A Living Laboratory for Regenerative Agriculture

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022

White Buffalo Land Trust has a vital purpose: to restore the ecosystem through agriculture and in the process directly address the climate, biodiversity, public health, and food security challenges we face today. It’s not a pipe dream for the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit as the trust has created the Center for Regenerative Agriculture at its 1,000-acre Jalama Canyon Ranch.  

The ranch is perfectly suited for this reimagining of agriculture as Jalama possesses all five of the primary ecological sites of Mediterranean climates: Grasslands, Oak Woodlands, Vineyards & Orchards, Sage Scrub, and Riparian Corridors. 

“We’re in a unique position with the opportunity to steward this 1,000-acre ranch,” says Founder and President Steve Finkel. “It’s truly a living laboratory that allows us to engage with each ecological site to grow food, fiber, and more in ways that create positive ecological outcomes. Our work supports climate, human, and soil health while bringing the bounty of the land into the marketplace.”

White Buffalo employs innovative monitoring and data collection systems to quantify their impacts and support research through its university partners including UCSB and Cal Tech. In turn, they share the knowledge through diverse education and training programs to raise the ecological literacy of the whole community.

The need for bold ideas and impactful change in agriculture is critical. According to NOAA, the Coastal Curve from Santa Barbara through Los Angeles to the Mexican border is warming at double the rate of the continental U.S. Transitioning to regenerative agriculture offers solutions to climate change and builds more resilient and healthier communities. 

Even though Jalama has only been operational for 18 months, White Buffalo has already trained 125 farmers and ranchers in regenerative principles and food grown at the ranch is making its way to the marketplace. 

“We are just scratching the surface of what’s possible,” says Finkel. “Every day, every growing season, we better understand the relationships between agriculture and ecology, refining our ability to accelerate ecological restoration through agriculture. We’re just getting started!”


White Buffalo Land Trust

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(805) 637-5497
Director of Programs and Engagement: Ana Smith


White Buffalo Land Trust practices, promotes, and develops systems of regenerative agriculture for local, regional, and global impact.

We are committed to the evolution of land stewardship and the redesign of our food system to directly address the climate, biodiversity, public health, and food security challenges that we face today.

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

This is a life-changing training course for those interested in improving the ecological outcomes of our planet through regenerative agriculture! I am grateful for the opportunity to learn in such an inspiring setting with a supportive community of practitioners. This course is revolutionary in restoring our environment and also restoring ourselves so that we can effectively restore the environment.
Holistic Management Training
Course Student

What We Need: A Global Imperative with a Local Solution

White Buffalo Land Trust is currently seeking $1.5 million to endow the Director of Land Stewardship position in perpetuity; a position of leadership catalyzing the adoption of regenerative agriculture locally, regionally, and globally. 

Contributors can rest assured that those dollars are spent responsibly. “The enterprise part of our organization puts us in an equally competitive environment as any for-profit entity, as part of our mission to demonstrate  regenerative agriculture as the new business as usual,” says Finkel, a former investment manager. “We treat the philanthropic dollars that we receive as investments and we take an incredible amount of pride in how we steward those donations. We seek to provide a capital return on every donation, whether it’s ecological, intellectual, or financial.”

Key Supporters

Manitou Fund
Roberto Foundation
WOKA Foundation
JS Bower Foundation
GA Fowler Family Foundation
TomKat Education Foundation
Coyuchi Philanthropy Fund
Dancing Tides Foundation
Natalie Orfalea Foundation
Brownstein, Farber, Hyatt, Schreck
McMorrow Family Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Zegar Family Fund
Gardner Grout Foundation
Saxon Family Fund
Williams Corbett Foundation
Cienega Capital
Land Trust for
Santa Barbara County
Gaviota Coast Conservancy
Santa Barbara Food
Action Network
CA Dept of Agriculture
US Dept of Agriculture