Compost is the end result of microorganisms and other small creatures consuming plant and animal manure helped along with some added human management. These mostly unseen and underappreciated organisms create the dark and soft finished product that smells like good soil, much like what occurs in nature on the floor of a forest. At Soil Stewardship, we primarily rely on dried leaves from the Fort Collins community as our carbon input and horse manure from our own horses for adequate nitrogen. Trace amounts of pre-consumer food waste generated on site are also added. This provides another source of nitrogen, although we incorporate it more as a way to divert organic waste from the landfill. We mix all of these ingredients together in large outdoor bin, top it with a layer of insulating leaves, add water, and let it sit. The pile of materials will then heat up to between 140 – 160 °F, killing off many weed seeds and pathogens in the process. It does not smell! Once it cools down, we either turn it and let it finish in order to make normal compost, or we feed it to our hungry worms to make vermicompost!