What Will I Tell My Kids?

What Will I Tell My Kids?

Every Sunday, my dad and I get to talk story about what’s going on in the agricultural scene as well as the latest science research that we’ve heard about. We are avid followers of the latest findings and both follow the politics pretty closely. I’ve been having these chats with him for several years now and it’s usually pretty upbeat and positive.

Today’s one was unlike any other talk story time. He’s usually talking about how my brother is learning the ropes of the farm and loves to reminisce about the way he was when joining the farm with my grandfather. He’d say that young farmers come in with lots of bright ideas about how they are going to change this and that because the new way is better, only to realize that some old ways are good because they are tried and true. Today was different as I heard him mention that with all these additional laws being targeted at ag and farmers, he would not be surprised if my brother decides to throw in the towel.

I have to say that I have never even given thought to seeing the end of my dad farming. This is his passion! It was something that never made him rich but it is what he loves to do. He essentially worked two full time jobs for decades to support the family and keep the farm. My brother also realized my dad’s passion and wanted to continue his legacy. If he gives up, there will be no more Kamiya Papaya.

It seems farming was once a noble profession but in this day and age, it is no longer respected apparently. With all of this targeted legislation being proposed by politicians and activists, of whom have never even had decades of farming experience, one gets tired of defending their work and continuing to reiterate the need to incorporate science into it. It’s easier to read stuff off the Internet as truth and then rile up people for the cause than to produce a crop. The farmers or the 1.5% of the population have a hard time getting their message loud enough over the 99%. Who will step in for us?

I’ve got to say that I really felt saddened after hearing my dad say that today. The days where politicians did research into the issues and sometimes did what was right but against popular opinion is over. They have to listen to the loudest of folks first and foremost. Leaders no longer have the integrity to protect the folks who are doing the right thing but have the lesser number. There are some but they are far and few between because of the attacks by activists upon them.

Ten years down the line, I don’t want to have to tell my kids the story about why they can’t go down to papa’s farm. Nor do I want to tell my youngest daughter that there are no more real tractors to play on because the farm is gone. Least of all, I don’t want to have to tell my youngest why we have pictures of a farm and nothing else. I’m hoping that by doing my part, I can stop that from becoming a reality. The farm is my dad’s legacy and our family’s heritage and no one can take that away from us without a fight for truth.

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How Big is Your Heart?

How Big is Your Heart?

It’s a really soggy and blustery Valentine’s Day here in Hawaii. No outdoor time today with this weather but a good time to sit down and spend time with my kiddies.

My youngest is snuggled up in my arms as I type this. I look at his soft rosy cheeks and think back about when my older daughter was born 9 years ago. I remember just feeling a huge rush of happiness and love when she was born. It was just an amazing feeling that is indescribable.

When my second daughter was born, I used to think that how could I have enough love to give to another one. I learned that each child just makes your heart grow even more. Now with my newest addition, the amount of love one can feel is truly endless.

The same is true for the other things in life that I love doing and am passionate about. The more things we care about and help others, the more we grow as a person. My dad always told me as a teen, whatever you do in life, be sure to help others. That is my motto for everything I do.

Whether it be working with my seniors at work or volunteering at a health center for the less fortunate, this world needs more people who give of themselves. I don’t have a lot of time but I make the time and effort to give back. I want to lead in example to my kids how we all can make a difference in this world in action and in word. What can we do to help others and share the talents and skills that we have? We all have something to give!

So on this Valentine’s Day, share your love with others and grow your heart and mind!

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How to Convince Lawmakers to Side With Your Cause

I have to hand it to the Center for Food Safety with their excellent photoshopping skills. They know exactly how to prep people for “talking points” and pull on the heartstrings of legislators. Present the same info and get them all to repeat it over and over. People will believe you more when it’s said multiple times without question no matter how illogical it may be.

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On their social media sites, you find nothing but photos of kids in memes and the same words of poison, toxins, deadly dust and so on. Every once in awhile, suited gas mask man is sitting in a field. There are no links to educate people on where these claims are coming from other than their own websites. True education and exposure to facts will cause the general internet scholar to think which is dangerous to their movement. The entire theme that you’ll see is that farmers are poisoning people with no data to back it up. They are experts in getting hipsters into this great cool social movement. When you are well fed, have extra time and money, this is nothing more than hobby activism of the privileged. How many needy folks are going to hang out at The Pig and Lady restaurant to talk about issues?

Interesting enough that when they first started posting things, they had nice photos of taro fields and scenic areas with hip looking folks in it. Fast forward to the last several months, and you get doom and gloom. Their message is you’re being sprayed and we’re all being killed. Time to whip up the paranoia button before the legislative session starts!

I prefer to stand on the side of facts and rational thoughts. Some people think I speak for the seed companies. The problem is they just don’t understand farming irregardless of what’s being farmed. The facts and concepts apply to all types of farming. Hawaii agriculture is not what the Center for Food Safety tries to portray which is why they sell the fear ticket. It’s easy to demonized a farm that you’ve never been on or used as your livelihoods. These people claim to love agriculture but you can’t love it and then attempt to dismantle it. You either love it all or hate it. It just can’t go both ways.

Will our legislators take the time to consider facts or drink up the emotional pot of fear? Is that fear going to make anyone healthier when it doesn’t get to the actual cause of these mystery illnesses. The first step in solving this case is to get to the root of the problem and not jumping to conclusions.

It is clear that the goal is to destroy our agricultural heritage by taking advantage of people’s lack of knowledge is science and farming. Take a look at the real side that is actually producing something tangible and growing Hawaii. It’s sure not the Center for Food Safety from its office in the concrete capital.

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Failing to Prioritize People’s Needs Fails Us All

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In this week’s Civil Beat, there was an article about the public housing situation. It’s not a new story at all. It is getting funding cut to it and is deteriorating or dilapidated in some cases. Many people depend on this and without it, these folks would be on the streets.

Many legislators have been in office for quite sometime and I’m sure are well aware of this problem. According to CB, some of the units shoot out black water from the plumbing or are pest infested causing allergies and asthma. If a private landlord allowed people to live in these conditions, they’d be investigated and fined. However, because this is the state, there is no such urgency or accountability for these issues. The keiki and kupuna who call these units homes must just tolerate it.

Shouldn’t this be an urgent priority for our lawmakers? There is a really high probability of someone getting ill or hurt living in substandard conditions. Isn’t this something that the health committee should consider a priority?

Sadly, the needs of the most vulnerable of folks will not likely be heard. Instead, our politicians like Senator Josh Green and Representative Chris Lee turn their heads to the loudest of people. These activists have more than enough food and have enough free time to get on a plane to protest island to island. They have enough disposable income to be able to buy more expensive food. Ironically, these people’s needs are the priority.

There may indeed be illnesses as claimed but it has not been ascertained. All of these illnesses seem to be based in speculation and politicians want to base their laws upon a guess. This actually fails to find the real causes before it turned into law. How does this help anyone? It doesn’t.

Instead of really looking at all sides of the issue and only listening to the squeaky wheels, our leaders fail the ones who need their support the most. Where’s the true leader who can say what is needed the most to the loudest? Are they willing to step up to address the real priorities? Where is that person for these folks who are the 1 in 5 who live in poverty and have to worry about stretching their dollar each month?

Leaders sometimes have to make unpopular decisions at time and not duck from what is right. Yes, GMOs and pesticides are the hot topic now, however the data collected shows otherwise.

Photo Credit

GMO Papaya Princess (pictured) Joni Kamiya: She is something else so send that woman some aloha and an organic gift basket!

GMO Papaya Princess (pictured) Joni Kamiya: She is something else so send that woman some aloha and an organic gift basket!

Who has no aloha? This proves my point! Thanks Naomi for this! You did well!

Please send some love to the agrochemical industry profiteers attacking community members standing up to Monsanto, they need it most of all.

Aloha Reader,

My name is Nomi Carmona, and I am an environmental advocate, community lobbyist and organizer in Hawaii. I represent the 99% or at least our 13,500 community members in Hawaii who have joined my community group against the world’s largest chemical companies in Hawaii, which are poisoning us. I am here to provide my comments regarding the public figure, Joni Kamiya who has spent an enormous amount of time writing about me. By the end of this post, you will understand why.

Right now, there are some very concerning, very toxic genetic engineering and pesticide operations occurring in Hawaii. I know you think of Hawaii as pristine and know how much everyone loves the islands, which is why you should know the truth, we are at risk every day and getting poisoned every day by the world’s largest chemical companies experimenting with GE crops and growing GMO seeds to ship…

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Why Politicians Hear From Very Few People in the Anti-GMO Debacle



It was reported yesterday on HPR that some 600 pieces of testimony came in regarding the anti-pesticide bill.  Rep. Chris Lee and the rest of his committee felt very confident in passing it through because of it.  Just because it appears to have a lot of support doesn’t make it the right thing to do.  Why did few people speak up to begin with?

For one thing, speaking up against these activists makes one an immediate target to very ugly actions.  No one wants to subjected to being accused of crimes against humanity.

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So it’s not surprising why the politicians don’t hear much from people on the issue when you’ll be subjected to these kinds of tactics.

Well, for continuing to speak for our family farm, the latest thing these activists are doing is attempting to smear those who speak out.  It turns out that Naomi Carmona of the Babes Against Biotech has gone on a domain fishing hunt by buying up anyone’s name who doesn’t support them.  Take a look at what she has purchased.

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Yes, why would anyone bother to speak up when you’ll get cyber squatted and possibly bullied that way? Oh, yes, and she has gone even further by actually purchasing a blog post and posting something on me!

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It really doesn’t bother me that these activists do this type of thing.  It’s only a reflection of the kind of people they truly are.  They continue to claim that I have no aloha and I don’t do what is pono but the evidence shows otherwise. Posting what you and your followers state is called holding you accountable. You said it and should be responsible for it, if not, don’t say it. Honestly, what normal person goes out and buys domains of people whom disagrees with you and puts a website under it? Isn’t that an attempt to cyber bully to send people at me? Sure appears that way.

The bottom line is that when you speak up in Hawaii, these anti-aloha folks prove themselves over and over again.  They may be numerous and loud but it doesn’t make them right.  Instead of debating on facts, they resort to personal attacks.  It just validates that facts are useless in these issues. While the politicians heard from just 18 opposers and some 600 supporters, it’s doesn’t add to any justifications.

How did Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety and folks get so many to send testimony in? Easy. Align with Naomi and her Babes Against Biotech. These anti-aloha groups are one in the same. Let’s give them a little rope and see if they can do what is pono.

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Thanks Center for Food Safety for Helping Hawaii Farmers!

Thanks Center for Food Safety for Helping Hawaii Farmers!

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Right now, a whole bunch of politicians and activists are packing a conference room to dictate laws that will be placed against farmers under the disguise of “protecting keiki, kupuna, and others.” That’s the intent of the expressed law but the real intent is just targeting agriculture irregardless of the size of the farm.

Unlike activists, the farmers don’t have the luxury cruising around the Capitol and socializing with other activists while waiting to give testimony. My dad and brother have deliveries to make for their customers who keep them farming. I’d be there right with them except I have an unvaccinated newborn to care for. Setting aside 3 hours to defend themselves means unnecessary inconveniencing of stores and waiting customers.

In lieu of testifying in person, my dad and brother sent in their thoughts to the legislators.

Here’s what my dad had to say:

My name is Kenneth Kamiya and I am a papaya farmer on Oahu with over 40 years of experience in growing papayas. I strongly oppose HB 1514.

This bill as written is anti-farming. It purports to protect children, kupuna, and the general citizenry but in actuality it hurts everyone. We talk about food sustainability in Hawaii, yet this bill will discourage farming all together.

There is talk of a dock strike on the west coast and food may become in short supply, and yet we are trying to discourage farmers from producing the food that we eat.

Pesticides are tools for the farmer to utilize in agriculture. A mechanic without tool is not a mechanic. A farmer without the proper tools cannot be a farmer in Hawaii. As it stands, we are already highly regulated and another level of regulation will be the last shovel of dirt on our graves.

My brother also sent his testimony:

My name is Michael Kamiya and I am a 3rd Generation Papaya Farmer. My grandfather started papaya farming in the 1940’s and my father continued to grow the farm and produce the Kamiya Papaya which is sold throughout the island.

As a new farmer just learning the business and slated to take over in the next few years, I strongly opposed HB 1514. This is an attack on local small agriculture. Though it may not be written for small farms, it will still affect us. In fact, it DIRECTLY affects us because our farm borders the Brigham Young Hawaii Campus. We have 6 acres that are bordering the mens and womens dormitories along our farm. If this law were to come into effect, we would lose that prime agricultural land that our farm has cultivated for over 25 years. To add to that, in those 25 years, we have not had a single complaint from any students, staff or faculty member from the campus. The fields that border the dormitories have infrastructure that we have personally invested in, they include roads, irrigation, soil amendments and swales to prevent flooding or run off. If we were not allowed to continue farming in those fields, it would severely impact our production and ultimately our business.

Another reason I oppose this bill is because it contains redundancy from the Worker Protection Standards. As a certified and licensed pesticide applicator in the State of Hawaii, we already comply with much of the requirements listed in the proposed bill. Postings, record keeping and disclosure are all required and thoroughly reviewed with the USDA Food Safety Audit that we must comply with every year in order to sell and market our products.

The exemption for the Pest and Termite Companies is very discriminatory towards farmers. They spray and use far more dangerous chemicals than we as farmers ever use. If we are to regulate and manage pesticide usage in Hawaii, it should be for everyone including businesses, golf courses, schools, government, even homeowners, not just farmers.

Lastly, as a new and hopeful farmer looking to the future, instead of making laws to stifle farmers, we should work together as a community to promote proper pesticide usage.

Laws are good when its intentions are fulfilled and this bill does not do due diligence to the perceived need for legislation. If we as a community and the political leaders truly want to protect people, then apply the regulations across the board for each and every user who potentially can harm others with misuse. That includes the state and county agencies who use the same substances. It’s also disturbing to see that this law also subjects farms to lawsuits but does of clearly spell out what the course of action or processes that will be applied. It fuels more attacks and places more uncertainty as to what’s the next thing they are going to burden farms with.

The worst issue about this proposed law is that it continually subjects farmers to more attacks based in misinformation. The accusations that farmers “douse their crops in toxins” and “spray people” or “poison the aina” will only be perpetuated given the language of the bill as written. Is that going to encourage others to farm or even want to continue farming? Furthermore, these activists preach doing what is pono (righteous) and can’t even walk the talk.

So Rep. Lee and Rep. Lowen as well as other committee members, really consider all the consequences of any law you are proposing. The backers of this bill, the Center for Food Safety, stated that they are here to grow the local food movement but in reality are out to break it. If we as a state want to have more local foods, we’d better support the people, big or small, that make this happen.

Hawaii Seed’s Walter Ritte expressed in his Star Advertiser commentary yesterday that it’s big corporations that is blocking farming. Sorry, but it’s not them. It’s you and all of your associations from Vandana Shiva, Babes Against Biotech’s Naomi Carmona, Dr. Hector Valenzuela, and SHAKA’s Lorrin Pang, armchair farmers, and Center for Food Safety’s Ashley Lukens who are killing people’s desire to continue their tireless work. Pointing fingers and making false accusations against the 1.5% that feed you isn’t inspiring anyone to grow Hawaii. Keep it up activists and Hawaii can be proud to say that ALL of our food will be imported and there will be no need to keep the country country anymore. You’ll appreciate it more if that dock strike hits and we get to thank the activists for their accomplishments!

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