We, Heather & Phillip Steyn, as veterinarians, had always loved our pet sheep on our ranch in Northern Colorado and artisanal sheep cheese making was one of our favorite hobbies during the long cold winters. Raising our sheep for quality lamb meat and milking the ewes taught us to truly appreciate the relationship between our farm animals and our family, and that is where one part of the dream of Project Verde Oveja was born.
Moving to Ecuador and starting Amici Cannis Hospital de Animales, a foundation that provides care for the street dogs and veterinary services to clients in Cotacachi, was a hugely rewarding endeavor! We decided to proceed with our next project when we purchased our farmland in a small indigenous community in the Northern Andes mountains of Ecuador. Immediately we noticed a significant lack of understanding of livestock handling, animal welfare, and veterinary care. We also became painfully aware of the poverty and lack of a trade within our community. Phillip and I found ourselves led to create a project using our veterinary skills, history with sheep and cheese, and experience with farming that could assist and teach our new indigenous family. The ultimate “why” for us was to give back to society and help our indigenous community. Our passion for the sheep as well as the community merged to create the Project LVO.
We are honored to have been warmly embraced by our community and truly are driven to enrich the lives of our indigenous neighbors. We are grateful to be able to share the love of the land and the environment with them. It is very exciting to see the enthusiasm for the project within the community. They have a profound sense of pride about what we are doing together and realize the long-term benefits of creating an artisanal trade in our home village.
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