Changing the World for the Better, One Meal at a Time

By MaryRose Denton

A recent Sunday evening, I find myself sitting next to my favorite guy, outside a local downtown Bellingham, WA, brewery. We are sipping our cool ales and enjoying the last rays of a waning sun. A feeling of peace and normalcy flutters around on the light breeze. What could make this delightful scene even better?

Dinner, from my favorite food truck!

Outside the brewery, the familiar green food truck with the fist logo is parked off to one side. This is Sage Against the Machine. Owners Tara and Nate Johnson have been inside all afternoon cooking and serving up their version of down-home vegan fare, with a flair! Come early, is the best advice, for even though their open hours list until 7pm, they typically sell out each evening.

How it all Began

Tara’s quest began seven years ago. She desired a healthier lifestyle, experimenting with various vegan recipes to find the ones her family would enjoy. Her love for cooking quickly turned into a passion. What she did not expect was to find love, community, and a sustainable small business. She took all her favorite recipes and turned them vegan. Now they are what’s for dinner on the menu.

She has been an off-and-on vegan for most of her life. As someone who loves to throw big dinner parties and feed people, opening a food truck seemed like a natural extension for her tasty talents.

It was her read of the book, Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone which changed her view on food. “I woke up to what is in our food and what is being done to it.”, Tara said. For this reason, she chose the name Sage Against the Machine, inspired by the ‘90s alternative rock band, Rage Against the Machine, whose music and lyrics spoke to action and revolutionary change. Tara and Nate hold the same intention, hoping to inspire positive change in the food industry. “Changing the world for the better, one meal at a time”.

Tara grew up in Oregon, moving around some before finding her way to Bellingham. Once she did, she knew this was her community. She was home.

Finding love, community, and a new adventure. It also led her to love…..

Going Wild at Cafe Wylde

P stands for Plant-based

Plant-based. What is it?

“We offer local, vegan, and organic food straight from the earth”, reads the sign of Café Wylde in Everett, WA. It is a late February day and uncommonly dry for the Pacific Northwest. I stand on the sidewalk and wait for my friend to arrive for our late afternoon dinner. Both of us just had birthdays and this is our celebration together. Knowing I am vegetarian, she suggested a “plant-based” restaurant. This may conjure a picture of tie-dyed hippies with long hair and Birkenstocks serving behind the counter but today “plant-based” diets reach across many demographics.

There are several derivations for the term, “plant-based”, encompassing diets which exclude red meat to the more commonly associated vegan diet. It is the latter which most people may think of when seeing this description on a menu. Wikipedia says it this way, “a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products.”

People may choose “plant-based” diet for a variety of reasons. Ethical, environmental, and health are usually the most common reasons leading someone to alter their food habits.

At Café Wylde, they encourage that extra leap of health by using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Keeping it local reduces the carbon footprint as well as ensures the highest nutrient value because the produce is picked daily, from the field to your table.

Along with creative and delicious main dishes, there are a variety of healthy teas, smoothies, and fresh juices all prepared in house and on the spot at Café Wylde.  The women who dreamed this vision also incorporate gratitude as their motivation behind the scenes.  Gratitude for the planet, its abundance, but most of all for the support of customers celebrating their birthdays.