I would like to suggest TWO possible ways to help solve our Food problems caused by so many really small Colonies that have no or very little food production.
Let us add Hydroponic Modules to our Star Bases, first to feed the population living onboard it, and then with more Hydroponic modules have extra Food production for our Colony/Core Worlds that are short on Food.
You could also allow Star Bases to have multiple population units onboard them, if you give them something to do on board those Star Bases. Question does the Race or skill set levels of a population unit on board a Star Base presently have any affect in GC IV? IF NOT, WHY NOT? Those additional Population units on board a Star Base could/should be needed to run some of the additional and higher level modules that we add to those Star Bases.
You could also add a different type of Star Base Module to Economic Star Bases that would increase the Food production of the Worlds inside their range of effect
All three ideas work well with a central theme of GC of using Star Bases to do things.
Obviously, it should take various Technologies to implement these ideas and improvements/higher levels, either new Techs or added to existing Tech.
In particular, you could a have a Economic Star Base within range of several small Colonies, with all of them getting the small amounts of food produced on their planets that are needed to feed the local populations. Even 1 or 2 food produced at each of 3 or 4 small colonies would be a big help, since you could build such Economic Star Bases with each cluster, i.e. planetary system, of small size Worlds that we colonize.
This could be a major solution to our Food shortages caused by having many small Colonies with no local food production.
This is an obvious idea that should have suggested a long time ago, i.e. even in GC III.
Also the idea of giving Population units important jobs to do on board Star Bases is a natural extension of Galactic Civilizations (that should have happened a long time ago, i.e. in earlier versions of GC).