Bean Tree Farm

Our Story

We chose our farm's name to raise awareness that virtually all native Sonoran Desert trees and many large shrubs are legumes which fix nitrogen for understory plants, provide edible, delicious, seeds and pods, grow and thrive without tilling, irrigation, or toil- but appreciate a little low-tech  rainwater harvesting and organic mulch. Rainwater harvesting increases the harvest and health of the land. Bean Tree Farm evolved from Sol Food, a wild and native natural foods/sustainable living/catering/teaching/design business hatched in 2003.    


Bean Tree Farm is located in Dancing Rocks Community, an eco-logical residential community of 5 rammed-earth homes and barn, clustered within a 20-acre saguaro/ironwood forest. The community evolved from a care-taking position begun in 1985. In 1989 the first passive solar rammed-earth home was built next to a 1930's stone well-house. After permaculture studies and practice in the early 1990's, the idea of a residential community began to take shape. There are presently five rammed-earth homes and a barn on a clustered developed area of 15% of the 20 acre site, more than 16 acres of which is a deeded natural conservation area. Three families are currently owner-residents, and there are educational farm stay opportunities for interns, retreat participants and prospective residents.

Bean Tree Farm has become the educational (f)arm of our residential community. We facilitate workshops, tours, desert food feasts, and collaborate on projects with Desert Harvesters, Community Food Bank Community Food Resource Center, Lorenziniworks, Prescott College, Sonoran Permaculture Guild and others, with the much-appreciated contributions of farm interns and volunteers.

As primary designer and builder of the farm and community, and many years teaching and facilitating permaculture and related material, I consult and design with clients who want to reduce energy and water use, and integrate their dwellings into the larger landscape. Often I work with a team of experienced folks for projects integrating water harvesting, energy efficiency, landscape design, natural building, for both new construction and renovation.

I love seeing folks get inspired to take care of their back yards, neighborhoods and watersheds- and learning about the delicious diversity of edibles and medicinals in our midst, and I hope it catches on like a (good) virus. I love having time to fiddle around in the garden, play with kids and build with the red clay of this place. Over the last decade, midwifing parents, family and friends during their final journeys, and becoming a grandmother, I'm amply reminded that what we have is Now, even as we work to serve future generations. So I savor the 100+ degree heat that brings on the summer harvest of native desert food and monsoon rains, the morning and evening skies, laughing with friends and family over a shared meal, with great gratitude to be here.

Barbara Rose