A well-known Los Angeles vegan restaurant announced that it would begin to incorporate animal products into its menu this past April.

Sage Plant Based Bistro, the restaurant in question, has stated that it will add dishes with animal products that have been raised through regenerative farming practices starting on May 29. Regenerative farming is a method that aims to reduce the dependency on chemicals, as well as promote biodiversity in crop and livestock raising. The restaurant will also rebrand its name to Sage Regenerative Kitchen and Brewery.

Sage chef-owner Mollie Engelhart stated in an open letter, “I no longer feel that a vegan lifestyle for all is a viable solution for the planet and its soil which is one of our most precious resources.”

Engelhart has also stated that the restaurant has not been profitable since 2020. The restaurant has already closed one location in Agoura Hills and converted its Culver City location into a take-out-only space.

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“People are not going to stop eating meat, so why not offer an option where it is done right,” Englehart said.

Engelhart sold the Sow a Heart farm in Fillmore, California this past December. The farm—which provided up to 25% of the restaurant’s produce—continues to receive orders from Sage.

However, the announcement of the change sparked backlash on Instagram, upon which multiple commenters shared they would no longer support the business.

Amber Canavan, a vegan campaigns project manager for PETA, said that Sage Bistro “is trying to rebrand itself as a champion of the environment while serving meat, and it’s like a firefighter spraying fuel on the flames and saying they’re doing something to help.”

Engelhart defended the changes in an open letter as part of her shift in thinking about how to protect the planet. She pointed toward the changes after the pandemic and the proliferation of vegan-based options as reasons for the change.

“It’s vulnerable to publicly say, ‘I believed one thing, and maybe I was wrong and now I believe something else,'” Engelhart said. “I hope that it inspires people in their own lives to be willing to be open-minded when something else makes more sense to you.”

The restaurant, according to Engelhart, will still offer vegan operations, and she added that regenerative farming could provide a common meeting point for people with different dietary preferences. “All of these people should be able to come together for foods with less chemicals,” Engelhart said.

According to the website of Regenerative Farmers of America, regenerative farming is an approach to agriculture that not only prioritizes soil health and biodiversity but also the natural processes that go along with it.

While traditionally farmed fields tend to rely on chemicals and focus only on single crops at a time, regenerative farmers “use a variety of practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, reduced tillage, and the integration of livestock to improve soil health, conserve water, and promote biodiversity.”

The association claims that the practices involve creating greater, more nutrient-dense produce, and improve not just the yield of the crops but also create drought-resistant soil.