NKJ Inside: “Change the food culture”

Meet NKJ board: Liisa Saarenmaa hopes for a more sustainable food culture in the Nordic region. In ten years, she believes that the food is produced closer to the consumer and that we eat other things than today.



Liisa is an alternate member of the NKJ board since 2000. In her view, it is the most important task for NKJ to give the Nordic perspective on agriculture and food research. As a whole, the Nordic research community gains a lot through cooperation. The national research get new approaches and there is a greater diversity and creativity.

– NKJ isn’t as visible as it should be, but still has an important role in the preparation of policy.


Liisa is working on various research issues at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, nowadays focusing more on bioeconomy than on forestry, as she did before.

Before joining the ministry, she was at the University of Helsinki in Finland, at the faculty of forest ecology.

– My research was about rejuvenation and I used AI as a methodology in my doctoral dissertation.

Sustainable food

A crucial issue in agriculture and food research is, according to Liisa, sustainability. How can our food production and food culture in the Nordic region be sustainable, and how should we relate to the current climate change? The world’s growing population is also an important issue to consider in agricultural and food research.

In order to make the food culture more sustainable, Liisa thinks we must produce our food close to the consumer – ideally, it should be partly produced in our own homes – and eat less meat.

  • In the future, insects become a common part of our food.
  • New Nordic Food is a good example of how to apply national research results in the Nordic perspective. Food, with all its dimensions, becomes more important all the time because of climate change that forces us to change eating habits. That’s the most important thing, from my point of view, right now.

Writes books for her grandchildren

In addition to being sharp in Nordic bioeconomics, Liisa has another talent: she writes children’s books for her six grandchildren. And she also sails her boat together with her daughter and her family.