The fruit if you labour

Volunteer fruit pickers on a kibbutz, Israel 1974, time of crisis, battle still raging on Golan Heights and regular skirmishes in the Sinai.

What is it about a crisis that people do not seem to understand? (I apologise in advance if, in any way, this rant offends you.)

And when I write people, I am thinking people without work, people in state, federal and local governments, insurance company executives, members of Rotary, Apex and similar clubs, football clubs of all codes, other sporting groups, all forms of clubs that cause people to gather in groups, school principals, charity workers and retired people who claim to know all about “hard work”, but seem to delight in complaining about subsequent generations. defines a crisis as:

  1. a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.
  2. a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
  3. a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.

And, surely, in a major crisis we must consider important supply chains. Perhaps foremost is the production and distribution of food, for, may I be bold here, WITHOUT FOOD WE WILL DIE.

How many times have you read the complaints of fruit growers, restaurateurs and other business that required casual or seasonal workers?

How many times have you blamed JobKeeper, or JobSeeker, and the laziness of every generation except the one you are in?

How many times have you said to yourself – I’m going to call those people on that farm, or in that orchard, restaurant, or café, and offer my services?


What about giving them a call, see if they are in need, then go back to your sporting/ service/bridge club and say – What about we go out there and help pick, or wash, or wait?

And if you run a business, what about offering your staff one day off a week, on full pay, to go out and pick. Or, if you can, take the entire staff out and make it a team building day.

Better still, call a meeting of your local chamber of commerce, or shire and suggest the entire town closes for one day a week until the harvest is complete.

What will help is if insurance companies and governments dive in and get rid of the usual paperwork until the crisis runs its course.

It’s a crisis. Life is not the same in a crisis. That’s why we call it a crisis and it screams out for a different response.

Easy for me to write all this because I remember a time, way back in the 1970s, when I lived on a kibbutz in Israel.

Back then, when the harvest was ready, everybody picked – old people, high school people, the executive, the cooks, dish washers, bottle washers, cleaners. What’s more, everyone did the jobs everyone hated, in particular washing dishes in the communal dining room.

Our kibbutz even bussed people down from Tel Aviv to pick fruit, young people from the same political movement.

Which reminds me, what about the Liberals, Labors, Greens and Nationals stepping up and bussing in party members from the city, or larger towns, to show support, to chip in, to bring in the harvest, to reveal their commitment, their willingness to actively respond to a crisis.

Be safe.

Good luck.

Go on, make a call.

Author washing dishes.
Author’s family in the orchard, 1971, bringing in the fruit.

2 thoughts on “The fruit if you labour

  1. Great idea, Jon. A call to arms- a way we can all actually help…
    Please keep us posted.
    Sydney is a bit far for me to help out over there in person…but I can cheer you all on….

  2. Brilliant idea Jon….I will give this serious consideration. What are your top 5 suggestions of food producers in and around Albany who need help in the next couple of months?

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