Fun-Size Farming: The Easiest Way to Make Valuable Compost (And it isn't stinky!)

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Often, a way to get past fear and biases is to find a common interest. At Etheridge Farms, that common interest is the compost heap.

Somewhere deep in the annals of my education, all the way back in the Fourth Grade file cabinet, is a folder labelled C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-O-N.

Conservation! To fourth graders in early 90s Los Angeles—*Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, and close the loooooop!* anybody?—the notion of Conservation was, like, a Thing. And it will ever be emblazoned in my mind as C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-O-N, each letter pronounced individually, in rhythmic groups of three, because that's how you remember how to spell such a long word.

Anyway, my inner conservationist cringes at faucets left running during tooth-brushing and throwing away perfectly good recyclables. So when I became an adult with my own home, I couldn't look down at a pile of rinds and weird bruised bits of fruits and vegetables and just throw them out in good conscience. Way to go, L.A. County Schools!

So the Compost Heap was born.

The Easiest Way to Make Compost

Find a corner of your yard, preferably out of the way or hidden by some trees or shrubs, and throw stuff there. The End.

Literally, that's what we do. We take our food scraps—never meats, mind you—and our grass clippings and fallen leaves and just pile them up. Since we have chickens, they tend to turn over the heap, and that helps, but it's not a necessity.

Simply wait for a long time, then use a rake to scrap aside the top layers of uncomposted stuff, and right beneath you'll have lovely, non-stinky, dark, loamy, earthy compost to add to your garden and potted plants.

The Second Easiest Way to Make Compost

Well, you could **buy or build a compost mixer**. Google it. There's lots of options. The benefits are: you have more control over the speed of the composting, since you can easily turn it and whatnot. So if you're in a hurry or like gadgets or just want something more fancy and contained, go for it!

The Third Easiest Way to Make Compost

Say you live in a townhouse or apartment, and you've got nowhere to heap up your food scraps. Well, they DO make under-the-sink composters

The amount will obviously be smaller, but you can still make your own compost for almost free.

So there you have it! That's one of the great things about Fun-Size Farming: you start to see how interconnected everything is, how much you can really close loops when you start seeing consumption as one step of a system rather than an in/out box.