Episode 15: Tara Rodríguez Besosa


How does a farming community recover after a disaster? By coming together. Tara Rodríguez Besosa talks about Puerto Rico’s agricultural and economic situation, including the role that the US plays and, more importantly, the neighbors providing for one another in Puerto Rico’s food system. 

Hear how they started their own food journey when their mother left the city to become a farmer, then sold sprouts they grew in their city apartment at the farmers market, and then started big-picture thinking about how to support farmers on the island with the business that they cofounded, El Departamento de la Comida. In its earliest iteration, El Depa aggregated local produce for a multi-farm CSA, then became the only restaurant in Puerto Rico serving all Puerto Rican-produced foods. El Depa’s transition, after the 2017 hurricanes, into a nonprofit collective has allowed the entity to support farmers and food projects with the facilitation of work brigades, the sharing of tools and knowledge, and now a commercial kitchen. 

Tara offers their knowledge about how each of us can design a resource library for tools, seeds and education in our own farming communities. (Spoiler alert: It starts by asking your fellow land stewards about their needs!)

Finally, hear about the OtraCosa queer land collective and what it’s like to reinhabit a home and 8-acre property that’s been abandoned for 30 years.


The Jones Act

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National Tool Library Group

Up Beet! Seed Libraries Forum

El Departamento de la Comida website

El Depa on Instagram

Tara Rodríguez Besosa on Instagram

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