Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Feeding an Urban World: A call to action

Date Published: 
June 19, 2013

Today, more of the global population lives in urban centers than in rural communities. While cities often provide increased opportunities for employment and education, they also can leave a significant portion of their populations food insecure. Cities around the world are failing to provide healthy, safe, nutritious food at an affordable price to all of their residents, and the problem will only increase as the world becomes more urbanized in the coming decades. Concentrated poverty in urban centers such as Nairobi, Mumbai, Jakarta, and other cities means that affordability of adequate nutrition is particularly difficult, but in many ways, Chicago and other urban centers in the developed world are no different.

Food security is a multidimensional issue, demanding consideration of adequate calories, sufficient nutrients, culturally appropriate dietary options, and economic factors, among other concerns. Urban food security differs from rural food security in several ways. For example, the distance from the source of food production and therefore the complexity in accessing food is far greater for urban areas. Infrastructure, transportation, supply chains, and markets are just a few of the factors involved in tackling urban-specific food challenges. It is clear that the complexity and scale of this challenge requires more than a one-size-fits-all solution.