Claire Kremen is Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley. She is also the Faculty Director for the Center for Diversified Farming Systems and the previous (Founding) Faculty Co-Director of the Berkeley Food Institute. Professor Kremen has an outstanding track record in the field of agriculture, ecology and biodiversity and she was awarded the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “genius” Fellowship in recognition of her exceptional contributions. Her research has focused on the nexus between sustainable agriculture, conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, reaching from theory to practice. Her current work explores the ecological, social and economic benefits, costs and barriers to adoption of diversified farming systems, and on restoring pollination and pest control services in intensively farmed landscapes in California. We asked Professor Kremen her opinion about the greatest challenges facing food systems today:
“One often reads that a huge challenge facing the food system is to feed more people a more energy-intensive diet without further damaging our life-support system. I think the challenges go way beyond this, admittedly large challenge, and require out-of-the-box thinking. We need to interrogate all aspects of this question. Can we imagine other futures then the one determined by today’s current population and consumption trends? For example, Is adoption of a Western diet inevitable? Is a population of 9 or more billion people inevitable? What might it take to change these trends, and could changing them possibly lead to pathways for other solutions to the joint problems of food scarcity, malnutrition and obesity, beyond simply meeting larger food demands? However we proceed, countering locked-in factors, whether they are entrenched ideas about how to grow food, existing commitments to trade relationships, sunk infrastructure costs, or the concentrated nature of agri-food businesses, represents an enormous challenge to making food system change.”
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems aims to advance the debate on sustainably achieving global food security by publishing rigorously peer-reviewed and Open Access research across the whole food supply chain. We asked Professor Kremen why it is so important to bring Open Access to this field of research:
“Food is the most basic aspect of survival for any organism, but for we humans it is also a crucial element of our cultural heritage and social cohesion and well-being. We can celebrate its diverse expressions around the globe, and it can unite us around the dinner table. It affects us all deeply. Exploring how to produce and distribute food sustainably, how to care for the land, biodiversity and people that produce it, and how to create access to healthy food, are vitally important topics that affect everyone, either directly or indirectly. I can’t think of a better topic for Open Access then food systems.”
As the founding Field Chief Editor Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, Professor Kremen envisions building on the great start that the journal has already made, and bringing in more topics and more voices to the conversation.
The Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems team looks forward to taking the Journal from strength to strength under the guidance of Professor Kremen.