Cultivating a California delicacy on the Gaviota Coast.
Founded in 2018, White Buffalo Land Trust (WBLT) seeks to inspire the broad adoption of regenerative agricultureEnvironmental Regeneration: Systems of growing food that reclaim carbon and nutrients on the land by increasing biodiversity, building soil health, and improving watersheds to produce healthier food and lessen the impacts of climate change. through direct land stewardship, community education and training, ongoing field research to monitor the impacts of regenerative practices, and enterprise development. “Our primary goal is to restore ecosystems through agriculture,” said Jesse Smith, Director of Land Stewardship. “As we grow our crops, we are creating positive outcomes in soil health, the water cycle, and the ecosystem as a whole.” WBLT models this approach to ecosystem restoration at two distinct properties in our region: the flagship farm in Summerland and the Center for Regenerative Agriculture at Jalama Canyon Ranch near Lompoc.
The latter, located just eight miles from the Point of Conception at the tip of the Gaviota Coast, was acquired in April 2021 and serves as a 1,000-acre living laboratory and training ground for the next generation of land stewards. Over the past year, Jalama Canyon Ranch’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture has trained more than 125 land stewards on how to transition from conventional to regenerative agriculture, influencing 75,000-plus acres of farm and ranch land. Hands-on courses, community education offerings, and consulting programs demonstrate to participants how local solutions can lead to regional and global impact through shared data and models, and by linking practices to outcomes.
Aside from land stewards, consumers can also have a significant impact on environmental regenerationEnvironmental Regeneration: Systems of growing food that reclaim carbon and nutrients on the land by increasing biodiversity, building soil health, and improving watersheds to produce healthier food and lessen the impacts of climate change. efforts by voting with their fork. WBLT launched Figure Ate Foods in early 2020 to preserve and transform raw ingredients into delicious value-added products that inform consumers about and promote the benefits of regenerative practices. Through partnerships with regenerative farms, ranches, and food producers, WBLT creates food products that are regionally sourced and inspired – and that rebuild the connection between our health and the health of the environment. Figure Ate Foods’ flagship product, persimmon vinegar, is made exclusively from fruit sourced from orchards across Santa Barbara County and Central California. This traditionally fermentedFermentation: Fermentation is an ancient technique of preserving food. Fermentation is a natural process through which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria convert carbs — such as starch and sugar — into alcohol or acids. superfood vinegar makes efficient and delicious use of the bounty of climate-smartClimate-Smart Agriculture: According to the UNFCC, it is an approach for developing agricultural strategies to secure sustainable food security under climate change. Climate-smart agriculture takes the local context into account and ultimately listens to the local community about the approach that best fits their reality. persimmons found in our region while providing an opportunity for the consumer to learn through eating.
Through its training programs and products, WBLT is paving the way for a more resilient food system by demonstrating how land stewardship and localizing the foodshedClimate-Smart Agriculture: A localized food system encompasses the closed-loop path of food as it moves from farm to table within the same region, including where it is grown, processed, distributed, consumed, and disposed of. can directly address some of the most pressing issues we face today – climate change, biodiversity loss, food security, and supply chain shortages.
White Buffalo Land Trusts’ Holistic Management Intensive Course offers a systems approach to the management of livestock operations.