The basic definition of compost is: the material resulting from the consumption of organic material by bacteria, fungus, and other organisms. The maine use of compost is to enrich or feed the soil to enhance the growth of plants. The science and culture of composting is the facilitation of the breakdown of organic material into a useable product under controlled conditions. The art of composting is setting up and maintaining the environmental conditions under which these microorganisms can multiply and flourish.
The composting process is actually the cultivation of an astonishing diversity of countless billions of microorganisms that exist naturally everywhere at relatively low levels. The organic matter referred to as 'feedstock' is prepared in a variety of formulas and conditions utilizing air, moisture and particle size to provide an ideal growing environment so that these microorganisms can consume the given feedstock. This process is very much alive. For example, a handful of compost contains literally billions of organisms occupying as much as 50% of the contents of any given compost. These microorganisms can be referred to as a type of 'livestock'; a reference used by the founder of modern composting Sir Albert Howard, C.I.E., M.A., a British mycologist and agriculturist.