Fresco is the President of the Executive Board of the Wageningen University & Research Centre in The Netherlands. She combines a long academic career as a professor at Wageningen University and the University of Amsterdam, along with various visiting professorships and extensive involvement in policy and development. She is a member of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences and four foreign academies, and is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Academy of Sciences of South Africa. She served for nearly 10 years as the Assistant Director General at the Food and Agriculture Organisation at the UN and has spent extensive periods working in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
She served as a non-executive director of Unilever, was a member of the supervisory board of Rabobank and the Socio-Economic Council, the highest advisory body in the Netherlands. She is a member of the Council of Advisors of the World Food Prize and an author of 12 books published in Dutch, including three novels. Her book Hamburgers in Paradise has recently been published in English.