September 2018

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Welcome to the first White Buffalo Land Trust monthly update. I’m thrilled to introduce you to our team and spotlight the work we are doing on our flagship farm, in the lab, and at the Santa Barbara Middle School. Our work is expanding rapidly as the focus on Regenerative Agriculture is quickly spreading to a wider audience. 

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In the coming months we will share details as we add acreage to our land management program, roll-out additional education and training programs, and launch new field research. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from our team members, scientists, and the partners we are engaging with as we grow Regenerative Agriculture in this region.

Of course, we will definitely share events and activities that you can get involved in – getting everyone together makes this work joyful. 

I would like to thank each of you for following our work; and thank again each of our initial donor-investors who have contributed to where we are and where we are going. We are committed to creating long-term return and impact from every dollar invested with us. Thank you for your trust and support.

Steve Finkel
Founder and President


Jesse Smith is our Director of Land Stewardship. He is guiding the development of our flagship farm in Summerland as well as working with the rest of our team, contractors, and partners to grow the amount of land under our management, and the impact within our community.

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We put the principles of Regenerative Agriculture into practice on the land to increase biodiversity, enrich our soils, improve watersheds, and enhance ecosystem services for our community. We capture as much carbon in the soil and aboveground biomass as we can to contribute to the global imperative of atmospheric carbon drawdown and climate stability. 

Successful land stewardship at WBLT optimizes yields from diverse cropping systems, minimizes inputs, increases resilience to climate volatility, improves the health and vitality of our farming and ranching communities, and produces nutrient dense produce and products.  


Daniel Parra Hensel is our Director of Learning & Engagement. He is working with educators, trainers, and students of all ages to increase the ecological literacy of our community, and prepare the next generation of land stewards.

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As we better understand the interconnectedness of the natural systems of our world and the relationship between human health and ecosystem health, we have identified the need for expanded ecological literacy throughout the population. In order to activate the regenerative systems of agriculture, we need stakeholders in all facets of our food system to make decisions that consider the impacts on the larger systems in which agriculture is nested.

Education and training are core facets of our organization and how we develop our team, as well as the community around us. Our engagement extends to farmers, teachers, doctors, chefs, politicians, parents, and children of all ages as we re-envision how we are all stewards of healthy soil through the decisions we make. 


Through our work on agricultural landscapes and in the ‘classroom’ we continue a thread of rigorous scientific research, gathering of baseline metrics and data, and the production and evolution of our protocols and methods of investigation.

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To better understand the causation between agricultural practices and the outcomes of regeneration we intend to document the current state and change of state over time. 

We are working with researchers, organizations, and field experts to undertake studies that are aligned with our land stewardship objectives of soil health, water resources, biodiversity, and nutrient density in our food. We work to inform our community of how decisions large and small impact the health of our soil systems, human health, community resilience, and more broadly the economy and ecology. Our science partners on the Summerland farm are from Soil Life (, an organization based out of UC Davis and on a mission to change the way we look at soil. 

Regen Co-op at Summerland

As we develop the systems of Regenerative Agriculture within our bioregion, we are also supporting the development of the practitioners who steward the systems and enterprises as they evolve. Human systems are as integral to the systems of Regenerative Agriculture as the plant, animal, microbial and fungal communities that we grow. 

We have partnered with the Regenerative Landscape Alliance ( for our ‘on-the-ground’ landscaping duties. Their team brings a set of expertise in rainwater harvesting earthworks, irrigation systems, water management, and water wise, native, and Mediterranean landscapes. Their organization is a member owned cooperative dedicated to a collaborative process that leverages the diversity of perspective, expertise, and strengths to effectively achieve desired outcomes.


Environmental Education at SBMS

White Buffalo Land Trust and Santa Barbara Middle School are partnering to offer students two elective courses this Fall:

1. “Beyond Gardening: How Your Garden can Regenerate the World” 
This Monday-Thursday elective will take place in the campus garden where students will evaluate different gardening systems and the benefits they have on the environment, communities, and our lifestyle. Identifying microclimate and calculating the sun's path, understanding rainwater catchment, plant propagation, food preparation, and landscape planning are some of the skills students will gain.

2. “Living SB: A Backstage Pass to Santa Barbara's Ecological Hotspots” 
This Friday elective will take weekly field trips exploring santa barbara’s bioregion and meeting the land stewards who are supporting ecosystem health. Site visits will include The Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, The Lifescape Garden at Santa Barbara City College, the Green Lab at Santa Barbara High School, The Monarch Restaurant, and White Buffalo Land Trust. Students will understand the different ways in which ecologically oriented businesses and organizations thrive and support the regeneration of local ecosystems, communities, and economies. 


Thanks for reading today. Over the coming months we will be actively expanding our role in Regenerative Agriculture in this region. We will be adding acres under our regenerative land management, increasing our education and training programs, and initiating new field studies and research. Please continue to engage with us on socials for real time updates, on the web, through the newsletters and if you can... let us know when you want to get your hands dirty!