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. In a changing and warming climate, desert plants do appreciate a little low-tech rainwater harvesting and organic mulch, and rainwater harvesting increases the harvest and health of the land. Bean Tree Farm grew out of 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, a residential development nested in a 20-acre saguaro/ironwood forest. The community evolved from a care-taking position my family began in 1985. In 1989 the first passive solar rammed-earth home was planned 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. Between 2003- 2006 the community grew to five rammed-earth solar homes, a barn and outbuildings, clustered on 15% of the 20 acre site. Over 16 acres is a deeded natural conservation area which includes a private cemetery site.

Bean Tree Farm has become the educational (f)arm of our residential community. Seasonal workshops, tours, desert food events and natural building projects are held in collaboration with Desert Harvesters, Lorenziniworks, Community Food Bank, Prescott College, ECOSA, Borderlands Restoration, Sonoran Permaculture Guild and others. There are educational farm stay opportunities for interns and participants. Farm interns and volunteers contribute much-appreciated contributions.

As primary designer and builder of the farm and community, and many years teaching, I also consult and design with clients who want to reduce energy and water use and integrate their dwellings into the larger landscape. I prefer to work with hands-on owners, and as needed, a team of experienced folks on projects integrating water harvesting, energy efficiency, edible desert landscape design and natural building, whether new construction or 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 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 amazing 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

Our Story

Bean Tree Farm