Sage Against the Machine

If you haven’t yet heard of Sage Against the Machine, you will soon enough. Believed to be Bellingham’s first from-scratch, dairy-free, meat-free, and mostly gluten- and soy-free food truck, Sage Against the Machine has the power to convince the meatiest of meat-eaters that eating plant-based food can actually be enjoyable. From BBQ jackfruit nachos ($12) to potato- and carrot-based mac n’ cheese ($6 small/ $10 large), co-owners Tara and Nate Johnson are making it easy to eat vegan.

The newlyweds embarked on their foodie adventure just before tying the knot in June 2018. Both bring more than 20 years of restaurant experience to the table, along with an abundance of excitement and drive. Tara has been vegan off-and-on for decades and shaped the food truck’s menu from her own personal favorites. Each menu item is homemade and locally sourced, she says, with nothing processed. “By making everything from scratch, [our customers] know what they’re getting,” Tara says. “You feel good after you eat it. You realize you’re not missing cheese, you’re not missing meat. It’s just good food.”

Despite being raised in Montana on meat and potatoes, Nate isn’t finding it difficult to eat vegan. With meals that resemble what he knows and loves like Sage’s tangy Cilantro Lime Burrito ($12) and flavorful Southwest nachos ($12), he says it doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on anything. Many of Sage’s customers agree. Nate and Tara are full of stories of customers whose outlook has been changed by the truck’s food. One customer, upon trying a sample of their nachos, started dancing. “I never do this,” the customer said. “You guys are just making me want to dance.”

Serving food on the streets seems to suit the couple, who find joy in fostering relationships with their customers and bringing food to as many people and communities as they can. The name “Sage Against the Machine” resembles the politically revolutionary 90s band Rage Against the Machine. The food truck is built on a similar desire for change. “The way to get to people is through food,” Tara says. “If people aren’t afraid of eating vegan and realize what good food is available, the rest of the conscious mind falls into place as far as thinking about the earth and our health.” The community has rallied around the couple, whose enthusiasm and passion is making a real change. Nate sums up their mission perfectly: “We’re putting out great food, and it’s making people smile.”

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"'You guys are just making me want to dance.'"