Stem cells and their progenitors are maintained within a microenvironment, termed the niche, through local cell-cell communication. Systemic signals originating outside the niche also affect stem cell and progenitor behavior. This review summarizes studies that pertain to nutritional effects on stem and progenitor cell maintenance and proliferation in Drosophila. Multiple tissue types are discussed that utilize the insulin-related signaling pathway to convey nutritional information either directly to these progenitors or via other cell types within the niche. The concept of systemic control of these cell types is not limited to Drosophila and may be functional in vertebrate systems, including mammals.