Mike Stevens

All of us at Lava Lake like to stay focused on the work close to the ground – raising lambs, restoring creeks, sending orders out to customers around the country. But for us to succeed, both as a business and a conservation effort (and for us the two are inseparable), we need to tell our story and reach a wide audience.

Photo by Glenn Oakley

On November 11th, we had an incredible opportunity to do so. Bettina Ring, Executive Director of the Bay Area Open Space Council, hosted us along with Jon Christensen of the Bill Lane Center of the American West at Stanford University, Janet Brown of Allstar Organics, and Verlyn Klinkenborg of the New York Times for an evening discussion about conservation, food production and the relationships between the urban and rural West. To top it all off, the event was held at the Brower Center, a spectacular Leed-certified building in downtown Berkeley.

It was a fun evening with lively discussion and, of course, some delicious Lava lake Lamb. Some of the big themes we touched on were:

  • Lava Lake’s lambs graze over a huge area and their diet is wild and varied. Our lambs love to sample different types of grasses, flowers and shrubs. We believe that the quality and taste of our lamb reflects the lambs’ life of exercise, healthy natural diet and the protection and nurturing they receive from their mothers and our sheepherders. The lambs follow the green-up of spring from the sagebrush steppe of Craters of the Moon through the flower-rich slopes and river valleys of the Pioneer Mountain foothills to high mountain meadows. This is truly the taste of a million acres.
  • The landscape where we graze our lambs and where we do our conservation work is nationally-important because of its many protected areas (Craters of the Moon National Monument and Sawtooth National Recreation Area) and abundant wildlife. For us to succeed, we need to develop relationships with bigger population centers on the coasts. These relationships between the wild West and the coasts are crucial to sustaining both a vibrant food economy and protecting our country’s magnificent natural heritage.
  • Not only are big landscapes important for our livestock, they are crucial to sustaining wildlife in all its forms. While we at Lava Lake tend to focus on the big critters, like pronghorn, Janet Brown spoke eloquently about pollinator corridors and how important they are to a thriving agriculture.

We were so honored to share a stage with some of the country’s leaders in conservation and sustainable agriculture and we look forward to sharing our story like this more in the future.