How is a liberal to think? On one hand you have technology improving the delivery of fresh produce to markets thereby reducing the need for processed goods. On the other, you have technology reducing the need for labor:
SALINAS, Calif. – On a windy morning in California’s Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds.
The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can “thin” a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.
The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization — fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they’re sensitive to bruising.
Me? We don’t have workers willing to work at the price being offered. Technology is a win-win.