Our world of 7.6 billion people produces enough food to feed 10 billion; one-third of it goes to waste every year. Still, despite the perceived abundance of food, nearly 700 million people — almost half of China’s population — will go to bed hungry tonight.

These two paradoxical trends exist because food systems — the path that food travels from field to our plates— are not meeting the needs of all people.

We have seen that some food systems can easily be disrupted by climate shocks, COVID-19 and violent conflict. But even in stable environments, people struggle to get food because of geographic isolation, socioeconomic inequalities, or weak commercial markets.

Millions of lives are at stake, and millions more may continue marching towards hunger if we don’t innovatively rethink our food systems.