June 2020 Report on DRBI Farm
As of June 2020, Black Orchard Farms, an organic food grower and distributor based in Sun City, Arizona, is agriculturally developing 10 acres on the Desert Rose Baha’i Institute farm.
The Desert Rose Farm’s goals as expressed in our vision statement remain the same but methods of implementation will significantly evolve as we cooperate with Black Orchard to jump-start development of half of our 20 acres.
Vision Statement: The Farm at Desert Rose, an agricultural institute building an agroecosystem of regenerative dryland farming, hydroponics, and aquaponics for social and economic development, uses and nurtures resources of the Sonoran Desert and its knowledgeable cultivators, sharing learning and progress globally via the internet.
The Black Orchard project is going forward in two phases. Phase 1, to be completed by the end of 2020, includes a 3-acre pichuberry plot with a 1/2 acre retention pond for irrigation and to raise fish. The fish nourish the pond and can be sold at the market and to restaurants.
Pichuberries, very similar to tomatillos, are a good arid land crop, native to Peru, highly nutritious, and useful in cooking southwestern cuisine. Black Orchard Farms has specialized in them for some years. In Peru, they’re called aguaymantos or Inca berries.
Phase 1 will also include a 1-acre garden for Black Orchard crops including garden starts for sale to the public; specialty and medicinal herbs; and ethnic foods. Another 1-acre garden will be for community gardening including plots to rent to local gardeners and to use while training people in organic gardening. A hoop house for special plants is also part of Phase 1, as are storage facilities and a chicken coop to house hens for eggs, pest management, and fertilizer.
Phase 1 must also construct an on-site farmers market to sell and distribute produce. Sales of produce would occur in the usual way and also via CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organization: people buy “shares” of a farm’s harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they’re harvested.
During 2021, Phase 2 will include the creation of a Zen Garden for prayer and meditation and also for weddings and other events; beehives for pollination and to produce honey for sale; a mushroom house; soil production for the farm and for local sales; educational outreach; incorporation of solar energy and water reclamation systems; formation of an Immigration Relief Coalition for dignified, humane and efficient employment of farmworkers.
With this plan in motion, Desert Rose Baha’i Institute looks forward to improving and increasing our interactions with neighbors and neighboring communities and our service to them, contributing to the sustainable food supply of our region, and being better able to sustain ourselves.