Kickstarting Compost

At the end of a long day of processing chickens the farm team split in two directions.

Inside the walk-in fridge long rubber gloves eased plump Freedom Rangers and schmaltzy stewing hens from the ice water chill to be dried off and bagged. These chickens were beautiful on pasture. And they are about to be delicious components of cozy meals and tasty sandwiches. Enjoy!  We will – already the crock pot did the night shift stewing a hen for today’s farmer lunch.

Outside cleanup buzzed along to the tune of the hand-held power washer but first each of the vessels designed to capture the processing residuals were emptied into the tractor to be hauled to the compost mound. A cubic yard of material that will help feed the zillions of organisms already working on our hauls of weeds and crop residuals as well as this year’s mortalities (one a goat who on a mid summer’s stormy night had gotten tangled in the electric fence, the young piglet who had been allergic to her inoculation, a handful of chicks who didn’t make it and some of the older hens).

On a year when the windrow-shaped pile has been far dryer than optimal, yesterday’s loot combined with Tuesday’s deluge are exactly the right components to kickstart that pile to achieve the heat necessary to kill pathogens, make sure no weed seed is viable, and turn it all into amazing soil amendments.

Like farmers throughout the state, and compost geeks from far beyond, our source for learning and design is Highfields Center for Composting. This week they launch a “Kickstarter” campaign to raise money for heat recovery systems (timely to ponder on this chilly morn!) at their research and production facility in Wolcott.

Composting Kickstarter Campaign

We encourage all, especially anyone interested in sustainability in the food system, clean air and water, sequestering carbon, making our communities more resilient, and enabling our foods to be as nutritious and even medicinal as they can be, to view this informative video and participate in this Kickstarter campaign.

Help build better compost, more compost, lots of compost!  Help kickstart the healthy chickens and gardens of future years… It all starts with compost… Or does it all end with compost? Doesn’t matter.  It links, holds potential, locks up carbon and produces heat!


Beyond research and technical assistance to farms like ours, Highfields Composting is leading the effort to capture food residuals from the waste stream, working with schools and households, businesses and farms to “Close the Loop” and return those nutrients to build fertility in Vermont soils. If you want to learn more about the Highfields Composting state-of-the-art vermiculture (worms), the overall development of the new research and education facility or any of their great programs in schools and communities, let us know.  We are even thinking of a group trip up to tour the facility. Let us know if you may want to pile in!