Notes from the Field - A Trip to Boundless Farmstead

May 4, 2022
Notes from the Field - A Trip to Boundless Farmstead

This past April, the DRC was presented with the opportunity to visit Boundless Farmstead, a 20-acre farm just east of Bend in Alfalfa, Oregon.The farm is owned and operated by Megan and David Kellner-Rode, both of whom are committed to growing the best quality crop with sustainable and waste-reducing strategies in mind.Boundless Farmstead supports a variety of community programs including a 90-family CSA, (Community Supported Agriculture) and the bulk buying event known as Fill Your Pantry in Central Oregon. The farm also provides produce options for dozens of Bend restaurants as well as for bi-weekly deliveries to Locavore, Tumalo Farm Stand, and the Stand in Sisters.The sustainable practices of the farm are renowned and incorporate a variety of different techniques used to conserve water and use resources in the most efficient way possible. Megan and David accomplish this through crop rotation, chemical free fertilizers and other such products (to dispel harm to crops and decrease toxic runoff into water systems), and advanced irrigation methods. These irrigation methods include a buried PVC system to distribute water evenly underground and drip irrigation and micro-overhead sprinklers to lessen water loss in periods of drought.Annual precipitation in Central Oregon falls each year, and as our reservoirs and rivers decline, so does the allotted water amount for irrigation to all participating districts. As the drought in Central Oregon persists, it becomes more and more essential that water be used in the most efficient and conservative ways possible.Approximately 90% of the Deschutes River is diverted for irrigation from April to October. The majority of water is given first to irrigation districts with senior water rights before flowing North to districts with junior water rights. Each year, as water supplies decrease, so does the amount of water available to districts with junior water rights.A high concentration of commercial farming occurs in districts that are incurring the backend of the water supply. With limited water resources, large plots are now going dry or are being fallowed in districts with junior rights.As a community of Central Oregon, we depend on all farmers in our basin for food and economic growth. For this reason, it's important that water be distributed so that every farmer can fulfill the needs of their land.Farmers like Megan and David Kellner-Rode are trailblazing the way for new-age and streamlined farming methods where water conservation and thoughtful resource management are the core tenants of their practice. Their land is being used to its full potential, lacking the unused plots that are becoming an ever-increasing indicator of the flood irrigation tactics used in many Central Oregon farms.The surplus of water from low-waste irrigation approaches can then be shared with farmers lacking a sufficient allotment, creating equitable water distribution and a more stable farm economy throughout the Deschutes River watershed.By Angie Huber, Communications Intern through the Project Zero Green Jobs Internship run by Portland General Electric.

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An aerial view of a body of water.