Food represents the resources required by the population of a planet. Food is produced in quantities of megatons/week, with each megaton being able to feed 1 billion people. A colonized planet automatically produces 8 megatons per week, so once a population reaches 6 billion people more food must be supplied if the population is to grow. Home planets generate 12 megatons/week (16 MT in DA patch 1.61), allowing population to hit 12 (16) billion without additional farms. Population will decrease (due to starvation) if you are unable to supply a megaton of food for each billion of population. Additional food is generated by farms.
- The amount of food produced doesn't affect population growth. As such, farms should be built only when there is insufficient food production for further growth (when the population equals the amount of food production).
- Be careful not to accidentally generate an excess of food. Large populations can lead to an extremely low approval rating without careful balancing of appropriate Planetary improvements. Controlling the population by producing only enough food to sustain the desired population is an effective way to keep approval at the optimal levels.