Tag: I’ve been thinking

Nectarine Thief Ordered To Pay $1.25 In Reparation

Eyeing The Fruit Stand John George Brown 1831-1913

Eyeing The Fruit Stand
John George Brown

Now I have heard it all.  To save me repeating myself, readers should start by checking out this link on the NZ Herald website before reading on.    Go on, do it now!

Done? Good!

Here we have a scallywag who thinks it is ok to wander into a New Plymouth supermarket and start eating the food on display, which happens to have been nectarines, on the basis that he had no money to pay for them.  The court case was heard in Kaitaia and  defence counsel claimed that her client had been living on the streets of Gisborne.

The first thing that comes to mind is that its a long way between New Plymouth, Kaitaia and Gisborne.  Several hundred kilometres in fact. And to cover this distance one needs money…. But we don’t have the money to pay for a nectarine?  The second thought is – do our courts really have nothing better to do than prosecute a young layabout who helped himself to one piece of fruit?  Court costs, judge’s salary, defence counsel’s  fees, the mind boggles.  The third tought  – there is a whole social argument hidden here in the trenches.  We are mammals which need to eat when we are hungry and drink when we are thirsty, otherwise we die.  Yet our societal structure has evolved to the extent that we actually need this artificial invention called money that drives the concept called trade in order to provide sustenance for ourselves.  Have we gone too far? And lastly – back to the commercial reality we are a part of, like it or not – what does the produce industry have to do to get consumers, including judges, to understand the true value of fruit?  $1.25 in reparation is quite ridiculous from that perspective.  All it will do is drive the message home that fruit is of very little value and its ok to help yourself.  I wonder what the sentence would have been  if Master Casford had opened a can of Coke instead?

Table Top Dancing

299314_355485391207818_869770810_n The problem with a site like Facebook is that one can’t really control what ends up being displayed on one’s site – one’s ‘friends’ can have a devastating influence on the state of one’s page.  I was therefore delighted that this doodle “turned up” today.  How apt. I am sure you can all relate to it.  I certainly can!  From a business perspective, the “How Do I Do It?” is the most important step on the scale.

Once I get to the point of asking THAT question, I have accepted that the journey needs to to go into the indicated direction. And IF one spends enough quality time getting the answers to the HOW question lined up, one’s chance of being able to dance on the table top in celebration at the end of the journey, will have exponentially increased.

Unfortunately, one doesn’t get beyond Step 2 too often – “I Can’t Do It”. So How does one get from Step 2 to Step 4?  “I Want To Do It”  is certainly part of the answer, but is it enough?  Not by a long shot I am afraid! How about “I Believe in Myself?” Isn’t that also part of it?  Taking ownership of the problem?

Equally applicable to solving produce industry related problems as it is to solving one’s own life situations.  Wouldn’t it be great if one could increase the amount of time one gets to dance on top of the table by a factor of ten in 2013?

Time for some Mental Cultivation?

may-july2011 293The Melbourne Age reported on 7th January that 700 Australian 2012 agriculture graduates have the luxury of choosing from 4,000 graduate entry level positions, i.e. demand outstripping supply more than just a little…

Where have we heard that before?

The Left Right Think Tank, according to The Age, feels that agriculture has an image problem amogst young people. (Well, they are all under 25 in that organisation, so they ought to know…)  Dead right, so how are we going to solve that issue?  By making farming and horticulture Monday to Friday, 9-5, type occupations? And finding ways to avoid getting one’s hands dirty?  Not really feasible is it?

The whole concept of food production, though, is due for a major overhaul.  The Dutch – who are never backward in coming forward – are now talking about factory farming, as building these enormous glasshouse complexes they are so apt at plonking into the landscape are simply getting too expensive a construction project to contemplate!  And what are the Dutch minds  focusing on? Empty and disused office buildings for one….as more Dutch people than ever are working from home and office complexes are sitting idle and unproductive – something our Dutch colleagues cannot tolerate at the best of times. Time for some mental cultivation then?

Look How Far We Have Come

An industry colleague with more gray hair than I have, turned up at a recent United Fresh meeting with a copy of the June/ July 1982 issue of what was the Grower magazine. He thought might interest me.  Yeah right!

Ten points for those who guessed correctly: yes, that is me on that cover.

While not wanting to dwell on the mistakes I have made over the years, it was a good trigger to take some time and think about what has changed in the industry since this issue was published in 1992.

Those price tickets you can see behind me on display were preprinted centrally but without the price. The produce department staff then put the prices on the tickets as per instruction, using stickers.

Inside the magazine, colour is the exception not the norm.  Casting my eye over the contact details for contributors and in advertisements and what jumps out at me?  There is not an email address or web URL in sight and mobiles were not common enough – nor were the call rates cheap enough – to warrant any mobile numbers being included.

Now? If you are not web enabled while mobile, you might as well be dead (or so anyone under 20 will have you believe).

So what does that mean for the fresh produce industry going forward in terms of technology?  Can we afford to invest in further technology, given that produce values in real terms are going in the wrong direction?  Can we afford not to invest?  How much technology do we need?  So much that horticulture becomes an open air food factory process with minimum labour inputs?  Or do we scale technology back to aid Government’s (regardless of who is in command of the Beehive) efforts to find jobs for the unemployable elements of society?

As I get older, and I do, judging by the picture, my ability to ask questions as opposed to finding answers appears to be increasing.  This is a good thing really, as questions drive action.

Another Step on the Wall

The Great Wall of China

And no – I did not like my picture being taken but at least it proves I have been there!

It is said that the Chinese Wall can be seen from the moon.  Unfortunately, the claim is actually a myth – but even so, the Wall is a very significant structure.

Three factors  amazed me about the Wall.  Firstly, the crowds.  We were there at 8am and so were thousands of Chinese – from all parts of the country according to my guide.  Secondly, the pride & respect.  The Cultural Revolution of the sixties clearly dealt to some parts of the country but even Mao appeared to have some respect for the handiwork of the old emperors who went before him.  And today’s Chinese citizens are very proud about the Wall and what it represents.  Thirdly, the scale.  Without cranes, without engines, without any aspect of the modern technology we take for granted, the Chinese created something they deemed was necessary and it became a legacy.

Walls do not have to be physical manifestations to be effective – the use of phytosanitary regulations as a barrier to control imports is one example that comes to mind.

But that’s a whole other blog post for another day.