foto: Marjoleine Boonstra


By measuring food waste, we can manage it

Cutting food loss and waste down to size offers a triple win for food security, the economy and the environment.
October 16, 2016 was World Food Day, a day dedicated to ensuring that everyone on the planet has straightforward: Reduce the massive amounts of food loss and more

Towards a polyglot world         march 2024         

The battle against the invasion of English at Dutch universities is a rearguard action: the future is multilingual for all, says Louise O Fresco.  Read more…

Louise O Fresco

Welcome to my personal website

Until July 1, 2022 I was the President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board and professor at the same institution, but I am also a columnist, a writer and a public speaker.

I am passionate about many subjects, first of all of course the future – and history – of food and agriculture in the world. I am a vocal advocate for research and innovation, acknowledging the importance of combining the life sciences with the humanities, and the essential role of public dialogues.

I firmly believe in éducation permanente or life long learning: a day without a new insight or fact, is a day of poverty.

If knowledge is one pillar of human life, art is the other. I am a true lover of classical music and opera, theatre and the visual arts in their manifold forms. And of course, literature, fiction and non-fiction – a daily need (like writing).

I have been blessed throughout my career by the opportunity of travel to some 90 countries, experiencing an enormous diversity of landscapes and cultures, and meeting wonderful people.

My 15 years in the UN, and many more in multilateral programs have shaped my understanding of how we humans change but also adapt to the dynamics of our planet.

I firmly believe that we progress collectively through learning and correcting our mistakes.

Notwithstanding the severity of the challenge we face, I remain firmly optimistic about future progress, in food, agriculture, science, welfare and equity.

Is AI the Next Phase in Evolution?

By Louise O Fresco in NRC, August 11, 2023

An evolutionary perspective on artificial intelligence provides a counterbalance to the anxious concerns, writes Louise Fresco. Read more….

in conversation

On7 May 2023 Professor Louise O. Fresco was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Pretoria, South-Africa for her important role in the public debate on ensuring a sustainable food supply.  Listen to the following conversation:


Science and innovations for food systems transformation and summit actions. Springer, januari 2023

This Open Access book compiles the findings of the Scientific Group of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 and its research partners. The chapters provide science- and research-based, state-of-the-art, solution-oriented knowledge and evidence to inform the transformation of  contemporary food systems in order to achieve more sustainable, equitable and resilient  systems.

This is the link to the PDF of the whole volume (14 MB)

Writer and scientist Louise Fresco vertelt over Nikolai Gogol and food

On 29 April 2023, scientist, administrator and writer Louise Fresco talked about Nikolai Gogol and food.
The third meeting in Masha Trebukova’s studio about her project Happily Ever After Gogol. This series of works was inspired by the story ‘Foreworldly Landowners’ by Nikolai Gogol and was exhibited to the public in the artist’s studio. Three meetings were organized during this exhibition.

N.Gogol by A.Ivanov 184 Russian Museum
Tianjin skyline

Louise O Fresco  visits China


Rapid visit to wheat fields near Tianjin (sprawling city in the background), on the farm of the Modern Agriculture Platform. Rather saline and alkaline soils, which shows in wheat density.

about publications

Louise O Fresco has published an extensive collection of articles in both scientific journals and the popular media. She writes a fortnightly column for the newspaper NRC Handelsblad and is regularly asked to participate in national and international radio and television programmes. Read more…


De Plantenjager uit Leningrad ((English: The Plant Hunter from Leningrad)

Louise O. Fresco

Prometheus, Amsterdam, oktober 2021

A young Russian botanist, Nikolai Vavilov, becomes fascinated by wild wheat in the inhospitable valleys of Central Asia. The key to improving agriculture, especially for poor Russian farmers, lies in his pioneering idea of crossbreeding with wild specimens. Vavilov hunts plants on five continents to build the largest collection of seeds in the world. But in Russia the communists have come to power and with them a deadly mix of ideology, fraud and pseudoscience. Vavilov’s opponent is Trofim Lysenko, who promises scientific miracles and is used by Stalin to push through impossible reforms. In The Plant Hunter from Leningrad, the first historical novel by Louise O. Fresco, we follow the hopes and despair of a driven scientist, until Stalin’s net closes around him. It is a moving story of honesty and courage of a man who really existed and who in many respects could compare with Darwin and Mendel. His work is as relevant today as it was in his own time.

still highly topical

For her first historical novel, former WUR president Louise O. Fresco imagined what went on in the mind of the Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov (1887-1993). Resource talked with her about it… the interview

See also