Chosen for the CA Healthy Soils Initiative

Awarded for Regeneration

White Buffalo Land Trust has been selected by the California Department of Food and Agriculture as an award recipient of the Healthy Soils Initiative. Through annual soil monitoring and working closely with the Healthy Soils team over the next 3 years, White Buffalo Land Trust will use the $98,000 grant to accomplish the following:

  • Lead by demonstration, establishing a research and learning site that is contextually relevant for California’s central and southern bio-regions.

  • Develop and provide on-site trainings with other farmers, ranchers and community members to continue the growth of ecological literacy in our region.

  • Monitor the impacts of our regenerative agriculture principles, practices and techniques on the landscape through rigorous data collection and study.

  • Sequester an estimated 43.1 tons of Carbon over the course of the project.

As a demonstration and training site, we will have the opportunity to lead the growing number of farmers and ranchers seeking a new style of agriculture, one that builds soil health rather than depleting it.

We look forward to cultivating and collaborating with an engaged community of stakeholders and land stewards as we fulfill the work of this award.


Featured in Pacific Coast Business Times

"The Healthy Soils project provides baseline data that will be compared each spring to measure the changes in key indicators like soil organic carbon, nutrients and microbial activity. Having received more than $98,000 from the initiative, the White Buffalo project is expected to sequester 43.1 tons of carbon and will also serve as a Healthy Soils demonstration site."

Thank you to Marissa Nall for sharing more about White Buffalo Land Trust and what this award means for our region.


Thank you SB Foundation and CEC!

Earlier this year we were awarded a LEAF (Landscapes, Ecosystems, Agriculture, Food Systems) express grant to grow our capacity as a key contributor to our local food system. We put our award to work in the form of a utility trailer that increases our ability to participate in the nutrient cycling systems in our community. Our on-farm composting increases soil health, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Thank you for supporting our development!

Our Annual Report

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We've grown so much in the last year and are thrilled to share with you the whole picture of where we've come and where we are headed in 2019.

Our 3 areas of focus


To Practice, Promote, and Develop Systems of Regenerative Agriculture.

Our Focus:

• The growth of healthy soils

• The restoration of water cycles

• Increased carbon sequestration

• Remediation of toxins in our food system

• Increased nutrition and resiliency of plant and animal production

With our employees, partners, and volunteers, we engage in direct land stewardship, education and training programs, ongoing field research, and exemplary product development.


The roots of White Buffalo Land Trust reach back to the year 2001, when two white buffalo were born into a herd in Colorado. The buffalo calves were sisters and intended for sale to a casino until a group of Oglala Lakota relatives asked Lyndsey McMorrow and her mother Bobbie McMorrow to consider caring for and protecting the two buffalo on their land in Santa Ynez, California. Chumash and Lakota relatives gathered and gave instructions on how to look after the two calves.


Lyndsey and Bobbie looked after the white buffalo year after year and heard the continuing call to to serve. This calling led Lyndsey to a deep affinity for the developing work of regenerative agriculture. In 2016 Lyndsey participated in the Lead with Land program at the Paicines Ranch in California, which catalyzed her affinity into action. Unfortunately, Lyndsey’s health was deteriorating even as she sowed the seeds of the White Buffalo Land Trust. The intertwined destinies of Lyndsey and the white buffalo sisters continued; in November 2017 the first sister passed on, followed by Lyndsey three months later in February 2018.


Soon after Lyndsey’s passing, her husband Steve Finkel, with the support of her mother and father Bobbie and Bill McMorrow, founded White Buffalo Land Trust to fulfill the work Lyndsey inspired during her life. One of the white buffalo sisters grazes on the first tract of land managed by the Trust. The Trust now serves as a leader in regenerative agriculture in our region and a connected hub in the growing global movement; inspired by the message of the White Buffalo

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Steve is the founder and president of WBLT. He is committed to building the foundation into a permanent service organization that will adapt and evolve as regenerative agriculture becomes the standard for land stewardship. Steve brings with him decades of entrepreneurial, environmental, and private sector experience. He believes the most effective organization is built on the excellence and merit of the team; and the commitment to the core values of integrity, quality, and clarity in results-oriented and service-oriented pursuits.


Jesse is the Director of Land Stewardship and is guiding the development of our flagship farm as well as working with our team, contractors, and partners to grow the land under our management and the impact in our community. His passion and expertise in agricultural system design and community engagement are a cornerstone of our strategy to achieve a systemic paradigm shift towards a regenerative food economy and ecology.


Daniel was instrumental in our 2018 educational outreach working with teachers, trainers, farmers, and students to increase the ecological literacy of our community and prepare the next generation of land stewards.


Sarah has joined our team to support the growth of our exemplary products program. Sarah brings with her a strong science background in addition to her entrepreneurial experience in creating innovative market pathways and developing food economies based on regional food system connectivity.

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2018 Donors

Bobbie McMorrow • Bill McMorrow • Helton Law Group

Santa Barbara Foundation •

Ryan and Sarah Muzzy • Michael & Kelly Browne •

Ferber Law • M.K. Link Foundation (An American-Jewish Foundation) •

Zegar Family Fund • Buter, Buzard, Fishbein & Royce •

Aldo Seoane • David Haspel • William and Pam Campbell •

Bailey and Sheila Caldwell • Nancy Epstein • Stuart Tenhoor • John McMorrow •

Lisa Estrada • Kirk Pasich • Carla and Harvey Finkel • Mr. and Mrs. Scott Green •

Hollye and Jeff Jacobs • Jim and Ann Scarborough •

John Ohlgren • Eric Schiller •

Bocarsly LLP • Hogan Lovells • Sam Cole • Umanoff Family •

Greg and Beth Saltzberg • John W Gorrell Jr • Stephen Immelt • Michael Wagner •

William Belenger • Caroline Kuperstock • Theo & Becky Kracke • David Block & Sandra Kryst •

Daniel Encell • Judy Bain • Mairead Brumfitt • Jill Rosenthal • Zoe Smith Jaye • C. Brooke Temple •

Suzan Anderson • Mauricio Parra • Linda Prior • Jonathan Dibenedetto • Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP •

LoaCom • Howard Flack • Ina and Mark Lessem • Kara Peterson • Steve DiCarmine •

Teri Briskman Miller • Steven Davis • Karen Wagner • John Bohnet • Brian McWilliams •

Mary Heyden & David Anderson • Chris & Mike Connor • Debbie Bobrosky •

Dallas Dorsett Mathers • Bradford Douglas • Bonnie Saltzberg • Aaron Simon •

Richard & Maxine Simon • Mia Eden • Ari Katz • Isaak Rubin •

Ally Ferber • Andrew Ferber •

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Strategic Partners & Collaborators

White Buffalo Land Trust is committed to our regional work while also being part of a global network of changemakers shifting resources towards projects, people, and processes that value and benefit the ecosystem services that we all rely upon. We have been inspired by many and work closely with a select few. These are some of the organizations that we are excited to be working with:

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Points of Impact


A 12-acre demonstration site of regenerative agriculture principles, practices, and techniques in active food production aimed at verified ecological outcomes.

• Complete redesign and installation of agriculture systems using Regrarians platform and methodology.

• Regional example of the transition from an input-heavy mono-culture avocado orchard into an reduced input, multi-strata agroforestry orchard system.

• Transition to climate appropriate crops, high diversity cover crops, building pollinator populations, and nutrient cycling.

• Development work on static aerated composting systems aimed at soil innoculation for efficient increase in biodiversty.

• Living training site for current and future land stewards including the Savory International Holistic Management training and the Kiss The Ground Farmland Program.

• Living classroom for local and regional stakeholders including students, educators, food service professionals, healthcare providers, and public policy professionals.

• Living test site for ongoing field study with our research and science collaborators.



White Buffalo Land Trust has been selected as a 2019 Hub Candidate for Savory International. This offers us the unique opportunity to bring the resources of Holistic Land and Grazing Management to our region.

• In 2018 we hosted two 3-day courses at our flagship farm facilitated by Savory colleague Spencer Smith from the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management.

• Our hosted trainings included more than 20 land stewards tending over 10,000 acres


• White Buffalo Land Trust is leading current and future land stewards through the detailed planning framework pioneered by Darren Daugherty in Australia.

• Regrarians is a methodology for site specific land planning, assessment, implementation, and reporting.


• White Buffalo Land Trust is training our team and others in the innovative work of Gabe Brown, Allen Williams, and Ray Archuleta. These multi-day intensive trainings are focused on soil health principles and practices.

• In 2018 we sponsored 5 team members at the Academy.



• Ongoing program designed to introduce the broader community to actionable thought leaders in the field of regenerative agriculture.

• Collaborative approach to building ecological literacy in the community through the use of diverse co-sponsors including Community Environmental Council, Land Trust for Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

• Talk #1: “Prescribed Herbivory for Fire Abatement” introduced the detailed capacity and functionality of utilizing animal systems to increase soil health and ecosystem function while providing effective fire abatement.

• Talk #2: “Regeneration from a Watershed Perspective” presented the value, process, and efficacy of designing ecosystem management practices and policies from a watershed scope.

• Next Speaker Series event will be February 21, 2019 and feature Jack Algiere, Farm Director of Stone Barns Center in New York.


• Introduced and curated two elective courses that allowed middle school students to participate first hand in regenerative agriculture.

• Elective #1: “Beyond Gardening: How Your Garden can Regenerate the World” introduced the basic principles of regenerative agriculture in the context of the school garden.

• Elective #2: “Living SB: A backstage pass to Santa Barbara’s ecological hotspots” offered a series of field trips to examine and explore how and where the local ecology is thriving, being protected and researched, and how a vibrant ecology supports and sustains local business and community.


Our research and field study efforts are aimed clearly at creating validated, verified, and documented positive ecological outcomes related to soil health, increased carbon sequestration, improved water cycles, improved nutrient cycles, and increased nutrition and resiliency in plant and animal crops. Our current work includes:

• Compost Bioreactors Systems based on the work of Dr. David Johnson of Chico State

• Carbon Sequestration and Soil Health studies with partners Soil Life of UC Davis

• Cover Cropping studies and Holistic Managed Grazing with Susan Cousineau M.S.c.

• Implementation of Savory Ecological Outcome Verification protocols

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The evolution and expansion of our land stewardship, education and training, and scientific research programs is our core strategic goal in 2019. This includes:

• Continued development of the regenerative agricultural systems on the flagship farm

• Increased educational offerings including tours on the farm

• Additional Land Stewardship training programs

• More data collection and documentation of practices, techniques, and outcomes


In 2019 we intend to introduce a food brand based on a 100% commitment to the development of regenerative agriculture. Our core brand values:

• Growing a complete regenerative agriculture supply system

• Promoting climate appropriate crops through product innovation

• Developing farming practices that build soil health instead of depleting it

• Selecting ingredients grown and processed to provide superior nutrient content and availability

• Formulation of delicious and unique flavor profiles

• Investment in the ongoing transition of farm and ranch land to regenerative principles and practices

• Supporting the ongoing transition to Ecological Outcome Verification


In 2019 we intend to develop a broadacre commercial site, up to 1000 acres in size, to compliment our current demonstration flagship farm. The commercial scale operation will use regenerative principles and practices in the active production of diverse plant and animal systems supported by ecological outcome verification. In addition, the site will support intensive education, training, and research initiatives across the entire western region. Objectives include:

• Earthworks to replenish groundwater availability

• Holistic Managed Grazing for grassland restoration and carbon sequestration

• Dryland agroforestry for water efficient, nutrient dense food production

• Application of compost extract soil inoculant for increased diversity in soil biology

• Oak woodland and riparian restoration for native species habitat development

• Regional Training Hub for graziers and active commercial land stewards

• University collaboration for long-term research studies

• Integration of regenerative food production within existing conservation lands

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Financial Overview


Mentioned in Forbes

“Five Lessons For Making Change From 18 Impact-Driven Farmers”

After attending the Farmer Entrepreneurship Intensive at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, our Director of Land Stewardship, Jesse Smith, was mentioned in this Forbes article, written by Nell Derick Debevoise. Thank you for the feature and thank you to Jesse for your dedication and commitment to land stewardship!

Celeb chef (and Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef and co-owner), Dan Barber, spent time with the farm-preneurs over the week. Picture Credit: Will Rosenzweig

Celeb chef (and Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef and co-owner), Dan Barber, spent time with the farm-preneurs over the week. Picture Credit: Will Rosenzweig

“I had the pleasure of starting and ending one of the last weeks of 2018 at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a working farm that views itself as a “laboratory dedicated to sustainable farming practices,” and also home to the world-renowned restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I was there to observe portions of their first-ever Entrepreneurship Intensive, which gathered 18 ‘farm-preneurs’ from around the country to learn from each other, the Stone Barns team, and entrepreneurship experts, including William Rosenzweig, a UC Berkeley professor and long-time social enterprise champion. As I hoped, both events I attended were deliciously enhanced by Blue Hill food, including the so-simple, but delicious radishes, which epitomize the natural beauty and nourishment for which Stone Barns farmers, and all of the 18 farm-preneurs in the Intensive, work so hard to grow…”

… “Jesse Smith, of the White Buffalo Land Trust, for one, is transitioning legacy farms into integrated agricultural systems that showcase regenerative techniques, with an explicit commitment to education and training so their impact reaches beyond the White Buffalo acreage…”

Read more at .