Meet the Mujeres Changing the Food Landscape

Meet the Mujeres Changing the Food Landscape

Here are some amazing healers, entrepreneurs, activists and game changers shifting the food landscape.

Mar 30, 2023

In honor of Women's History Month this month and all year round we’re celebrating and elevating these mujeres changing the food landscape that should be on everyone’s radar!

By Janel Martinez | @janelm

From the seeds that bloom into Latin American and Caribbean cuisine mainstays, like yuca, yautía and ñame, to the savory dishes that bring loved ones together no matter the occasion, comida is powerful. 

Comida can be used for feel-good moments celebrating la comunidad. But, the food industry can also be an inequitable space where not all cultures and identities are represented or celebrated, where many don’t have access to fresh or healthy ingredients, and where many of the unsung heroes in food production aren’t fairly compensated. Luckily, there are amazing activists, entrepreneurs, healers, and game changers shifting the food landscape. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of the women who are making waves in food. 

Erika and Janett Liriano

Did you know the Dominican Republic accounts for over 60 percent of organic cocoa exports? Despite being the leading exporter of organic cocoa globally, cocoa farmers in the DR struggled to receive equitable compensation for their labor. Not until Erika and Janett Liriano, co-founders of ethical cacao company Inaru, disrupted the agricultural industry. The Afro-Latina, sister-run business is ensuring that farmers benefit from the country’s commercial success of chocolate. In February 2023, the duo launched their first consumer product, Love More Boxes, sharing the profits with their farmers and producers. Inaru has raised $1.5 million in seed capital. 

Amberly Alene Ellis-Rodríguez

Documentarian, photographer and land justice advocate Amberly Alene Ellis-Rodríguez is providing invaluable resources to her community in Regla — one of the 15 municipios of Havana, Cuba — and beyond. In February 2018, Ellis-Rodríguez and her husband, Alexey Rodriguez, co-founded ReglaSoul, an urban farming and holistic wellness project for Afro-descendants in Cuba. Through events and workshops, the couple works alongside activists, artists, farmers and healers to center a range of wellness topics, including gardening in urban spaces and mental health. At the close of 2022, ReglaSoul shared the exciting news that they are back on the Rincón del Cristo Farm. “We are overflowing with gratitude for everyone who has continued to show their support through all of the challenges of protecting and cultivating land” they wrote on Instagram

Isha Gutierrez-Sumner

Actress and dancer-turned-cookbook author Isha Gutierrez-Sumner is introducing a global audience to Garifuna cuisine. Driven by a desire to celebrate Garifuna foodways, Gutierrez-Sumner founded the food platform and catering company called Weiga, Let’s Eat!, which is also the title of her forthcoming cookbook. Garinagu (plural for Garifuna), or Afro-Indigenous folk that hail from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and reside in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the larger diaspora, have many recipes that center coconut. Breads like durudia, a coconut milk-based flour tortilla, and kéké, as well as hudutu, can be recreated at home with Gutierrez-Sumner’s soon-to-be released cookbook.