Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. Anything that grows decomposes eventually; composting simply speeds up the process by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing organisms (such as worms, sowbugs, and nematodes) to do their work. The resulting decomposed matter, which often ends up looking like fertile garden soil, is called compost. Fondly referred to by farmers as “black gold,” compost is rich in nutrients and can be used for gardening, horticulture, and agriculture. Organic discards can be processed in industrial-scale composting facilities, in smaller-scale community composting systems, and in anaerobic digesters, among other options. This guide focuses primarily on home composting, which is a great way to keep your organic discards out of the waste stream and produce a valuable soil amendment for your own use.