By Martie Thompson

Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested. The Society of St. Andrew is a national non-profit founded in 1979 that takes this biblical principle to heart and mobilizes volunteers to dig up or pick the good vegetables or fruit remaining after harvest and then share it with nearby feeding agencies.

For the past four years, Larry Rood has been the Society of St. Andrew coordinator for the northeast Florida region, which goes from the Florida state line south to Crescent City and from Gainesville east to the beach. While southern St. Johns County is home to the majority of farms in his region, he said there are two small farms in the Jacksonville area, including one run by the Clara White mission in Ponte Vedra Beach, where volunteers are needed to plant, weed and harvest. Even individuals with citrus trees may contact Rood to schedule a gleaning.

JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab

“We always need volunteers,” Rood said.

In addition to citrus gleaning, which requires volunteers to pick fruit from trees, bag it and then take it to a distribution center, volunteers are also called upon to harvest cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Rood said these crops are more labor intensive and require volunteers to bend while cutting the produce, and then throw the produce into a wagon. He estimates that most gleanings take between 90 minutes and three hours and the peak time is December through the end of May.

“In addition to small individual farms, we also partner with the UF test field,” Rood said. “We have a large cabbage gleaning scheduled there soon. All of the food gleaned is fit to eat and we take it to either the Mandarin Food Bank, Mandarin Presbyterian Church, St. Francis House in St. Augustine or Dining with Dignity in St. Augustine, among others.”

Rood said the work is very fulfilling, but can be physically demanding and he is appreciative of all the volunteers. Some are individuals who feel called to help out, while others are church and high school groups in search of a noble group activity and community service hours.

“Here are some staggering numbers that often, people don’t know: As a country, there are 55 million people who do not get three meals daily and a lot of these are children. There are 144 billion pounds of food a year that gets thrown away. We try to get as much of the food that is going to waste to the people who need it. That’s why the Society of St. Andrew and the volunteers exist,” Rood said.

Rood said that volunteers can sign up in a couple of different ways for gleanings at times convenient for them: visit the Society of St. Andrew website,, and sign up online, or call Larry Rood directly at (904) 738-1190. Volunteers must sign a liability waiver and gleaning locations are not publicized so that random people don’t show up at a farmer’s field outside of scheduled gleaning times.

“I have a passion for this,” Rood said, “and I am always looking for others who do, too.”


Photo courtesy Larry Rood

Students from Ridgeview High School Spanish Honor Society after a successful citrus gleaning in Mandarin.


  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Starling Nocatee, 360 degree virtual tour
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Tutoring club of st johns. Text tutoring to 484848 for a chance to win one month of free tutoring
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Anytime Fitness! Summer is Here! We Are Open!
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Forever Vets Animal Hospital coupon for free exam and discount on preventative care for dogs and cats!
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience, complete lawn maintenance
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Support Community Journalism in Ponta Vedra NewsLine
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • All About Ballroom
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our May Issue! Ponta Vedra NewsLine
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Creeks Air Conditioning & Heating. We service all makes and models for residential and commerical!
  • Crosswinds Veterinary Hospital. Preventative Medicine and wellness, Surgery, Dentistry, Labs and Imaging, Farm Animal Medicine, In-Patient and Emergency Care
  • Florida Waterways Inc. Your trusted Waterway Advisers
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • JJs Bistro $10 off lunch or dinner
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Julington Creek Family Dentistry. Implant Cosmetic and Restoration Dentistry. We are following Advanced Safety protocols set forth by CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines for dental practices
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Alicia Washington for Circuit Judge
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Re-elect Mike Orfinger for circuit judge
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our May Issue!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Tailored living Premier Garage solutions
  • Westminster St. Augustine. were here when you need us
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021