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Surplus food was the single most important factor determining the rise of human civilization. Once humans adopted a sedentary existence raising crops and livestock that created a surplus, specialization and stratification in society began to occur. The farmers supported the craftsmen, bureaucracy, aristocracy and chiefs, and the religious clergy. So has it been throughout the Civilization iterations. Once surplus food is available, then all else is possible.

In the context of Civilization V, Food Food means a combination of all the factors contributing to your Citizen Citizens' survival and proliferation, which means that it is of paramount importance for your empire. Your 20xPopulation5 Population is also the workforce of your empire. Without Food Food, there are no Citizen Citizens. Without Citizen Citizens, your land potential isn't fulfilled. Without that, your various stats production is very low. Without good stat production, your empire will quickly get outpaced by your rivals.

The Food Food stat is applicable to every single city of your empire individually, although empire-wide bonuses may also apply.

Producing food[]

A city needs to constantly feed its Citizen Citizens (another term for "population"). Every Citizen Citizen requires 2 Food Food per turn to feed himself/herself.

Food basket[]

Any Food Food production which exceeds a particular city's total Food Food requirements is added each turn to a "food basket" towards the birth of the next Citizen Citizen. The exact "size" of the basket (i.e., the required amount of Food Food) changes according to how many Citizen Citizens there are already in the city. When the basket is full, a new Citizen Citizen is born and a new basket starts filling - now with a new, higher Food Food goal.

On the other hand, if your city produces less Food Food than needed to feed all its Citizen Citizens, the city will experience starvation, indicated by negative Food Food. When a city is starving, it will start losing Citizen Citizens instead of growing until it can support its population. There's no grace period after a Citizen Citizen dies; if on the next turn the starvation continues and the city again eats more than it produces, another Citizen Citizen will die immediately, until the tendency is reversed. Some unpleasant situations may lead to catastrophic loss in the space of just a few turns.

With city growth, the amount of stored Food Food in the food basket needed to birth each successive Citizen Citizen becomes larger and larger. Cities with a 20xPopulation5 Population higher than 10-15 will need quite a lot of extra Food Food gathered to grow further! For the exact amounts, see below.

Terrain and Resources[]

The main source of Food Food for any city is the land. Most terrain types have inherent Food Food potential, which can be further improved with the very first tile improvement available in the game: the Farm. Here's a list of terrain types and how much Food Food they provide:

Terrain Potential
Grassland Grassland 2
Flood Plains Flood Plains 2
Plains Plains 1
Tundra Tundra 1
Forest Forest* 1
Jungle Jungle* 2
Marsh Marsh* 1
Coast Coast 1
Ocean Ocean 1

* If you clear these, terrain properties will change to the base terrain underneath.

Most terrain features also provide good Food Food yield:

Next, a number of resources - both Bonus and Luxury - provide +1 Food Food on their tile (regardless of terrain type):

The Farm can be constructed on most terrain types, excluding Tundra, Hills, and Snow. (You need access to Fresh Water to construct Farms on the first two tiles, but the third can never support Farms.) It initially adds +1 Food Food to the tile, but the bonus increases to +2 for tiles with access to Fresh Water (next to Rivers, Lakes, and Oases) after researching Civil Service, and for all other tiles after researching Fertilizer.

There are two more improvements that affect Food Food:


The following buildings enhance Food Food production:

The Aqueduct and the Medical Lab help 20xPopulation5 Population growth indirectly. Although they don't produce Food Food on their own, they transfer a certain percentage of the food basket from the last Citizen Citizen to the next one. This way they provide a "jump start" for the next citizen, allowing him/her to be born sooner. Of course, if you don't produce enough extra Food Food, those buildings won't help you at all.

Other sources[]

Other sources that may increase Food Food production include:

  • City-State City-State Maritime City-States. While you are a friend to such a City-State, you gain 2 Food Food in your Capital Capital. If you are allied with that City-State, the Food Food bonus also extends to all your cities, although they only gain +1 Food Food.
  • Social policies. The Tradition policy tree greatly enhances Food Food production, especially in the Capital Capital. Also, the Freedom policy tree (or Ideology in Brave New World) affects how Specialist Specialists consume Food Food, effectively diminishing your overall Food Food consumption.
  • We Love the King Day. This special event is activated regularly in cities across your empire when you provide them with a particular Luxury resource that is lacking in your trade network at the time. As a result, the city in question enjoys a 25% Food growth bonus for an extended period of time. Note that if your food basket isn't growing at all, you're wasting this bonus!
  • Wonders. There are a few wonders that affect Food Food:
    • Hanging Gardens - +10 (GodsKings5 clear +6) Food Food in the city where it's built
    • Petra - +1 Food Food for each Desert tile near the city with this wonder
    • CN Tower - Doesn't provide Food Food, but immediately increases 20xPopulation5 Population in every city by 1

Settlers and Food[]

Settlers can only be trained in cities with a 20xPopulation5 Population of 2 or larger. During construction, Settlers consume a city's Production Production and all of the city's excess Food Food. As long as the Settler is in production, the city will not grow or add Food Food to its food basket. Note that Settlers don't subtract Food Food from the basket; they consume excess Food Food being produced, stopping more Food Food from going into that basket.

Happiness and Population growth[]

20xHappiness5 Happiness of your empire is essential for 20xPopulation5 Population growth. If your empire is unhappy, all your cities will suffer a -75% growth penalty (regardless of the amount of excess Food Food), essentially stopping growth in its tracks. If Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness reaches -10 ("Very Unhappy" level), growth stops completely (even if you're producing more than enough surplus Food Food), and you cannot train Settlers at all! You'll need to take immediate steps to bring your 20xHappiness5 Happiness back into the positive range.


As with Production Production, Food Food is best managed city-by-city. The automatic Worker assignment manager will always allocate your Citizens so that your city is growing if possible. You can also assign a special emphasis on Food Food for it to achieve the maximum growth rate possible. Or, you can choose to manually control Citizen assignment. But because of the great importance of City growth, It is recommended you familiarize yourself with all the above info before venturing to control Citizen assignment manually; otherwise, you risk your entire empire's growth.

The first important factor when considering Food Food is where to settle your cities. Much like Production Production, you can't depend much on buildings or empire-wide bonuses to feed each city. That means you must make sure the terrain you're settling can support human life. Be sure to provide access to at least some fertile land in each city, or that city won't grow and will be near-useless.

Settling a city near a River is always good, especially for feeding. All tiles next to it have Fresh Water, and will thus produce extra Food Food from Farms early in the game. Also, you can construct a Water Mill for even more Food Food.

Consider carefully when trying to settle a city on Desert, as this terrain has no Food Food potential at all! Even though you can still build Farms there, most of the time it's useless to settle cities in deserts. But if there are some resources you want access to, then look to place the city in such a position as to have access to some Food Food-producing terrain or features. Luckily, there always seems to be some Wheat Wheat resource stuck in the middle of the desert, and Sheep Sheep may also be found on nearby Hills - include them in your city's potential territory at any cost! Also, look for an Oasis, as this terrain feature provides a great source of Food Food without any improvement. And of course, a River flowing through deserts changes every adjacent Desert tile to Flood Plains, which are some of the most fertile types of land.

Snow territories are situated at the extreme upper and lower edges of the map (which would be near the North and South Poles on Earth), and usually have no useful resources whatsoever nearby. What's more, like Desert, Snow has no Food Food potential, but unlike Desert, Farms cannot be built on Snow. For these reasons, you should avoid settling cities on Snow whenever possible.

Tundra is also notoriously difficult to settle. It doesn't support Farms (unless they have access to fresh water), so you're usually left with at most 1 Food Food per tile, which is far from enough to feed a city. Look for the precious Deer Deer resources to provide food, and also try to settle near a river or a Lake, OR on a coast.

Finally, cities founded on islands may also have some difficulty growing. Ocean tiles without any resource on them don't support any improvement, and provide only 1 Food Food. Fortunately, there's a sea building, the Lighthouse, which increases all Ocean tiles' Food Food potential by 1, including Atolls! So look to build this building in an island city ASAP. At any rate, try to place the city so as to have access to as many resources and Atolls as possible.

Amount of food to grow to size []

see Mathematics of Civilization V

20xPopulation5 Population size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Food Food 15 22 30 40 51 63 76 90 105 121 138 155 174 194 214 235 258 280 304 329 354 380 407 435 464 493 523 554 585 617 650 684 719 754 790 826 863 901 940 979

See also[]

Civilization V [edit]
Gods & KingsBrave New World
† Only in vanilla Civ5
‡ Only in Gods & Kings and Brave New World