Picking fruit for a tour around the world

04/06/2012 08:40:00 AM
Tom Karst

I recently read online that agriculture officials in Chile are looking at the New Zealand model of luring adventuresome tourists to help with fruit harvest. The New Zealand model allows the entry of foreigners for up to six months to work in agriculture. 

The website www.backpackerboard.co.nz has a whole section for fruit picking jobs for young travelers to consider.

Can the use of “backpackers” as fruit pickers be transferable to Chile — or to the U.S., for that matter?

Ironically, New Zealand officials told their Chilean counterparts that about 1,000 Chileans come to New Zealand each year to work on farms. Ouch, that hurts, N.Z.

Since U.S. growers are leaving no stone unturned to find a labor force, they might want to put out feelers to adventuresome youths in other countries. See the world and pick apples in beautiful Washington state! Pick lettuce near the central coast of California!

If I were them, I would start looking for workers in Finland.

———

I was at my car mechanic’s shop the other day and asked him how the economy was doing. Not so well, he said. Stressed out by the slow economy and government largesse, he confided that America will meet a day of reckoning and someday go back to the gold standard.

His transparent if bleak views on government aren’t shared by the mainstream. Every government program and regulation under the sun can be justified until the cows come home.

But the question of “What about Bob?” and the multiplicity of federal feeding programs caught my eye the other day. 

In discussing the House budget plan in floor debate, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., contended America is “on the economic road to Greece,” with the national debt now at 100% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

“You know there are 44 different federal job training programs? If one of them works, why would you need the other 43?” Kingston said.

What about Bob?

And then he took square aim at the federal feeding programs via the mythical “Bob.”

If “Bob” is 3 years old, Kingston said, he is eligible for 12 federal feeding programs, including food stamps, child and adult care program, commodity supplemental food program, the fresh fruit and vegetable program, the national school lunch program, WIC and more.


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