Gleaning in Florida
Since the Society of St. Andrew was created in 1979, more than 59 million pounds of fresh produce have reached our state’s people in need. This has been accomplished through the Gleaning Network and the Potato and Produce Project and has resulted in about 177 million servings of food being delivered to our neighbors in need.
Since 1995, the Society of St. Andrew has operated a statewide, volunteer-driven Gleaning Network in Florida that coordinates with local farmers, thousands of volunteers, and food providing agencies. Our Florida Gleaning Network is going strong, saving three-to-four million pounds of fresh produce for the hungry each year. Though an agriculturally diverse state, citrus is by far our top yielding produce in Florida; with now four citrus drives per year, Florida gleaners save and distribute over a half million pounds of sweet oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and lemons every year. In addition to citrus, the Florida office salvages everything from onions and white potatoes to strawberries, cabbage, cucumbers, squash, and that ever so famous Zellwood sweet corn.
Through the Florida Gleaning Network, we coordinate volunteers across the state who actually enter fields and groves after farmers have finished harvesting and simply pick up the tons of good produce left behind. Our volunteers represent groups from various church denominations, synagogues, youth groups, corporate and civic organizations, individuals, and inner city residents. Often those who receive the food participate in our gleaning events, this is especially true in North Florida where many of the food pantries bring their clients to the fields with them to help glean for others as well as themselves.
Each year, we coordinate thousands of volunteers to glean one to two million pounds of a wide variety of produce in Florida. Please join us in this exciting hands-on ministry.
Please contact us to indicate your interest in gleaning. When we have opportunities within 30-45 minutes of your location, we will email you with details and invite you to join us in the fields. Most gleaning events take place on weekends where gleaners arrive in the fields around 8am and are on their way home by noon. Society of St. Andrew makes all arrangements with farmers, produce containers and food distribution. All that volunteer gleaners need to do is show up. Volunteer groups are encouraged to take food back to agencies or programs that they support in their local area.
People of all ages can glean. Gleaners should be able to bend over and should be able to bend and lift several pounds of produce.
It is important that the contact person be reachable by phone during day-time hours.
Most of our gleanings are in the morning and last three to four hours. Gleanings are scheduled week days and on Saturdays.