SAFN is pleased to announce that the 2021 Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right Student Award winner is Ileana Diaz, of the University of Waterloo for her research on “Navigating Food Futures: Post-Disaster Food Sovereignty in Puerto Rico.” Ileana Diaz’s project impressed reviewers because of its contemporary significance in understanding food sovereignty and security in the context of disasters. Diaz will observe firsthand the experiences and practices of food production in Puerto Rico and has a strong publication record and experience in the region.
Ileana I. Diaz is an Afro-Caribbean feminist multi/transdisciplinary researcher currently living on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral peoples. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo. Broadly her academic work explores the politics of race, gender, imperialism, and environmental issues – especially as they intersect with food systems. She is a SSHRC Bombardier Doctoral Scholar, American Geographical Society Council Graduate Fellow, and the recipient of five teaching awards.
Building on earlier work in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean which started in 2015, Diaz’s dissertation project, Navigating Food Futures: Post-Disaster Food Sovereignty in Puerto Rico, is ongoing work which seeks to understand constraints in the lives of individuals, communities, and their food system. In 2021, Puerto Ricans continue to face compounded precarities amidst an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the context of economic, political, and ecological uncertainty, one of the most pressing concerns for Puerto Ricans now and in the future, will be its food supply. To that end, Diaz explores the possibilities for food sovereignty.