Food is one of the resources in Black & White 1 and its sequel. It can be obtained from fields, fish farms, animals and naturally, the food miracle. Gathered food is taken to the village store (or left around the village on the ground if no store is present) and deposited in piles.
Villagers cannot die from a lack of food. However, they become slower and less efficient without food, and will also become much less happy and faithful, making them more likely to leave your settlements or defect to another god.
It's still a good idea keeping the villagers fed, as they'll stop whatever they're doing to obtain food; plus it keeps them happy and more faithful, making it harder for enemy gods to impress them. They will also work harder when well-fed.