Jim Fields of Fields Farm in southeast Bend is one of the most passionate farmers you will ever meet.

Why did you want to know this?

Jim is the man behind our composting program. Jim pursued his passion for composting early on in his farming career by developing a composting system with a goal of building soil through a process that would be economically viable.

“Healthy soil is created by nature, or can be helped by man with the inclusion of compost into the soil,” Jim says. “I like compost.  I have my hands in it all the time.”

By receiving waste hops and spent grains from Deschutes Brewery, Jim’s composting plan turned out to be mutually beneficial. Jim then focused on a new desire to recycle waste food into soil food and keep methane out of the landfill. Since 2010, Fields Farm has had a regular pickup route in the Old Mill District, collecting biodegradable wastes from various restaurants. Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria, Pastini Pastaria, Strictly Organic Coffee and Café Yumm! all currently participate in the program.

We have containers in each garbage enclosure that are specific to compost materials. Our restaurants participate by emptying their pre- and post-consumer food waste such as vegetables, meats, soiled paper, and berry boxes into the compost bin. Jim picks up our contributions and Voila! We eliminate straight waste and supply composting materials directly to Fields Farm, which has been serving Central Oregon with organic and nurtured vegetables and fruits for over 30 years.

How does it actually work? Various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen. The compost pile is a biological fire. The micro-organisms are in a feeding frenzy cutting up, eating, and digesting their way through the proteins and carbohydrates. In this process high temperatures are generated. The pile is kept from going thermo-nuclear by adding water and turning the pile based on temperature and other characteristics.

“You don’t do this to make money,” Jim says. “You do it for the love of growing things. It is a lifestyle choice.”