WEA Women in Action
Tara Rodríguez Besosa
Decolonizing Borikén (Puerto Rico) through food.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Affiliations & Roles
Co-Founder, El Departamento de la Comida
Tara (she/they/ellx) was born and raised mostly in coastal Santurce in Puerto Rico. Tara graduated from Pratt Institute School of Architecture in her former life, and for the past decade has supported the design of El Departamento de la Comida, a one-of-a-kind food hub in Puerto Rico. An Organizer, entrepreneur, and living resource within the sustainable + cuir food and agroecology movements, Tara has increased access to local food economies, spotlighting the value of farmers within economic transitions from extractive to regenerative practices. Tara is a part of developing a web of consumers, cooks, restaurants, environmental organizations, policy makers, farms, community gardens, artists, medicine makers and elders, that together are decolonizing Borikén and other marginalized communities through food.
El Departamento de la Comida began as a multi-farmer online CSA that was co-founded by Tara, and later moved into a working class neighborhood. They soon added a store, began hosting workshop and events, distributed food to restaurants, launched a commercial kitchen with their own food products, and now has Puerto Rico's only restaurant where all the ingredients are from local agro-ecological farms. Tara’s food hub was hit hard in 2017 by two hurricanes. Tara and her team reopened in 2019 as a non-profit collective, focusing their programming to creating resilient and replicable models of shared resources. Tara’s long term goal is to decolonize Borikén through food by creating a local food culture that decreases imports, therefore ensuring freshness and increased access to land for small sustainable farmers. Tara’s vision is to aid in the transition from monoculture into decentralized small- and medium-sized farms that use regenerative practices. Tara is also investing her time in OtraCosa, a queer collective rural homestead.