No sooner did Representative Chris Lee state that the anti-pesticide laws he was proposing would not affect the small farmer, he flip flops and proposes this vague bill that indeed does affects all farms. That is extremely disappointing.
Here we had the Washington, D.C. based Center for Food Safety in town throwing chat sessions and dinners proposing increasing our local food supply. Instead of going into the agricultural community to learn about Hawaii’s ag systems and stakeholders, they show their true colors by going straight for the legislature. They want direct conflict instead of collaboration apparently. The same applies to their request to join Earthjustice to defend the Big Island county lawsuit also. Their actions clearly show that they aren’t about working together but about creating constant conflict.
If these activists groups, not advocacy groups, really want to get more people on the farms, adding vague legislation with no parameters based upon data only makes reaching that goal even more difficult. Farmers are already subject to Federal and state laws in every single aspect of their work. No one wants added legislation without due cause and should be justifiable with data.
If anything, legislators really need to consider all the consequences of adding more burdens upon farmers and considering all aspects of any and all proposed laws. If CFS and Rep. Lee are really worried about pesticides, it’s only just if they consider all of the data available.
I suggest starting by looking at the whole picture, specifically at who are the users of pesticides and its impacts. It’s not just to only pinpoint a single user if the initial defined issue is clear. In this case, the state would be essentially having another Kauai Bill 2491 episode on their hands. Do we really want that again? Did it help our communities with their real concerns or just drive another stake of divisiveness rooted in fear and misinformation? Is the goal to kill ag in Hawaii?
If the CFS were really sincere about people’s health and issues with agricultural pesticides, also know as crop protection products, they would’ve had fundraisers to conduct studies to collect data to back up their cause. Instead, this group used a whole lot of money, likely over $100k or more, to bring in Vandana Shiva to our communities. She doesn’t speak with facts and only indoctrinated people with her ideology. CFS also would have invested more wisely in having a true scientist work for them to get the facts across to protect people as they claim. If they aren’t happy with what the state is doing, use those resources and actually collect the data and work with others to fulfill those promises.
The sad fact is being pointed out that Hawaii is being used as a pawn in all of this. The attorneys for these groups claim that they are being “smeared,” but fail to look at their own websites and associations and the smearing they have funded over the course of their existence. These people thrive on divided communities and creating conflict. Is that really pono?
My dad and brother are that 1.5% that want to farm. They work long hours and come home achy, tired, and sore, but they go back to it everyday, year after year. It is their passion and appreciation from their long time customers that reinvigorates their drive to farm. It keeps them going and sustains them.
Farmers don’t complain about their work and have a deep love for what they do. They don’t have the luxury of flexible hours like 10-4 or have to guard their yoga
hour like CFS’ Ashley Lukens’ workday. They want to be out there in their fields getting produce grown and not at the legislature or at a hostile neighborhood board meeting or in a courtroom defending their life’s work. Nor do farmers get paid to fly island to island to join a social protest.
I want to see our family farm thrive under my brother’s leadership and possibly in my kids’ hands. Farming is in our blood and has been for decades. Isn’t it time that we start listening to the farmers?