In 2013 we (Stephanie Smith and Jay Babcock) purchased the farm in a tax sale.
Previous owners had abandoned the 20-acre Mojave Desert property in 2006 after attempting to create an Asian fruit orchard. After scraping 12 acres of native Mojave shrub, planting nearly 1000 trees in a tight grid (Asian Pears mostly, but also a few Persimmons and Jujubes), and irrigating them using municipal water, the project failed. Later we discovered that the prior owners had even attempted to poison the Coyotes and other wildlife active on the farm.
The site sat dormant for 7 years as the neighborhood watched the trees die (some neighbors snuck onto the property and ‘rescued’ fruit trees for re-planting).
When we bought it we had a simple idea: to restore the ‘bad’ farm into a ‘good’ farm.
The original farm was ‘bad’ because it followed big-ag practices of scraping the land, choosing plants doomed to fail in high-heat/high-wind conditions, and irrigating thirsty trees using precious drinking water.
Stephanie is now spearheading our efforts to turn the farm — Sunever Farms — into a ‘good farm’. A demonstration project in creating a drought-tolerant, edible oasis on a desert site.
It was very quick and easy to turn a beautiful, untouched native 20-acre plot ‘bad’ (scrape scrape scrape, plant plant plant, water water water, poison, poison, poison). It will be many years before she will be finished and we have a ‘good’ farm — finished means we’re in the hammock watching abundant trees, shrubs, vines and other plants flower and fruit.
Follow along and come for a visit.