Tagan Engel has over 25 years of experience in reshaping local and regional food systems, developing digital communications, inspiring community organization and engagement, and innovating beyond traditional business models.
Based in her hometown of New Haven, CT Tagan is deeply connected to local and national networks. She centers her work on active listening, redistributing power and resources, and building understanding across communities and sectors to support transformational change.
Following a decade as a chef and food entrepreneur in New York City and Boston, Tagan merged her love of food and dedication to social justice and began a path in community-based food justice in New Haven. Here, she has worked on sustainable food procurement and workers’ rights issues in small businesses and institutions including Blue State Coffee, Yale University, and New Haven Public Schools. Through her position as Community Food Systems Coordinator at CitySeed, Tagan oversaw community-driven work on food access, connecting rural farms and urban communities, culturally relevant cooking education and connected local efforts with regional and national networks.
In 2016 Tagan established the radio show, podcast and website The Table Underground, where she records stories for transformative change through the topics of food, radical love, anti-racism and creative social justice work. She was a 2018 Inspiring Equity Fellow with the Graustein Memorial Fund, which supported her work to record stories on Equity in Education.
Tagan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Soul Fire Farm, a Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. She continues to mentor community-based food and social ventures with Collab, an organization supporting entrepreneurial leaders in Connecticut to shape communities from within. Tagan previously served on the New Haven Food Policy Council, advised on the establishment of the ConnCAT Culinary Arts Academy, and was a Mentor in Residence to entrepreneurs at the TSAI Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale.
Tagan lives in New Haven with her husband, two children and extended family. She is an Ashkenazi Jew, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors who led a revolt and escaped from the death camp Sobibor and is an Initiate in the Yoruba Orisa tradition. She can often be found cooking and sharing food, connecting people, and loving up on her community near and far.
Tagan is leading CBEY's new discussion group Power & Race in Community, Business, and the Environment. She's excited to connect with students in the areas of food systems, environmental justice, entrepreneurship, equity and inclusion in organizations & businesses, working with New Haven communities. You can schedule office hours with Tagan here.