The people of Hawaii love papayas. It is a major staple for generations of families here. Many consider it to be the equivalent of the banana on the breakfast table. If bananas were gone, few would know what could be a suitable replacement. That is the reason why the papaya was saved through technology for the people of Hawaii.
The papaya has also helped so many farming families stay in farming. The papaya ringspot virus ravaged so many farmers who were forced to change occupations. Once they stopped farming, many left those fields never to return.
My dad came so close to losing everything. He worked long hours at his day job then worked even more hours on the farm. He was determined to do both jobs to support the family. I only learned recently why he chose that path.
He knew that the farm held many life lessons of working together and staying focused on quality work. Those two values were taught to him by his father and mother. He wanted me and my siblings to learn that on the farm because it would stay with us forever.
Many times, the farm didn’t make money but we were told we had to work to support the family. We learned how to persevere through long hours and the beating hot sun. There was no giving up because people depended upon us. That lesson is stuck in my mind that nothing is as hard as the physical labor needed to grow food. As a result, I am always appreciative for what I have in my life.
My dad is living his dream by farming and seeing my brother learn the ropes. His hands are stiffening up at the end of the day and sometimes he has a sore back. I see him limping from time to time but it doesn’t stop him. He still goes on with his work and beams when happy customers send their appreciation for the fruits of his labor.
A farmer has raised a family on the farm and planted the seeds of success in his children. The farm has changed over the years through new ways of growing crops and using modern technology, but the lessons learned are the same. It takes a lot of hard work and grit to be a farmer. That lesson has to be passed on to each generation in order to sustain family farms.
The Hawaii papaya story has helped to sustain our family through 3 generations. This high tech fruit has fed millions of people for over 20 years. It is GMO technology feeding people!
People around the world can learn from what happened to us where we can rise up from devastation. One plant disease or major weather event can end a farmer’s livelihood. If we want more farmers being successful, we need to support the science that can help them reach those goals.
The Hawaii papaya story is one of hopes and dreams for future. If we had lost access to this technology, our family farm would be gone and only 2 generations would have experienced farming. Farmers’ success is dependent upon our ability to adapt and anticipate change. We can’t let fear block opportunities and stymie success.
Do we want people to succeed in life? Do we want generations to thrive? If so, we need to give people tools like food. Without food, the human potential will never reach its peak.
Let’s keep giving to people across the world. Keep speaking loudly about the Hawaii papaya story so they can benefit from it. A full life is what each and every human deserves.