National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

If you want a wonderful and eye-opening window to the world of your fellow fresh produce professionals from across the globe, you need to visit the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group.

I created the group in 2008, with yours truly as the first and only member at the time. It has since grown to more than 5,300 members, recently adding between 50 and 90 members each and every week.

While there are many newsy discussions daily, I am always drawn to look at the latest postings in what I call the "introduce yourself" discussion thread. Started in April last year, I asked members to give their:

1. Hometown
2. First job in the industry - and what you do now
3. Hobbies/past-times

The remarkable diversity of where people found their beginnings in life and in the industry are compelling. So many of them reveal humble starts, whether sacking groceries, picking fruits and vegetables,  driving a tractor or working as an underling in a family produce business.

It is a glimpse of the then and now, a condensed history of 180 of your peers and counting.  Feel free to join the group and make your own introduction.