Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton hit growers with a rocky piece of advice during their annual general meeting Saturday.
While welcoming them to Penticton during lunch, the mayor, who "grows apples, cherries and horses" on a five-acre orchard in Summerland, emphasized that they must be open to change.
To ensure they got the point, he pulled a rock, which is normally on his desk at city hall, from his coat pocket and read:
"It's not the strongest who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change.
"That's from Charles Darwin," he said, "who knew a thing or two about change."
He has had the rock, which he bought at a bazaar in Seattle,
for his six terms on Penticton council.
Ashton learned early while at Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s that Okanagan orchardists would have to be adaptable if they are to survive in the shadow of the huge Washington State orchard industry.
When his father brought him down some apples, a friend asked him where they came from, Ashton told him they were from his family's orchard.
His friend said his family also had an orchard: 1,700 acres with 1,100 acres planted in apples.
"That was a reality check. I had no idea farms of that size existed. I don't think the entire Okanagan Valley had 1,100 acres in apples at that time. We have to change."
Ashton said he knows, as the "change agent" of Penticton, that individually it is sometimes difficult to make a difference, but collectively they could.
"You have to change or you go the way of the dinosaur. Change is important for any organization â€¦. (but) you have to be transparent, you have to be conciliatory, you have to be willing to compromise and you need to be co-operative."