MISSOULA - Do you ever wonder what grocery stores and farmers do with their extra produce? Well one non-profit in Missoula  came up with a unique solution.

Soil Cycle is known for collecting food scraps from houses and restaurants across Missoula, but last summer they noticed something

"We saw a lot of really good edible food and got us thinking about feeding people before we feed the soil," Soil Cycle Executive Director Caitlyn Lewis said.

So to feed people, they built a free produce stand. But its not only filled with their excess food, community partners donate their produce as well.

"We partnered with a couple farms, Harlequin Produce being one that was really amazing, and they gave us free produce that we were able to give back to the community," Lewis said.

With less farmers markets last summer, many farmers and gardeners had extra produce to donate, so the stand was usually full. But when winter came Soil Cycle decided to make some changes.

"As soon as November and December hit we didn't have produce to put in our stand so we are encouraging individuals to donate really high quality shelf stable items to the free produce store in the winter months," Lewis said.

What started as a produce stand, is making the transition accepting donations of non-perishable items.

"We have not seen a lot of donations but we are hoping to," Lewis said. "The whole idea was to help with food poverty which is not just food insecurity but also having really high quality food." Lewis said.

The free produce stand is located between Soil Cycle and Free Cycles on South 1st street.

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