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Food Sovereignty Case Study: El Departamento de la Comida

Project Overview

Graduate student Denise Reibel will intern with El Departamento de la Comida (El DEPA), in Puerto Rico and develop a case study chronicling the history, successes and principles of practice for the organization. El DEPA is a food hub and a mutual aid organization, and a partner in the EFOD network. El DEPA is developing a model for other communities to achieve food sovereignty. Reibel will develop a case study describing the history of El DEPA and the work they have done on the island. As a U.S. territory, El DEPA faces unique struggles when it comes to political agency and creating island sustainable food systems. Reibel will research/learn about the island’s complex food policy issues, interview key stakeholders, and attend events organized by El DEPA. The goal is to create an overview to support other organizations seeking a community-driven model of food sovereignty in a US territory. This project is part of an emerging series of case studies will serve as an example of how community organizations can address food sovereignty.



  • Denise Reibel, Duke Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Dr. Jay Pearson, Duke Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Jennifer Zuckerman, Duke World Food Policy Center
  • El Departamento de la Comida (El DEPA), Puerto Rico