The Foundation for Sustainable Families has come up with an unusual arrangement. It’s growing fresh produce for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s food pantry in exchange for the Free Clinic’s scraps.

The Foundation collects the Free Clinic’s scraps – mainly overripe, inedible produce that would be thrown away – and turns it into compost. The compost is used to grow fresh produce, like kale, lettuce and beets, which are delivered to the Client Choice Food Pantry once a month.

The Foundation grew its first vegetable beds using the Free Clinic’s compost in May 2018. Six months later, the Foundation picked the first harvest of fresh vegetables grown from the compost.

Since then, the Free Clinic has donated more than 6,000 pounds of compostable scraps a month, and the Foundation has provided more than 100 pounds of fresh produce to the Free Clinic.

Though it may be an unconventional way to help the community, it’s helping to feed the thousands of households that receive monthly food from the We Help Services Food Pantry.