Fake Food Group: The Center for Food Safety

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Since June 12, 2016, Hawaii has been experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak.  This indeed is a food safety issue that the Hawaii Department of Health has been trying to solve.  Some 206 cases have been reported and the source has been found, frozen scallops from the Philippines.

Since June, there has been no peep from the Hawaii Center for Food Safety or its parent group, the Center for Food Safety, warning the public of this at all.  Now if this were truly a food safety group, wouldn’t they be focused on this very real issue sickening people? Even more so, you’d think they’d even be helping people get information on where to get the hepatitis A vaccination also.  None of this was ever posted on any of their media to notify the public.  It wasn’t until this past Wednesday that they actually posted that comment on their Facebook page.

So what prompted them to address the issue nearly 2 months late? I decided to post a comment on the Civil Beat article asking why they were doing nothing about it.  Well, it clearly shows that Ashley Lukens and her boss, Andrew Kimbrell, aren’t anything about food safety.  They represent nothing other than a front group for the organic industry.  Look at their hashtags and the truth is shown.

Their comment on supporting local food is even more funny because the increased demand for organic foods have forced much of it to be grown internationally!  Is organic food from China safer that what we grow in Hawaii?  They supported a ban of GM papayas that saved one more  local source of food here!

I’d love to pressure CFS to even question the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea monument if keeping food local is so important.  They should be against the expansion that would increase our need for foreign seafood sources.  They even should drop their lawsuit against the GMO salmon if we want more domestic food sources!

The kicker of this whole issue is that they are proposing to block the GMO mosquito too, which has nothing to do with food safety.  I wouldn’t be surprised if CFS is behind the scare campaigns being launched in various cities to block GM mosquitos and pesticide spraying.  Maybe CFS wants us to be the human experiment of what happens to people when they ignore or block science.

Then again, their might be an agenda that we aren’t really seeing here.  If more organic food is recalled for contamination, it means more hospital stays and in hepatitis A, a vaccination.  If I thought like an anti-Monsanto conspiracy theorist, it might be that CFS is really a big pharma to get people vaccinated!  You know that we don’t want to become human guinea pigs!

 

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Well, the Center for Food Safety must be getting pretty desperate when they pull the “woo” over folks by bringing in the Food Babe.  That estimated $15k they are paying her to come makes for a great vacation in Honolulu where she will face living in GMO ground zero.  She’ll have to eat her GMO hotel food and sleep on Monsanto cotton sheets too.  How dreadful!

I know I must be creeping under their skin when I get a hashtag too, #GMOjoni.  I honestly am not intimidated by their personal attacks.  I basically want a few things from them if they wish I’d stop calling this stuff out.  Ashley and her wanna be farm folks need to stop lying about farmers and learn first.  She needs to take a tour or visit CTAHR professors other than Dr. Valenzuela.  Then I want her sugar daddy’s group to drop those lawsuits against the salmon and GM mosquito.  Let progress happen instead of blocking things and giving no alternative.  Take your political science and law degree to learn how you can use science to improve people’s lives instead of endangering all of us by stirring up ignorance and the angry mob.  Got that Ashley?

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Pain and Suffering

I felt plain old horrible yesterday.  I had some major pain along my ribs that ached.  I suspected that it was caused by the crack I heard after being smashed by 185 lbs of children on a carnival ride.  I had to breathe shallow and hunch to avoid pain.  Even with some ibuprofen, I still felt awful.

I took myself and my 3 kids to the urgent care right after work.  Luckily my husband could pick them up since it would mean a long night.  I waited over two hours to get seen and have an x-ray.  Luckily, nothing was broken, but I did have mastitis, which contributed to my pain.  The doctor gave me pain meds and a course of antibiotics.

With each of my kids, I’ve tried to nurse them as long as possible.  My eldest nursed until she was 27 months old.  My second child took the cake and kept at it well past 3 years old.  I had to take a trip to get her to stop.  My son is still nursing at 20 months.  He’s my erratic nursing monster so I’ve had my share of mastitis with him.

Usually, I’m able to take care of it without medication, but this time, I could not.  It was unbelievably sore, to the point where I cried in pain when my chest was bumped by him trying to snuggle.  My poor son was so confused as to why I wouldn’t let him jump on me.

Thankfully, I managed to get in a dose of antibiotics that reduced my infection significantly this morning.  After suffering yesterday, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t get medication.  Then it hit me how important antibiotics can be for animals too.

While many activists are demonizing the use of antibiotics and food companies are jumping on the bandwagon, I can’t help but think how cruel this antibiotic free label is for animals.  If someone denied me medicine, I’d be suffering.  If a sick animal was not given medicine, it would be suffering also just because a non-food producing activist doesn’t understand the process.

The more I see these non-profit advocacy groups trying to fear monger and dictate policy, I can see that these poorly vetted decisions indeed cause suffering.  These food fads aren’t making agriculture any better.  It actually promotes the very thing that we want to avoid in many cases.

After feeling so sick last night, I’m going to avoid any food company who touts anti-scientific food fads. Those behind those bad decisions aren’t helping anyone but marketing to ignorance and fear.  The ignorance and fear industry can only criticize but haven’t shown us a better way of doing things.  If they can’t come up with an actual better practice, they are only talk.  Those talkers need to do some science and prove that their way is better.  image

 

 

Fleeting Beauty

imageAs I’ve gotten older and have had several relatives pass away, I’ve come to realize how short life is and the value of the time we have on earth is so temporary.

When my maternal grandfather passed away nearly 15 years ago, our family had the arduous task of going through his belongings.  It was very painful to have to give up the things that reminded me of him.  I didn’t want to part with those aloha shirts that he loved to wear to parties.   They weren’t any brand names or fancy prints.  These shirts were just the typical Sears or JCPenny types.   To me, that was my grandpa.

As the years went on and my heart healed from his passing, I found it wasn’t the things that gave me comfort.  The pieces of clothing eventually made its way to Goodwill for someone else to bring life to again.  What I did manage to do was years before his passing, I made a tape recording of us talking story about the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.  Hearing his voice and his story was so comforting.  Even all the pictures I took with him were stories of the time I had with him.

I’ve lost so many dear relatives in the last several years and I miss them so much.   None were rich but they all left me with rich memories that money could never buy.  They taught me so many lessons in life about generosity, kindness, and happiness.  Those are things a million dollars could not give anyone.

In the age of social media and selfies, I’m not one to be there posting about me.  I don’t wear expensive designer clothes or drive a fancy car.  Nor do I spend tons of money on any makeup or beauty products.

For a short time in college I almost got swept up into the materialism of makeup and clothes but reality hit when it came time to go to grad school and I had to foot my own bill.  My folks were not wealthy so it meant working my way through school.  I gave up on the outer beauty expenses and focused on what I could do to give back to my community with education.

I still believe in the power of education today and my hope is that my children will also have that opportunity to better their lives.  We can talk about solving problems like climate change politically, but the real problem solvers will be those who are educated to solve them.  We will turn to science to track these issues and figure out ways to do things better for the next generation.

You won’t see me spending $7939 on media opportunities ever.  My white hair is showing as well as the wrinkles and age spots on my face.  I’ll still go to my hair dresser who has cut my hair for the last 30 years at a local salon.  I’ll still drive my 8 year old car with all the secondhand car seats in it.  I’ll still shop at Times Supermarket in search of the best deals.

What you will see me doing is giving support for education and leading by example to my children in the fulfilling their maximal potential for the future. I will teach them to not fear hard work and critical thinking.  I hope that they will have a sense of appreciation for the life they have and where we came from.  I hope that they will always strive to do their best and give it their all in life.  My journey will help to create the paths for them to follow and eventually go on their own path.  I won’t need a Coach bag or a $1000 spa day to do that either.

 

 

A Dream and a Vision

What can one person do to change things for the better?  Some people will say not a whole lot and it’s just wasted time.  Some will defy those odds.

Meet my friend, Makani Christensen.  He had a dream to have the local people’s voices heard.  He has a vision for Hawaii that he wants for his family and it is just like what others want too.

I met Makani over a year ago through mutual friends.  I was invited to attend a talk story group organized by the fishermen and hunters.  Leaders in these groups had seen access to the resources slowly dwindling and a groundswell in politics promoting a loss of those island ways of living.  These folks wanted to do something to preserve their ways of living off the land and ocean.  As we all talked story, we all realized that we were in the same boat.

That group included long time local folks from many islands that decided something had to be done or we’d lose out.  There were folks from the Big Island, Kauai, and Oahu there.  Many wore their t-shirts and rubber slippers to the meeting.  As I listened to everyone’s story, it hit me that our voices weren’t being heard and if we could band together, we’d have a much louder voice as a group.  That’s where Makani led the charge to form the Hunting, Farming, and Fishing Association.

We were a small group of just 6 of us folks fighting to continue our rights to farm, fish, and hunt.  We had no money, but we did have passion and energy to do something about the loss of ways of living.  The very people who were against us, weren’t going to back down and collaborate on the plan to include these ways of living into policies.  From the animal rights folks down to the anti-GMO and anti-fishing folks, who were backed with full time paid activists and lots of money for media, they used any means possible to dictate the narratives that our groups were horrible people.  It simply was wrong but it didn’t matter to those who don’t live like us like this because they focused on only the end goal of taking people off the ocean and land.  Collaboration is not part of the mainland activists’ vocabulary.

Without any fancy public relations or huge social media presence, our group was disadvantaged to begin with.  That never deterred Makani.  Even some people within our group was anti-GMO and skeptical of it but Makani still pressed on to have people learn more before they formed an opinion.  It was hard to get people to educated when popular opinion was to be anti-GMO and most of their friends and family were leaning that way.  He helped to organize people to help show up at hearings to speak up for farmers and was threatened by none other than Dustin Barca himself.  He was not afraid to speak up for our farming family despite the huge opposition.  I was inspired that he’d put himself out there.

When it was time for the other user groups to be heard, I showed up at a hearing and learned their issues to speak up for them.  I had just had my son less than 8 weeks prior but still made the trek over to speak up for them.  With my baby sleeping over my shoulder, I gave testimony for the hunters that I had met and learned their stories.  Despite me not being a hunter, I was put on the news for speaking up.

This year, after much persistence, the hunters got their bill passed that helped create a gaming commission that amplified their voices in policies before the fact.  It was through hard work and lots of relationships developed in the community that worked to change policy in their favor for once.  It really was a collaborative effort on all sides to help each other out.

One person can’t do much alone and that’s clear. One person can make change that can be heard even in Washington, DC.  He didn’t need tons of money and the backing of powerful people to be heard, but he still accomplished to get the local voice heard.  Makani was that person who inspired so many to help speak up to preserve Hawaii’s ocean access to people.  He didn’t get paid or was backed by any non-governmental organization or non-profit funded by the wealthy to get the local folks heard but what he did have was the passion to speak up.

Several years ago, there was a proposal to expand the National Humpback Whale Sanctuary in Hawaii.  That expansion would have limited many ocean activities that are a part of life here in Hawaii.  Despite the glaring fact that the humpback whales were recovering without the expansion, there still was a push for this monument.  Makani and several others worked tirelessly to get organized and have people’s voices heard to stop this from happening.

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So what could this one person do?  With his leadership and inspiring others to help increase awareness of this issue, he got the local folks’ voice heard.  With his t-shirt, board shorts, and a red wagon, he walked over 10,000 signatures to Governor Ige’s office.  That monument did not expand to take people out of the oceans and policy that was not soundly based in evidence did not prevail.

Many people think that Makani’s lack of “official” political experience is a concern.  Lots of people questioned this choice to begin with.  The old school wants a long timer in office to bring in lot of money to Hawaii but is that really helping out the local folks who continue to struggle to make ends meet?  Are their needs being heard in Washington, DC?  When our young students leave Hawaii, are they coming back with their hopes of working here or are they leaving because of the lack of opportunities?  There are many families who long to return home but simply can’t because of what’s happening here.  Is that how we are going to keep our island home special when all the local folks can’t even come back?

Well, one guy in his t-shirt and shorts did an amazing feat to get the local people heard loud and clear.  In fact, he’s a Hawaiian who got all the people’s voice heard in Washington, DC.  You won’t see him talking bad about others and in fact he’s been on wanted posters for the unpopular stances he’s taken, which is what has happened to me.  He did all of this with no money and for the local folks.

Actions speak louder than incessant radio commercials and I chose to go with those who have been in our communities and listened to the local folks’ stories.  I put my trust in Makani making Hawaii a better place for my children and for all the families of Hawaii.  He defied the odds and got our voices heard and continues to lead others to do the same and speak up for what is right.  My vote goes to Makani Christensen for US Senate because he not only wears the rubbah slippahs, he will speak for the rubbah slippah folks of Hawaii.

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The rubbah slippah folks want to be heard!

 

 

“Civility and Cooperation”

“Civility and Cooperation”

Senator Brian Schatz clearly has a lot of money in his coffers because I hear his radio commercial nearly 6 times during my commute around town, Kaneohe, and to Waikane.  I keep hearing that he’s touting “Hawaii values of civility and a cooperative attitude.”  I’m skeptical of that claim for several reasons.  image

I was at the State Capitol the other day in support of the fishermen.  Behind the crowd stood 3 individuals far removed protesting at the rally.  They weren’t interested in learning what leaders like Governor Ariyoshi, Senator Akaka, OHA’s Peter Apo, and several other Hawaiian civic group presidents had to say about it.  They stood there holding up their signs referring to the quotas.  (Oddly, the proponents of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine monument have stated that this wasn’t about closing fishing down but then all carried signs attacking fishermen.)  These people clearly weren’t about coming to the table to work with groups affected by this decision.  It was their way or no way and their actions show that they want no concessions.  That tells me that Schatz is disingenuous about this value of cooperation.

Not only did the protesters there show none of the values stated in Schatz’s radio commercial, but the infamous, Chelsea Lyons Kent, also demonstrated the lack of the value he calls for: civility.  Her flipping of the bird on national TV as part of Hawaii’s delegates to the DNC and the lack of an apology for it shows no civility.

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Chelsea hasn’t been one of civility for sometime as she  has marched with the most disrespectful bunch of women before, the Babes Against Biotech.  (Remember that the BABs told me that she’d leave the papaya farmers alone.  That was a complete lie.)

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She even asked people to fund her trip to the DNC to represent Hawaii and received quite a sum of money to go.  One person who supported her to represent Hawaii is none other than the anti-GMO candidate running in my district, Patrick Shea.  He gave this “representative of Hawaii” some money too!

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We should not forget who else has been associated with these people either, but my congressional representative, Tulsi Gabbard.  Both she and Schatz touted this conspiracy based “Monsanto Protection Act” to the people of Hawaii.

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So what’s wrong with all of this?

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One is a reflection of their associations and what’s said by one reflects upon the entire group, whether you like it or not.  By choosing to spread misinformation against GMO technology, Gabbard and Schatz, have promoted their message.  It appears fine and dandy to share memes and feel good about fighting this so called “evil.”  The problem is you’re spreading it to people who have little to no real understanding of the issue and it turns these people fearful to the point of being irrational.  When one is irrational due to fear, they can no longer learn or process a rational discussion.

That irrational behavior showed up at our farm yesterday in Punaluu.  A caucasian woman came up to my dad as he was working on the field and started yelling at him that he was poisoning her.  She apparently lives up the street from the farm and had seen them spraying the trees.  He had been spraying sulfur to protect it from disease and insects.  She wouldn’t listen to him and insisted that he was harming her.  She became even more outraged to the point that she destroyed two of his trees right in front of him.  Being that it was late, nearly 5 pm and there was still harvesting to be done, he was shocked by it.  What’s even worse is that my 13 year old nephew had to witness his papa being verbally abused by this woman too.  (A police report will be filed against this woman for what she has done since she has made accusations against our farm before several times but never destroyed property.)

Those papayas still had to be processed and packed and everyone had to work well past dinner to get it out for tomorrow’s deliveries.  It didn’t help that the Punaluu field had been blocked off because of a water main break either back on Monday when it’s usually picked.

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The 20 x 12 x 8 foot sinkhole from a water main break that held up work in the field.

My heart is just aching inside from seeing the destruction of local ways and values that politicians only talk of but don’t seem to exemplify.  Bad behavior and a lack of accountability by leaders and news sources are not helping anyone.  Between the attention given to the anti-GMO groups like Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, the Center for Food Safety, and the Pesticide Action Network, each of these groups purge out evidence-less claims that the media outlets like Civil Beat and even the Star Advertiser have amplified.  When I saw the attacks unfolding against the seed companies several years ago, I already knew that it would trickle down to us as farmers, which has happened.  Politicians like Senator Schatz and Representative Tulsi Gabbard have pandered to the “environmental” industry and a public that’s so far detached from farming to promote themselves at the expense of farmers and others who feed Hawaii.

My dad is limping with a torn calf muscle at the age of 74 but he still puts on that backpack sprayer to take care of his crops in the sweltering 95 degree heat.  He also sits on a tractor for hours on end to get his papayas picked.  He plows the fields and transplants seedlings one by one.  He drives a big rig truck to haul tractors between fields to get it harvested.  He even moves 400 lb bins on and off roller to get the papayas processed.  He is washing those fruits to ensure cleanliness and compliance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act.  He lifts hundreds of boxes of 25 lb and 50 lb boxes of fruit several days a week.  After that, he helps deliver them to all the people who rely on him for their weekly fruit staple.  Not only does he work like a dog, my brother too works along side him.  If anyone epitomizes the value of hard work, it’s anyone who works on a farm and makes it their livelihood.

A politician can work from a clean, air conditioned, cushy office day in and day out.  He can talk farming but if he can only do that, he doesn’t speak for farming.  Farming is the oldest occupation in the world that changed society.  If it weren’t for a farmer, there would be no politician.  Like I told the anti-GMO political candidate, Patrick Shea, don’t talk farming to a farming family.  Come down and work on the farm and then let’s talk there, while you’re working with us.

Real leaders go to the source to learn and encourage others to learn.  During this election season, be sure to look at your leader and see that he or she is setting the example for others to learn and foster learning.  Learning is what will help establish collaboration and lay the foundation the future for our keiki and their keiki.  We are all a part of a community and communities help each other and isn’t it about time we start to heal our bonds?

 

 

 

Ohana Means Family

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Yesterday, I happened to check down on my phone and received a text from my mom that one of our farm employees had collapsed and needed to be transported to the hospital.  He had been picking papayas and suddenly collapsed.  Luckily, he regained consciousness while in the ambulance.

I was really shaken up by this because Dean is family to us.  He has been with our farm for several years now and a dedicated, hardworking, and humble person who has helped to get papayas out to thousands of people all over our island.  The general public tends to forget that behind that papaya they eat every morning is a person’s sweat equity.  Dean’s collapse was just a huge reminder to all of us that farming is a tough and dangerous job.

My brother, Mike, has been supported by Dean’s dedication to the family farm.  Without Dean, Mike would be putting in a lot more hours and probably much more tired.  Every person on our farm is important to us and we consider them family.  One year, Dean had broken his glasses accidentally and had to be without it, which made it really hard to function.  My kind hearted brother decided to do something for him and went to our family optometrist, Dr. Taylor Tom, who helped to get another pair of glasses for Dean. As a small token of appreciation, Mike presented Dean with a replacement pair of his prescription Oakley glasses at Christmas.  Dean was so grateful as was my brother for all of his hard work over the years.

Although farming has become demonized over the last several years, I know for a fact that farmers are some of the most kindest and generous people around.  Not only do they put in long hours, risk their finances at times, and dedicate their lives to feeding people, they truly care about their communities.  They aren’t getting any richer from all of this work but what they do get is a lot of thanks from those who appreciate what they get from farms.

People have spread rumors that my dad is so rich that farming is just his hobby.  Actually, if he was wealthy, you can bet he’d by buying that custom made tractor implement or a brand new, high tech sprayer, and other modern conveniences instead of trying to engineer something himself.  Farming is a love for him and he’s trying to set up the farm to be passed down to another generation.  He is the example to our family that you’ve got to put in a lot of hard work to get what you want out of life and that develops a sense of appreciation once you’ve got there.  Things just don’t fall in your laps and you’ve got to work for it.  That’s farm life and something too few can appreciate in this day and age.

Kindness, humility, and honestly is something we farm families know and we strive to take care of each other in our communities.  We will stand by the truth and support our and ask that others learn about our work before they form an opinion without even stepping foot on a farm.  No one is getting wealthy from the farm but the experiences learned on the fields is something that no money can buy and lives in us everyday.  Farming means family to me and don’t think that anyone can try to disparage family without knowing us as people first.

When you look down at that food you’re about to eat, think about how it got to you and all the people involved in growing it.  It was the agricultural communities around our country that helped to fill your stomachs and nourish you to do greater things.  We’ve got to support ways to help make their jobs easier, not harder.  They already have so much at risk with weather, unexpected events, and now the age of misinformation on the internet. We should not be blocking technology while having no clue on what it takes to farm.  That’s simply not pono.

Support your farmers, each and every one of them.  If you’re leader isn’t planning on supporting them, they are attacking our ohana.  Farming means family and in Hawaii, agriculture is one big family.

 

 

Dear Progressives

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Dear “Progressives,”

Normally, I work Monday through Friday from 8 to around 4:30.  It’s nice having a regular scheduled day that’s always pretty consistent.  However, this week was different because I knew that my family needed my help.  Instead of working my usual schedule, I worked on Sunday so I could take off on Tuesday to help them on the farm.  I’m lucky that I have a flexible schedule to be able to do that.

Well, my dad, brother, cousin, and their employee, Jacob, started around 7 am this morning to pick the fields.  Yesterday, my brother’s main help, Dean, collapsed from heat stress and had to be rushed to the emergency room.  He had to remain at the hospital overnight just to be sure that it wasn’t any cardiac issues.  On top of the loss of help, the roadway that led up to their farm had washed away due to a water main break that left a 20 feet long by 12 feet wide and 8 feet deep sinkhole in the main roadway.  They couldn’t pick that field yesterday.  Yet another complication was that the recent tropical storm, Darby, had drenched the fields leaving it super muddy on Monday and limited their ability to pick it quickly.  With one person down, the acres of fields still have to be harvested.

Tuesday was the day that the food safety inspector was also supposed to show up on top of a heavy load of work ahead.  They conduct regular audits to ensure that we are in compliance with the law to grow safe food.  The sinkhole kept the audit from happening because they couldn’t access our fields.  I had planned to be at the farm after attending the fishermen’s rally at the Capitol since children aren’t allowed to be there during the processing of the fruit.  It was just a crazy day for everyone.

I finally made it down to my folk’s farm just before noon.  My mom and nephew were busy processing the 5 bins of papayas picked from the Laie field.  My two daughters and I quickly jumped in to start grading papayas, washing, packing, stickering them, and stacking the 25 lb and 50 lb boxes.  My parents worked straight through to about 6 pm but I had to leave around 4:15 to pick up my baby from the sitter on time.  I decided that it would be best for me to pick up dinner for the crew since I was out and about, just to make it easy for them.  My folks and the kids stopped to eat just for about 15 minutes and then headed right back to work.

We worked straight from noon time to nearly 8:45 to process some 2700 lbs of papayas between the 5 of us.  My brother asked his partner, Frank, to come by after his day job to help pack papayas too.  From 6 to 8:45, 6 of us were working like crazy to get all of the papayas ready for delivery tomorrow.  We didn’t finish because it just became too dark to get everything done.

My hands are achy and I’m drenched in sweat but I feel happy that I could help out at the farm today.  It does mean working six days a week, but if they need the help and I have the ability to help, I’ll do it.  The processing and harvesting is only part of the farm.  Wednesdays are delivery days and getting the papayas shuttled to customers.  Lots of boxes have to be hand trucked around and lifted in and out of the truck.  My 74 year old dad is still at it spending all day driving around town and parking a huge truck in tight spaces to get those fruit out.  My brother does the same too.  Many times, they face angry customers who want their papaya at a certain time and aren’t very forgiving if there’s traffic or a delay despite knowing Honolulu having the worst traffic.

The other days are spent tending to the fields and scouting for pests and diseases if any.  There’s a lot of busy work and there’s never enough time to do it all many times.  There’s even the occasional off the grid hippie walking into our fields asking why the water spigot doesn’t work.  They love to mooch off of our water because they won’t pay for their own and don’t care to walk down to the beach where there’s public water at the bathrooms.  Combined with the other issue of thefts, the heat and bad weather makes the job even more complicated.

It’s interesting that I received this card stuck on my fence from a “progressive.”  I simply posted on comment on his Facebook campaign page hoping that he’d support all farmers since he was printing his t-shirts on GMO cotton.  Instead of replying back to me, he actually found my address and tried to talk to me, which is weird to me.  It’s like you kind of stalked me down.

Now why would I want to “call you to talk about farming” Patrick?  I don’t see anything in your resume or page that indicates to me that you know anything about farming.  You aren’t spending days in the hot sun and heat tending to fields that give your livelihood.  Nor are you in an occupation where you’re growing food for people to eat year after year, week after week, decade after decade.  I somehow doubt that you know anything about the bugs and disease we face as farmers and have no clue last to what GMOs really are.  Have you ever lost your hours of hard work because of a plant disease that was beyond your control? I doubt it.  But hey, you apparently want to talk farming.

I’ve seen that you replied to me later acknowledging that you “fully support Gary Hooser.”  Do you seriously think that the anti-GMO politician is even more knowledgeable about farming?  He talks the talk about organic farming with Dr. Valenzuela like it is such an easy thing to do.  He’s never grown food for several decades but hey, he knows farming.  I’ve never ever seen a photo of him breaking a sweat, covered in dirt, or scouting for pests, but hey, you progressives know farming so you say.  I really LOVE how you talk about GMOs and pesticides along with Ashley Lukens who has never farmed either and have no indication that you’re willing to learn about it.

So, progressives of Hawaii, the kind of progress you want is to increase our imports to 100% with the stances you take.  By being fully dependent upon imports, that’s a really GREAT thing for sustainability.  Those lofty dreams of yours of taking down the “multinational corporations” leave us small farmers with higher costs for agricultural supplies and other inputs, including affordable ag land.

The rejection of science in agriculture will leave us with extinct ohia trees and other crops, like bananas, which is at risk for total decimation by disease.  We can all get to enjoy Williams bananas that taste nothing like our home grown apple ones.  There won’t be anyone wanting pesticides near their homes too because you’ve decided to fear monger around it instead of educating.  Local residents get to experience invasive species right in their homes because you’re promoting refusal of treatment to kill these creatures. By blocking modern tools like GMO mosquitos, Hawaii folks may get to feel the pain and suffering of dengue and Zika too.

Lots of these same progressives are stating that we have to close of our exclusive economic zones in the oceans too in the name of conservation but then stand with signs criticizing the fishermen, despite telling folks that fishermen wouldn’t be affected.  One local food source with become a thing of the past with the loss of ocean access.

Progress to me is adopting new technologies and ways to do things.  Those who feed people are working so hard and yet progressives want to turn back the hands of time to make their jobs even harder by denying this technology.  I stand for making people’s lives better by using technology and innovation.  We, as modern day citizens, have benefitted so much from technology and yet there’s a faction of people who want to take it away.

So Patrick and other progressives, if you want to talk farming, I have a better idea over talking.  How about you come down to the farm and not take a tour.  No, a tour doesn’t give you any idea of what it takes to grow Hawaii.  You come down at 6 am and start preparing to harvest those papayas.  See if you can drive the tractors and forklifts without knocking over trees and safely keeping your workers on the platform.  See if you can load a 60 lb bin onto the platform and then remove a full one and place it in a high cube truck.  Stack 6 of those bins in that truck too without having them fall onto each other during the ride back to the shed.  Better yet, drive that high cube without scraping the side view mirror in narrow spaces.  Then once you’ve spent hours picking those papayas, please come down and wash and pack it all out.  Make sure you get all the orders right and know where they need to go and how many.  Hand grade every single fruit picked.  After you’ve picked it, pack it all up so that your fruit is ready to go.  Lift some 200 plus cases of 25 lbs and don’t forget to carry the off grade ones too in those 50 lb boxes.  After you’ve done that, the next day you can deliver them all over the island and sit in traffic too to get them to the stores.

You simply can’t “talk farming.”  That just doesn’t cut it.  Until you come down and do this for several months or even years, you don’t know farming.  And to the public who gets their farm information from Google, you don’t know diddly squat from what you read.

My body aches and I’m tired.  I’m reminded about how grateful I am to those that do farm. To those people who think they know farming but have never been on one, get on the farm or shut up before you criticize.  Yeah, I mean it.  I hope that the public who listens to “progressives” view of farming realizes that they listen to people who only talk with no real action showing their willing to learn about it, let alone work on it.  If you ain’t feeding people or on the field, you don’t know nothing about farming.

Live it before you talk about it.  So, when are you planning to work on our farm progressives? We have plenty of work available for you!

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