Giving Compass' Take:

• Tom Arnold, Dr. Sania Nishtar, and Dr. Sudhvir Singh explain how urbanization around the world is increasing consumption of processed foods. They point to several programs that are working to provide healthily, affordable food to low-income individuals in urban areas.

• How can philanthropy support food system improvements in urban areas?

• Find out how the TEEB AgriFood report reveals the global food system.

City living is often glamorized across the media, characterized by prosperity and cosmopolitan sophistication. But the truth is that rapid urbanization, particularly in Africa and Asia, is adversely affecting diets and food systems, which is leading to health, social, and economic inequality and environmental degradation.

As we write this article, we reflect on a significant demographic anniversary. Around this time 10 years ago, the world’s urban population surpassed the rural population for the first time. And it continues to rise. Roughly two-thirds of the global population is projected to be urban by 2050, equivalent to the Earth’s inhabitants in 2004. Africa and Asia will have 2.5 billion more urban residents within three decades.

The Makati Vendors Programme of the City, which was started in 1992, involves 760 Philippine street vendors, most of whom are women. They sell their cooked food, which is based on local products (rice and vegetables), in the vicinity of schools, bus stops, and stations. The program aims to provide the urban poor of Makati with an alternative source of income and encourages cleanliness and hygiene at the point of sale, while more likely to provide healthy alternatives to ultra-processed foods.

Read the full article about urbanization and malnutrition by Tom Arnold, Dr. Sania Nishtar, and Dr. Sudhvir Singh at Food Tank.