Lyndsey’s Legacy

By Giving List Staff   |   October 29, 2021

Long before she got sick, Lyndsey McMorrow believed it was possible for people to be conscious stewards of the earth. A turning point in her understanding was a trip to Paicines Ranch in 2016, where she participated in the Lead with Land program and became inspired by the potential of a little known but growing area of study: regenerative agriculture. McMorrow returned to Santa Barbara and poured herself into this learning, exploring the complex, but intuitive, practices that can restore ecosystems, improve soil health and biodiversity, recharge water cycles, and help to balance the climate. Lyndsey never got to see the organization she inspired; she passed away in February of 2018.

McMorrow’s husband, Steve Finkel, who shared her passion for the environment and conservation, started the White Buffalo Land Trust in her honor in the days after her passing. Lyndsey’s parents Bobbie and Bill, along with other close family and friends, were the founding supporters. The legacy Lyndsey left behind has quickly become a leader in regenerative agriculture and is supporting change locally, regionally, and globally.

Regenerative agriculture has the potential to provide meaningful work and living wages to farmers while feeding millions of people, sequestering large amounts of atmospheric carbon into the soil, building our freshwater resources, and improving wildlife habitat. White Buffalo Land Trust is a rapidly emerging leader in the space and is delivering real impact through their four fields of focus: direct land stewardship, education and training, scientific research, and enterprise. The enterprise piece, says Steve Finkel, is “how we make regenerative agriculture the new ‘business as usual;’ where we bring all we have learned to the marketplace and we can support businesses to evolve agricultural systems and offer customers products that align with their values.”

White Buffalo’s beginnings and proof of concept is a 12-acre farm in Summerland that has been developed into a community demonstration, learning, and teaching nexus for regenerative agriculture principles, practices, and techniques. The success at Summerland and the need for broad scale change inspired the Campaign for Jalama and the successful acquisition of the Jalama Canyon Ranch, a 1,000-acre jewel on the Gaviota coast. The Ranch is developing into a center for education and training, scientific research, and removing the barriers to rapid and broad adoption of regenerative agriculture. The Summerland and Jalama sites demonstrate how we can restore the ecosystem through agriculture and directly address the climate, biodiversity, public health, and food security challenges we face today.

This is done by changing the way we grow keystone crops like beef, grapes, almonds, cotton, and avocados; by expanding other climate beneficial crops like persimmons and elderberries, and by monitoring the ecological functions of the land to ensure farming practices are creating positive outcomes and stimulating positive feedback loops. These changes can sequester significant amounts of atmospheric carbon into the soil, increase biodiversity, and rebuild our freshwater resources. White Buffalo Land Trust gives farmers the tools they need to lead this transition and also hosts public and private tours, school tours, hands-on workshops, and farmer and rancher trainings, offering the opportunity for all to engage with this type of agriculture first-hand.“What we are trying to model in our work is that we can transcend the concept of doing less harm. How we raise and grow our food has the power to change our world for the better, and we owe it to ourselves and future generations to unlock that potential. Doing less bad is no longer good enough,” Finkel says. “That’s a huge consciousness shift for us as an economy and as a society.”


White Buffalo Land Trust

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(818) 426-1398
Director of Development: Sam Franz

Together We Are a Restorative Force

Together, we have the opportunity to bring a different perspective of optimism to some of the most daunting challenges we face today.

At our 1,000-acre Center for Regenerative Agriculture at Jalama Canyon Ranch, we are practicing, promoting, and developing systems of regenerative agriculture for local, regional, and global impact through our hands-on land stewardship, data collection and monitoring, and education and training programs. We are reimagining a resilient and nourishing food system.

We don’t have to settle for sustaining depleted resources. We can do better than that. We have the ability, the capacity, and the skills to implement these practices and be genuine positive stewards of this planet. Check out this short film to see our relentless optimism in practice.


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

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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.

Our partnership with White Buffalo Land Trust is much more than philanthropic; their team inspires and educates our employees who in turn research and design regenerative goods and products that end up in the global marketplace. I believe what White Buffalo is doing is urgent for our planet and that our local partnership with them is creating global impact and expanding our larger strategy of putting our values to work.
Dave Powers, President and CEO of Deckers Brands

Be a Part of the Climate Solution

“We have assembled this incredible team at White Buffalo who are literally day by day implementing solutions that can change the world,” says Founder and President Steve Finkel.  Every donation will be put to use to advance the mission and address the environmental, climate, and biodiversity crises we face today. White Buffalo relies on individual donor support for 65% of their projects. 

“I believe today that we are in such a moment of imperative that there’s an application for every investment, because there is so much to be done,” insists Finkel. If the past is prologue, White Buffalo Land Trust’s past five years demonstrates that we have every reason to place our hope in them for our future. 

Key Supporters

Manitou Fund
Roberto Foundation
WOKA Foundation
Macdoch Foundation
JS Bower Foundation
GA Fowler Family Foundation
Natalie Orfalea Foundation
Metabolic Studio
TomKat Education Foundation
Coyuchi Philanthropy Fund
Dancing Tides Foundation
Brownstein Farber Hyatt Schreck
Santa Barbara Foundation
Zegar Family Fund
Williams Corbett Foundation
Land Trust for Santa Barbara
Gaviota Coast Conservancy
McMorrow Family Foundation
CA Dept of Agriculture
U.S. Dept of Agriculture