Apples for the Rich and Famous

Tevel technologies are developing what they call “the best fruit pickers in the world.”

The purpose is to keep family farms in the family, to reduce labour costs, ensure reliability of labour, and replace young people, who are fleeing the country for high paying urban jobs. Their words. Well, look at their parameters for a family farm:

So, that’s just under 250 acres. That’s a large industrial enterprise. Not quite the warmth of a family farming their landAs for labour, well, just look at their cost estimates, and you will see how this works:

Got that? Converted to Canadian Dollars, that’s about $150 a ton for harvest. I tell you, in 35 days, one human fruit picker could pick 58 tons, and if they were getting paid even half of that $150, they’d be very highly-paid, indeed. One other worker could sort those apples. If this is a family farm, surely there would be 2 workers? Seemingly, this tech is about something other than just saving labour costs. What it appears to be doing is transferring the costs from the farm community to highly-paid work developing the technology in an urban setting. It urbanizes the work. As for quality, well…

… the drones drop the apples on this cart. They then roll into place. Each drone is kinda slow, so it takes a few. Remember, this is your “family farm.”

Actually, it’s a packing house. You’ll need tough-skinned apples for that.

In sum, no farm labour, no community labour, no community packing labour, just money poured into an urban economy which, then, will buy these expensive apples. This is not what we need to strengthen our communities. Of course, if the goal is not to strengthen farm communities but to urbanize and industrialize them, plundering their resilience by integrating human taste, desire and labour into technological products, this is the way. A better question, though, might be to ask what model would support families and farms and human land-based labour in ethical ways that maintained the independence of rural communities?

Stay-tuned for some ideas on that.

1 reply »

  1. Concise and sadly revealing post regarding the “model” that humanity has slowly been conned and coerced into joining, globally, one person, one family, one business, one acre at a time. Much to discuss and question here, not least of all the charade of false claims and priorities made by the proponents of these “solutions” and the cyclical impact thereof. Like, I cannot imagine why young people are fleeing rural life for high-paying careers in the city where they struggle to pay rents and maintain monster-growth consumer lifestyles, plan a getaway to the country, and now, seriously believe that having children is not an economically viable option! Meanwhile, if farmers opt for this technological innovation, you can be sure that it is another version of laissez-faire “fatalist” eco-psychology not unlike that which prompted the extirpation of beaver and the harvesting of salmon to near-extinction: meaning, “if I don’t do it, the other guy will, and then my goose will be cooked.” Worth noting that in 2017 farmers in the USA posted the highest suicide rate among all occupations. Of course, Bill Gates, the largest landowner in America now and celebrated collector of GMO seeds is most likely chomping at the bit to invest in this new farming innovation. Meanwhile, pressing, unwieldy environmental and ecological challenges persist at every turn and set to the beat of timetables now that resemble for many quarterly revenue and dividend reports. What to do next? What to do now? As I always say, the earnest question is: How are humans intended to “be” and how does that play against the “world” we have “agreed” to live in? Does the way toward a life of good health and good wealth begin at the apex of modern “development” as it has been prescribed by the assumed powers-that-be? Just to end the rant: self-satisfied “green, educated” eco-urbanites have much to reconsider, too!

    Thanks for the post. And best.


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