Growing Food in the Desert at Bean Tree Farm

Posted on August 04, 2017


Barbara Rose has been farming at Bean Tree Farm in Tucson, AZ since 2004. Her 20 acre saguaro/ironwood forest farm is far from a conventional farm. Instead of traditional rows of crops, she produces desert annual and perennial cactus pads and fruits, legume seeds from mesquite, ironwood and paloverde (bean trees), and medicinal and culinary herbs. These plants have been grown in the region for centuries.

“As an older small-scale desert foods producer and teacher, the scholarship I receive helps me to continue doing this important work. CNG provides my customers, students and community with a vision of what local food production offers in contrast to USDA Organic,” explained Barbara Rose.


Bean Tree Farm celebrates the fact that they’re a thriving part of the perennial food forest that has existed in and around Tucson for centuries. “Our work is to care for and enhance its health by welcoming rainwater into the landscape through gently placed earthworks, cisterns, and organic mulches, increasing soil health and habitat for native and drylands-adapted species.”

With a love for the local landscape and respect for the diversity of life, cultures, and food traditions there, Bean Tree Farm is working to make a difference in all they grow, make, and do.

Like many of our members, Bean Tree Farm is focused on addressing hunger and inequality in their community. "CNG has been a true resource for me and fellow farmers in Baja Arizona, a region severely impacted by economic and food insecurity,” said Rose. “I collaborate with our Community Food Bank and other food justice non-profits to empower people to plant, care for and eat more native desert foods, as they are tasty nutrient powerhouses that thrive on the annual rainfall in our Sonoran Desert.”

CNG is proud to support farmers at all stages of farm life, especially community-centered projects, like Bean Tree Farm.  You can help these farms directly by becoming a Friend of CNG. Your donations will go directly to our Scholarship Fund if you join us today!