant.