As we delve into the issues of the global food system and think through a better plan for the future, we should first paint a picture of where we are today - with hard facts.

To start with just a few:

Hunger Facts

  • The vast majority of hungry people (98 percent) live in developing countries, where almost 15 percent of the population is undernourished. (Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2012)

  • Undernutrition contributes to 2.6 million deaths of children under five each year - one third of the global total. (Source: Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, (pdf) UNICEF, 2011)

  • One out of six children—roughly 100 million—in developing countries is underweight(Source: Global Health Observatory, WHO, 2011)






Obesity Facts 

  • Worldwide, obesity has more than doubled since 1980.  
  • In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these, over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.
  • 65 percent of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight and malnutrition.
  • More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.
  • Obesity is preventable.
(Source: World Health Organization)

Agriculture Facts

  • Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 percent of today’s global population. It is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households.
  • There are 500 million small farms worldwide and most still rely on rain-fed agriculture, while providing up to 80 percent of food consumed in most of the developing world. Investing in smallholder farmers is an important way to increase food security and nutrition for the poorest, as well as food production for local and global markets.
  • Since the 1900s, some 75 percent of crop diversity has been lost from farmers’ fields. Better use of agricultural biodiversity can contribute to more nutritious diets, enhanced livelihoods for farming communities, and more resilient and sustainable farming systems.
  • 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity worldwide - most of whom live in rural areas of the developing world. Energy poverty in many regions is a fundamental barrier to reducing hunger and ensuring that the world can produce enough food to meet future demand.

(Source: United Nations)




Our Partner: The 30 Project

Although agriculture, hunger and obesity are the over-arching themes for looking at global food system issues, we will eventually generate data and solutions based on these topics: 

  • Eaters
  • Farmers
  • Youth
  • Urban Agriculture




  • Sustainability
  • Water
  • Food Waste
  • Climate Change
  • Soil





  • Hunger and Obesity Metrics
  • New Nutrition Metrics
  • New Sustainable Agriculture Metrics
  • New Environmental Metrics