The Pay It Forward Shill

The Pay It Forward Shill

  
My time here in Cornell has been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster ride, but not in a bad way.  I came really excited to meet fellow allies who have been affected by the anti-GMO activism across the globe.  As I learned about their stories and experiences in Kenya, Ghana, Bangladesh, Philippines, and Nigeria, I felt very sad.  They had firsthand experiences of knowing farmers’ who have lost their crops and livelihoods to disease and pests.  My dad’s farm also has had the same experiences but thanks to technology, he still can grow his papayas.

My dad worked two jobs for the majority of his life.  He had a full time day job at the BYU-Hawaii physical plant to provider our family with a steady income and health insurance.  After he finished work there, he went to work on the farm.  When the farm failed over the years to disease, his day job was the backup.  My siblings and I also had to take on part time jobs once we were of age to work to support the family.

For farmers in developing countries, farming is the main economic driver for their communities as I’m learning.  Some 80% of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods.  If crops fail, it spells utter devastation for many and the consequences go far beyond just the farm.

I’ll readily admit that I was somewhat ignorant to realizing how important agriculture is to the people of Africa.  I was really saddened when I saw this meme of the Hawaii anti-GMO movement on a slide in a Kenyan farmer advocate’s presentation.

  
It included many Hawaii politicians and activists that were behind the furor of the movement back in 2012.  Here were well fed and clothed people using misinformation to demand the labeling of GMO under the disingenuous “Right to Know” campaign.  The Hawaii movement was indeed affecting many countries in Africa the right for farmers to use a technology, all of which are public sector developed, to help grow their crops and sustain their families.  I feel ashamed that we, the people of the Aloha State, were using misinformation to keep farmers from these tools that could offer better ways of farming.

The activists were quick to demand their rights but think nothing about the rights of others to have access basics.  Not only do these people promote a selfish message but they also told people that they’d turned gay or impotent by consuming GM foods! They used the battle cry of home rule but knew explicitly that Hawaii’s wins would dictate the issue in far off countries.  I can now clearly see how we as a state is truly being used as a pawn by radical extremists like Greenpeace and the seemingly legitimate Center for Food Safety.

I felt the bleeding of aloha early on in the social media and can now pinpoint the source of it.  The Greenpeace attitudes of using intimidation, threats, and ecoterrorism have taken root in my home state.  Their manipulative fear campaigns take full advantage of otherwise normal folks and get them to reject the science permeating our lives.  It’s mean to take advantage of peoples’ ignorance and turn them into raging bullies on the Internet.  This is a clear reflection of radical environmentalists dictating policy which is wrong but accepted by the activists who defend bad behavior.

I was truly disappointed when the state attorney general, Doug Chin, signed on to the Vermont labeling case.  Leaders of our state still haven’t figured out the true motives of the manipulation.  We are food secure and can demand all kinds of rights about our foods and use it as a means to scare other countries on why it’s bad.  It sets a bad precedent to the world who truly needs these tools.

My heart breaks knowing that my home state is the center of this global battle that shouldn’t be.  How can we call ourselves the aloha state when we allow ourselves to be manipulated like this? We have no aloha if our actions deny others a better quality of life.  

I want others to have a better quality of life and truly believe in using evidence not emotion to guide our policies.  The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association generously gave me $2000 to help further my knowledge about agriculture globally.  I thank them for investing in me but I realize that I am able bodied and can work to earn income for years to come.  

There are people at home who need help and after much thought, I selected the best use for their generosity.  I decided to donate $1000 each to the Hawaii Food Bank and the Meals on Wheels program.  I get peace knowing that 117 meals can go to seniors through Meals on Wheels and some 250 meals can be given out by the Food Bank.  Why should I deny others food when I have plenty?

So, yes, it is first time I can truly call myself a shill for taking money from the industry.  I’m officially the pay it forward shill. It’s not in my pocket but in the hands of those who need it the most.  Will my home state do the same by setting an example to the world by supporting policies that helped our papaya farmers help global farmers? 

Lead by example and let’s start today by giving to others with evidence based policies.

  
  

 

The Personal Price of the Anti-GMO to Me: $1695

I’ve known for some time that the Babes Against Biotech ring leader, Nomi Carmona, bought my domain name some time ago.  She created an anti-Monsanto screed calling me the GMO papaya princess.  I didn’t bother to fight it since it only shows how the anti-GMO activists use personal attacks instead of facts to base this entire movement upon.  

I happened be talking to a colleague about this website today and found out that it doesn’t exist anymore.  

  
Looks like I have to spend $1695 to buy my domain name back from the cyber squatters.  I’ll just let this remain as it to reiterate the fact that the anti-GMO activism in Hawaii must rely on personal attacks against those who refuse to give an alternative to what they wish to take away.  Aloha is a concept that apparently is hard to demonstrate when you don’t have any facts to support your cause.

Instead of Protesting, How About Paying Attention?

In today’s Civil Beat, a former “anti-GMO crackpot” as he calls himself, Bronson Kaahui, published a great article about the biotech issue in Hawaii. He calls it out for what it is and it’s hitting a nerve with the antis again.

I just happened to open up my Instagram account home page and came upon an angry looking Manaai Anthony calling out Bronson about the article.


In the comments he writes this so called “challenge,” which almost sounds like a threat.


This kind of stuff is nothing new to this guy at all.  When the Civil Beat articles were hot on the biotech issue, he’d tell people to do illogical things like this.


I have to wonder how this really is going to create any productive discussion about biotech.

Using this kind of logic, any anti should also consider doing this to match the challenge they offer.


The anti-GMO activists like Manaai Anthony make claims about the dangers of GMOs but then post their pizzas with GMO cheese! (90% of cheeses are made with GMOs.)


You know that if you argue with these people on GMOs, the argument will then shift to the “evil corporations.” He then sells his product to a corporation by the name of Whole Foods Kahala, and not to Whole Foods Kalihi.


I have to shake my head at this kind of stuff.  The sad thing is he preaches this stuff to thousands of followers.

It’s the same with the Thirty Meter Telescope protesters.  A commenter placed this photo in response to Richard Ha’s blog post on my page.


I sat there and read this, then remembered the protests at UH.



 This is what was on the news a few weeks ago.  I clearly see the disturbing of rocks and terrain happening and I know those posters and signs are likely landing up in the trash cans.

I responded to the commenter with these photos and he made this statement.


Something just doesn’t make sense here. If you’re going to say something, you’d better walk the talk.  You can’t be making accusations against others and then get upset when you’re called out on it.  If you truly want to be credible, then pay attention to the world around you and quit calling everything that challenges your faulty views as propaganda.

Louis accused me of mocking the culture which isn’t what my point is.  People get swept up into the emotional highs of these “movements,” then don’t even bother to think logically about the world around them.  The Hawaiian culture is one that can aspire to the highest height if more of them stop following bad leadership and catchy slogans being pushed on them by people like the Babes Against Biotech and the Center for Food Safety.  These people lead with no aloha and their followers reflect it. They yell to others to wake up.  Yes, wake up and think before you blast yourself on the internet.

Don’t cry out against corporations and wave your nylon flags. Dupont created that material back in 1935.

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: The Banning of GM Technology and Research in Hawaii

There is a breaking news story that a possible case of Ebola is at a Honolulu hospital tonight.  It’s not confirmed however, but this shows how it is indeed a real problem worldwide should it spread. Hawaii is an international hub that so many people travel through making it a prime location for the spread of contagious illnesses.  Recall other illnesses that have made it to our shores several years back from H1N1, swine flu, and Dengue fever.  Diseases spread and it can be devastating.

According to the CDC website, genetic testing is used to diagnose this deadly disease.  Yes, the science used in genetic engineering is applied in making that diagnosis of the Ebola virus.  (Any protests to GM technology in medicine?)

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It is also interesting to note that several aid workers who had been infected with it in Africa managed to recover from this viral illness possibly due to GMO tobacco plants that produced an experimental drug.  You can read more about this treatment and outcomes here and watch the video below to hear his story.

So while the people of Hawaii are growing concerned about this contagious and very deadly illness, in Maui County, voters are seeking out a ban of GM technology until it is proven safe.  Hawaii has the perfect growing conditions to possibly be a contributor to solving this very deadly issue and yet the public will get to vote to block it from happening.  Our state could be at the forefront of helping to research and grow medications that can alleviate suffering and death but we’d rather use well read Google scholars to dictate laws that prevent us from being global citizens in helping others.  That’s just sad.

We are fearing a technology that can save lives but prefer to listen to lawyers from Earthjustice, the Center for Food Safety, and politicians like Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, Elle Cochran, and activists like Nomi Carmona and Walter Ritte to dictate laws.  I can’t help but wonder if political science PhD. Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety is rethinking her stance on blocking this technology when faced with Ebola.  Where’s Vandana Shiva and her life saving offer to the people suffering from this deadly disease?  Where’s the organic activists like Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America and her claims that organic cures autism helping to alleviate the suffering of others?  Where’s Hawaii SEED and their donations to solve this problem? What’s the SHAKA Movement doing to revamp their ordinance should this disease and others spread across the world?  Will we leave ourselves handicapped to do anything to address this problem because we choose the “naturalistic” lifestyle and live in harmony with nature? Ebola is indeed natural and definitely something none of us want.

This is a real issue that we need to address and if we don’t, we won’t be ready for it should it escalate further and we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.  Think its not real? Think this is fear mongering? Listen to Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the survivors of the virus, tell his story of what is happening in West Africa.

I know some people are reading Natural News and alternative health sites that are telling you that Ebola is a made up illness and such.  Please have some skepticism and get off of those sites as they are making you look foolish for not even questioning it.  Questioning genetics and the science behind it only to call it propaganda isn’t considered skepticism.  That’s called being scientifically illiterate and not something you should be professing in the social media.  Those conspiracy theories aren’t helping your intelligence and critical thinking or logic either.  You can post them on the social media and believe them, but quite a few people know you’ve been made the fool but are too nice to not say it.

To pass bad laws like the Maui Moratorium one is irresponsible at best because the touters of it have no idea of the unintended consequences of such an action.  Do we want to block our options for very viable solutions because of what someone read on the internet and believes with no facts behind it?  I say no and you should too!

 

 

Succumbing to Fear: The Mexican Limbless Baby Born Near GMO Crops

There’s only a few weeks more until the vote in Maui County to place a “moratorium” on the biotech crops.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that the activists are going strong with the fear mongering.  Here’s the latest scare image that passing around again to spook parents to buy into the ideology.

mexico GMO

Yes, it is indeed scary and refers to a mother in Mexico who lived by GMO corn crops.  Note that Mexico has NO crops approved for commercial cultivation to begin with!  And of course on the meme, there’s no source of where this photo comes from and any other details about it.  It just is terrifying for the unsuspecting person!

However, when you do a bit of searching on this image you’ll see a completely different story of the source.  The actual source of the image comes from a well-known anti-GMO website.  The story is completely different from the one being told by the poster.  It has NOTHING to do with GMO corn fields!

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Note that they defects that the baby pictured has is called tetra amelia syndrome is genetic in nature.  There is nothing to show that it has anything to do with pesticides and is extremely rare.  With GMO crops being grown globally and for the majority of farms in the US, shouldn’t this be more common.  It’s not.  It’s clear that this is fear mongering at best when you did further for the truth!

Here’s a corrected meme that should be passed around the social media so that more people don’t get freaked out by the outright lies that these activists have no problem spreading around.

tetraamelia2

A Cautionary Saga: Judge Kurren Invalidates the Anti-GMO Ordinance 960

wieldpaddles

It’s breaking news that the Kauai anti-GMO law has been invalidated by Judge Kurren today.  The law is pre-empted by the state law and cannot be enforced at the county level.  Joan Conrow and Richard Ha both did great blogs today on the news.

As I followed some of the news links posted on the various Facebook pages from Hawaii News Now, Civil Beat, KITV4, and KHON2, the commentaries are so disheartening once again.  I don’t consider this ruling a win in any case.  The damage has been done towards Hawaii agriculture, farmers, scientists, and our communities.  Our communities are not healed by this ruling that was started with a huge disinformation campaign by mainland based activists.  We are still divided and people are still not well informed about the issues revolving around agriculture here.

There has been so much fear mongering and misinformation that the public has been made to be so afraid of things they just don’t understand.  Bringing up they issue of biotechnology or even mentioning genetics or basic science turns people off as they have been indoctrinated to the belief that it’s “propaganda.”  How can we move forward when the largest and loudest voices are the least informed and still trying to dictate law? These are the same people who don’t understand how laws are made with to begin with or how the legal system works and now are asking for the judge to be impeached or even harmed?!

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Screenshot from the Babes Against Biotech Facebook page. Note the disturbing commentary below.

These activists aren’t about working together towards a common goal unfortunately.  Just last week at a farmer’s rally on the Big Island, a long time GMO Free activist named Courtney Larson, was arrested and is being charged for disorderly conduct and other various charges.  When farmers are trying to figure out how to move forward after this devastation, and are at their most vulnerable state, the activists show their true colors and it isn’t pretty or full of aloha.  Is that what we need in Hawaii at a time when we have so many other issues to deal with and work through?

The activists politicians are also another group of people who are feeding this unaloha spirit in our islands.  From the likes of Russell Ruderman and his fear mongering GMO articles, to Mike Gabbard sending me links to the debunked Seralini study, to Kaniela Ing and his associations with “home rule” and the SHAKA Movement, to Gary Hooser and his alliances with environmental activists, our leadership is failing us as a state.  I’ve always been taught as a leader to check out your sources and do your research about the issue to base your decisions up and that you must use facts and evidence to move forward, not emotions or trends of the moment.  The leaders’ jobs are to keep the community together and cohesive so that it can operate properly.  When leaders like these choose to side with the loudest of the bunch but refuse to use facts or come to the table to discuss issues, it does no one any favors.  They should also be doing the work of educating others with good information so fear doesn’t dominate the conversations.  It’s pretty clear poor leadership has done a lot of damage in these recent years.

Judge Kurren has made his ruling and that has set the law today.  Do we choose to accept this decision or continue fighting and completely wasting our time and energy on this issue that further divides the communities? Or do we move on and work on the actual problems that we face like our high poverty rate, education, traffic, the increasing elderly population, homelessness, food security, and so on?  I hope that we move forward and actually set out to do something meaningful for the people in our communities and use our resources wisely to make it happen.  That’s my hope and expectation!

Dear Politicians: Why You Should Take That Evil Corporate Money

Thanks to the nastiness and bullying tactics of the Babes Against Biotech, some of our politicians have decided that they will comply with the demands of Naomi Carmona.  She apparently is a highly regarded expert in biotechnology and should be heeded as she knows where the future of Hawaii should lie.  Let’s talk a bit more about the claims she makes as fact or truth.

I’m voting for candidates who actually take money from the seed companies because it kicks the ignorance that’s infecting and contaminating our state right in the face.  If a politician has a guts to stand up and say, “I know where the future is and I’m not listening to a hypocritical chic in a bikini and other nasty activists,” that’s the politician I want in office.  The trendy hobby activism is really the dumbing down of Hawaii and making people so oblivious as to how biotech has moved our world forward and how it can help others around us.  Logic, rational thought, research, and evidence must be our guide for the future, not the trend of the moment.

 

GMO Free People Don’t Care if Their Misinformation can Harm

Let’s face it, the people who proudly proclaim themselves as GMO free and A’ole GMO don’t care whether or not the information they state is true or false.  The sad part about their massive misinformation campaign is that it’s deadly.  Just the other day, GMO Free USA was tweeting and Facebook posting this meme associating insulin with diabetes.  Um, no, that isn’t the case.  Dr. Kevin Folta, does a great job and putting the “boneheads” in their place for spreading this kind of misinformation.  Asking a diabetic to be afraid of one’s insulin is a death sentence with this kind of fear mongering.

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The World Doesn’t Want GMOs?

Naomi, as well as other anti-GMO activists, will all claim that the rest of the world doesn’t want this technology.  She, of course has no formal education other than being an activist, but somehow knows this.  I walked around the BIO International Convention the last several days and was among some 20K people and I’m really not too sure that she’s telling the truth.

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Little did these misguided women know that inside the exhibition hall was 65 countries featuring their GMO technology behind them.  They included the very autocratic countries that they adore for their “GMO bans,” like Russia, Hungary, and China.

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It’s pretty clear to me that the world does want GMOs based on what I saw here.  Naomi and her crew will keep touting that there are “64 countries that ban GMOs” over and over but I’m starting to think that they aren’t being fully truthful and didn’t do their due diligence.  That’s not what the 20K attendees to the BIO International Conference saw there last week.

Politicians Fueling Farm Wars with Ideology

Just when I thought the politicians couldn’t get any worse with their fear mongering campaigns, Tulsi Gabbard takes the cake today with her emailer.  (She of course doesn’t let her constituents know that she has taken some $10K from Down to Earth in her campaign coffers either.)  Screenshot 2014-06-30 20.48.04 Screenshot 2014-06-30 20.48.25

Well, I did invite her to the farm over a year ago and she never responded.  I really am irked with her mention of “GMO-free papayas.”  Yes, you are dividing the farmers and knocking the ones devastated by the disease with your pitching of this kind of message.  It makes me angry that uninformed politicians are taking these kinds of sides and ignoring where the world is heading.  Her Down to Earth and Whole Food Markets supply a mere 1% of the Hawaii’s markets and she’s fear mongering to the general public to be afraid of food that has been tested beyond belief is unbelievable to me.  What’s she saying about the 99% who buy their food at Times, Foodland, and Sack and Save?  Should I feel bad for buying food that is affordable?

If she sincerely wants that “local and sustainable food supply,” I think she should ask the very people who are the ones that are “local and sustaining” the food market.  The papaya farmers from my dad to others are definitely sustainable at some 40 years or more and going on 3 generations and she’s sending a snub their way.  Sorry, Tulsi, this has gone on too far with your actions and words being so insincere.  If you sincerely want more local food and it be sustainable, then you’d better include all the people involved right now instead of picking and choosing.  You’re part of the problem if you’re not going to look at the whole picture and include all the parts.  That’s not what good leaders do if they are going to solve problems.

But then again, the truth is coming out about politicians like her and others who align with activists.  Russell Ruderman, a Big Island state senator finally comes clean about the truth.

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The truth is out by our anti-GMO politicians.  They aren’t looking out for the local people but for their own self interests in mainland activism and food elitism.  It’s not about making an affordable Hawaii for all but making it harder, and harder for all the local people already having a hard time.

Some wanna be politicians/activists aren’t always very scrupulous and love to play coy too.  You can fool many but you can’t fool them all.

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Dustin Barca, Kauai Mayoral Candidate’s email accusing me of crimes against humanity.

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Fern Rosenthiel, of Ohana O Kauai, makes her clueless but honest opinion of the ag workers.

Robert Harris

Robert Harris, Sierra Club Executive Director, who posted this question when I placed a link on Kent Fonomoana’s page about the environmental groups. He’s someone who doesn’t know that Earthjustice is tied to the Sierra Club? Really? Oh, that’s why he deleted it!

Terez Amato, State Senate Candidate running on Maui against the incumbent, Roz Baker. I almost mistook Tulsi’s email for Terez’s!

The unbelievable things people say is documented all over the internet and is so easy to find because it’s everywhere.  Do we as local people want the food fight to continue or are we really going to sit down and actually DO SOMETHING?  If we really want to reach our goal of more local food and farms, then we’d either work together or get out of the way!  A vote for these people shows that they want to continue the onslaught against ag.  It’s your choice this election season.

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A vote for an anti-GMO candidate is a vote for more of this to happen in our communities. Arthur Brun is a Syngenta employee and an active community contributor who recently found this on his campaign sign. Clearly, the no aloha crew has made it’s mark again.

 

Take that Corporate Evil Money Folks and Have NO SHAME!

Honestly, if I knew that a politician was avoiding taking Monsanto or any other corporation’s money to run their campaign, I’d be proud of them.  They are telling people like the Babes Against Biotech, Hawaii SEED, the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club that they will not be bullied by misinformation and the non-profit activism money from the mainland.  A politician, who has the bravery to stand up against these groups, deserves the local person’s respect and shows that he or she has done due diligence to researching what the truth really is.

Where was Hawaii SEED and the Babes Against Biotech when papaya farmers across our state had their farms destroyed by disease?  What contribution did these activists offer to help solve this very real problem?  They were not around at all and when the problem was finally solved, then they started to attack the farmers’ successes head on.  Many of the members of Hawaii SEED did not laud the saving of these crops but instead started the onslaught of misinformation campaigns with well known groups like the Center for Food Safety.

The best image yet that incorporates fear and demonizes the papaya farmers has to be the one found on their website.  It’s sure to bring on some shivers down your spine when you see a papaya tree and hazmat suits.  Clearly, fear mongering at it’s best! These actions show that these groups are NOT about helping farmers but attacking them.

Fear mongering at it’s best comes from non-profit groups like Hawaii SEED

So who was there to help save this crop from total destruction?  It was the corporations that helped to fund the research that ultimately saved Hawaii papayas.  They donated the resources for this effort to help save that industry so that farmers like these could continue their farms to bring you those local, sustainable foods like papayas.

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So Mr. and Ms. Politician, don’t be ashamed of who you get your campaign funding from.  It sends us all a message that you have the guts and integrity to stand up for what is right for Hawaii and that you’ve done your homework.  I admire people who can stand up for the truth against a loud, obnoxious and misinformed crowd that are only willing to take away things and never have anything to offer in return.  They say really ugly things and I know, I have had it directed my way, but that is only a reflection on themselves, not you! You are the leaders that Hawaii needs to heal and nurture our communities and move us towards being educated and informed rather than fear mongered and kept in the dark.  Be that leader and do what’s right even though it isn’t popular!

Every time you feel afraid of the activists bullying, you tell these farmers that they can’t farm and need to keep defending their work and have them leaving their fields.  Is that how we are going to meet our goals towards more local food?  Send us a more consistent message and take a stand for what is right.  Stop allowing activism to control the conversations and take that stand.  The farmers need you, the politicians, to do this.  They have lost plenty of time, money, and effort continuing to defend their work.  Let them fulfill their passions.  Let them farm!

GMOs Does Not Mean God Move Over and Here’s Why

Here’s another thing that I hear frequently being stated by many of the anti-GMO activists, “Stop messing with the DNA in our food!”  Mark Fergusson, the CEO of the very much anti-GMO Down to Earth Markets also called it, “God Move Over.”  I just hate the fear mongering that’s being said about a technology that can do so much for growing food and decreasing our impact to do so.

The goal of the anti-GMO supporters really is to take advantage of the fact that most people have little to no clue as to what GMO really is.  When there is a huge number of people who are not literate in biology, chemistry, and basic genetics, you have a nice market of people to target with fear and doubt about this technology.

The activists from the Food Babe, Babes Against Biotech, Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition, Earthjustice, and the Center for Food Safety, will also go on to state that genetic modification of our food stuffs is going to mess up people in some form or fashion.  They love to use emotion evoking phrases like, “it’s being shoved down your throats,” to “it’s killing our keiki and kupuna,”  We also can’t forget those syringes stuck in food and skull in crossbones bit that they want on this GMO label.

Why are these people so afraid of this thing called DNA?  It’s probably because they don’t understand what it is to begin with.

I know that videos are great ways to teach people a thing or two about what DNA really is.

Then when you get a better understanding DNA, let’s talk more about genetics.

I hope you kind of got a general idea of DNA and basic genetics.  Now here’s a great video on the story of biotech papayas and how it all comes together.

Note that even with this modification of the genetics, the composition of the papaya is not significantly different than the conventional type.  Also note that the transgenic papayas have disease resistance built into it.  It is developed to resist the papaya ringspot virus that is spread by an aphid.  Even though Gary Hooser has told so many people that GMO means pesticides, it does not at all.  It is a technology that can be applied in many different ways.

If you’re still feeling afraid of genetic modification in our food, let’s talk about the food we eat today.  Here’s a great example of two different types of tomatoes that have altered genetics done through selective breeding.

tomatoes

These clearly have different genetics to result in these two forms of tomatoes.  We can eat both of them and do you think our body can tell the difference?  No.  The compositions might be slightly different, and the DNA is different but our body can’t tell.

Of course, the next line that a typical anti-GMO activist might say is that these tomatoes don’t have fish genes in it.

The dreaded fish genes!

That’s a funny thought because if you were to eat fish, you are eating fish genes and have you turned into something awful?  Ummm…  No.  So even if a tomato might have genes of a fish, a common blunder quoted by many antis that is not true at all, would your body know this?  Nope.  Genes are not species specific!

If you watched the videos above, you might figure out that you can’t say that the genes is what’s making you allergic to something either.  If you think that there’s a new allergen that’s created by the genetic modification, you’d be wrong too because it is tested and tested for these potential issues.  Allergenic proteins are pretty well known and if detected, the trials are abandoned and destroyed.

The same anti-GMO activists decry biotech testing but then listen to Dr. Oz touting those exotic miracle cures.  He went from touting goji berries and now garcinia cambogia, which has no allergenic tests done ever but assumed safe.  Wouldn’t that worry you more to be consuming these untested things?  Nope.  Where’s the precautionary principle applied here?

The DNA fearing God Move Over crowd continues to cry about the evil of genetic modification and the need for the precautionary principle, but always misses a key point about this technology.  They are worried about what happens when they consume this GMO derived food product because of the unknown genetics.  If that is the case, why aren’t they worried about what happens when they consume banana genes or GMO free noni genes?  If one is afraid of messed up genes, then they should really fear things like heirloom tomatoes that have really altered genetics.

There’s a lot of DNA in many GMO free products that they should be worried about but don’t even realize it.  I’m more afraid of the bacterial genetics of what’s on some organic foods than I am of GMO corn or papaya any day.

 

Johnny Gordines: A Farmer Caught in the Crossfire

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When most people think of Hawaii, they have the image of beauty.  Beauty of the mountains, the white sandy beaches and bright blue oceans and also the natural fauna of our islands.   The florals of our islands are truly unique and has become a synonymous with what we think of Hawaii.   We are so lucky to have many small farmers who make up the Hawaii floriculture industry.  Many of them have been at their work for a long time sending that bit of aloha around the world.  One of those farms is run by Johnny and Terry Gordines, who owns Tropical Flowers Express on Kauai.

When the issue of Bill 2491 hit the island of Kauai last year, some farmers, who know the agriculture issues in Hawaii, spoke out.  Johnny was one of them.  Others stood in the background instead of taking the risk of being a target.  Little did he know that he was not dealing with local folks, and was barraged with disrespect and hate for submitting testimony for the bill and for a letter in The Garden Island paper.

Here’s his testimony that he sent it which was publicly filed and viewable to all.

July 26, 2013

 

To Kauai County Council members:

 

It would be wonderful if farmers could stand in their fields, wave their arms and weeds, insects and plant diseases would magically disappear. It is too bad this cannot happen.

 

Instead, to banish pests and disease, farmers rely on sound scientific practices. They use pesticides and seeds resistant to insects and diseases. Their crops thrive and people all over enjoy a bounty of healthful fruits and vegetables and beautiful flowers.

 

Farmers use pesticides with great care and regard for themselves, their families, the people who work in their fields and their neighboring communities. Authorities in the State of Hawai’i and the U.S. government monitor farmers and all of the work that goes into pesticide development and application.

 

With its Bill 2491, the Kaua’i County Council seeks to insert itself into regulating pesticides and GMO crops — the exact same things our state and federal governments are already doing. It would take years and untold millions of dollars for our county to develop the same expertise and professional staffing to do what Hawai’i and the federal government are already doing.

 

The bill will impose many of these costs on the commercial seed growers in Kaua’i. Faced with these new costs, the growers will probably close down their farms, layoff their workers and leave Kaua’i.  It has been stated by Mr. Gary Hooser, the introducer of the Bill 2491, that it will not affect the small farmers here on Kauai.  On the contrary, if the seed companies are forced out of business, the chemical supply companies here on Kauai (Crop Production Services and C.Brewer Chemical Co.) will be forced to go out of business. This scenario will be devastating to the farmers on Kauai. We presently purchase chemicals, soil amendments, irrigation supplies as well as organic materials from them!  This will have a major impact on my business Tropical Flowers Express. Please consider the impact on the Kauai farmers.

 

I do know that, as the former farm manager for the Kauai Ag Research Center operated by the University of Hawai’i, College of Tropical Agriculture, this bill would devastate our work. I have applied restricted use (RUP) and general use pesticides in my work at the University for the past 32 years and have been a certified Category 10 licensed applicator. Our employer has provided physical exams yearly as well as a cholinesterase exam.  Department of Labor & Industries rule (WAC 296-307-148) requires agriculture employers to provide blood testing to workers who handle pesticides that can lower “cholinesterase” in the body. In my 32 years of service for the U.H., neither mine nor any of the employees’ level of pesticide exposure or handling, has ever been at a level that was detrimental to our general health! I am now 63 years old.

 

I am also the president of the Hawaii Tropical Flowers and Foliage Association on Kauai and a Director for Kauai on the Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association our statewide umbrella organization. The Floriculture industry is a vanity industry where the newest and unique catches the attention of the market. This means for our industry to remain competitive we need to have new and cutting-edge flowers and foliage in new colors and styles. An important tool for this is to be able to get new varieties, longer lasting varieties, and healthier varieties through the use of science, technology and innovation, such as GMO.

 

We believe it is important to look to the future of our agricultural industry and not handicap ourselves with laws that seek to close the door on technology. It is important that we keep finding solutions to pest and diseases that currently attack our plants and crops. With disease and pest resistant plants, we would be able to use less pesticides, which would lower costs for farmers and have a greater yield of product, allowing our sector in agriculture to improve efficiencies.

 

Please, County Council members, before you vote on this bill consider the damage it can do to agriculture on Kaua’i — the jobs it can destroy and the businesses and communities that will suffer. Please think wisely and vote “No” on Bill 2491.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnny Gordines

Usually in Hawaii, most people are pretty respectful of differences, however on Kauai, the story is completely different.  What happened on the social media was totally shocking to most levelheaded folks.  The anti-GMO mob decided to attack his business online through his Facebook page and his Yelp page.  Just see what this small farmer and business owner had to contend with, a bunch of bullies right in his backyard.

This is what was being said about his business online in public posts on Facebook after he spoke out.

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One activist even posted this comment on his Facebook business page too.

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They went on Yelp too and disparaged his business.  Some review have been removed but others persist.

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You can read the corresponding reviews below to the above clip since they have since been removed.

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This issue goes well beyond the corporate hate and government distrust that these activists share.  It hurts everyone in the process.  The attacking of small farmers like this, who know the technology and tools available and speak up, ultimately pay the price for doing so.  That is why so many farmers like Johnny Gordines and others look to the leaders, to address this issue first and foremost, with facts and evidence, and not the loudest voices of opinion.

Farmers keep our country country and help the spread the beauty of Hawaii around the world. The support of the legislators is crucial in perpetuating this because you can’t tear apart agriculture, because doing so hurts it as a whole.  We need leaders’ support to keep Johnny at his work to spread that bit of aloha around the world!  Support the Hawaii Right to Farm Bill and stand up for what is right!

Visit Johnny’s work at Kauaiflowers.com and on Facebook at Tropical Flowers Express.

Support the farmers with local voices!

TFE3

Priced out of Paradise: What’s Hawaii Leaders Doing?

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Tweet made by Rep. Wooley back in March 2013.

Last night at the Kaneohe Neighborhood Meeting, I had the opportunity to talk to a fellow resident. She came to the meeting because she wanted to speak out about an issue she was having with where she lived. Her and fellow tenants live in an affordable housing complex and were being subjected to a huge increase in rent because the units were sold by the City and County to a mainland developer.

She continued to share her story with me about her life and why she came to the meeting. She has worked as an educational assistant at Castle High School. She’s employed but doesn’t make a whole lot of money so a rent increase will leave her with only $100 left over each month. She could live with her daughter but wants to remain as independent as possible.  It’s a struggle to make ends meet but she does it.

I really started to think about this more later on. There are a lot if people who are in a similar situation to her. Any local person will tell you that cost of living here in Hawaii has been rising. We hear and see it everywhere. Everything is going up: gas, electricity, basic groceries, property taxes, rents, car registrations, sewer fees, and so on. The only thing not going up is our income to keep up with this, and that is a major problem.  So many folks are struggling and living paycheck to paycheck as well as working multiple jobs to get by.  How can one have quality of life when most your time is spent working just to survive?

Earlier in the year, there was a Star Advertiser article that looked at the poverty issue here in Hawaii with kids.  The percentage of kids living in poverty was 12.5% in 2005.  This year’s Kid’s Count Report found that there were 51,000 kids living in poverty, which is up to 17%!  Then when you look at poverty in seniors, the AARP has found that nearly 20% fall into that category.  There are a lot of people in need in our state and what is being done to address this?  How can we make peoples’ lives better?

As I listened to her story, I really thought about the politicians of Hawaii and how they get into offices making lots of promises that we know can’t be kept.  Or there are issues that they bring up that don’t really help anyone other than their own personal agendas most of the time.  It was really nice to see many local looking folks, most of whom were born and raised here and had long time established families in our communities.  As the residents of Kulana Nani apartments sat in the meeting waiting for their turn to speak up, I could not help but think more about this issue.

In the back of the room, I noticed that Rep. Jessica Wooley came in and sat in the back.  When it was her turn to speak up, I had to ask her my question.  “As you know, many people are struggling to keep up with the cost of living here.  What are you planning to do as ag chair to help address this issue to keep things affordable as well as keep farmers in business?”

Her answer was that she realized that many farmers are at risk for going out of business and that we need them and she has various programs and things in the works to address this.  We all know that when costs go up for farmers, their products will cost more also, which is why local produce tends to be more pricey.  Not once did she go on about the labeling issue for biotech food in this answer.  I know for a fact that the labeling will mean that food costs will go up since manufacturers will have to specially label food just for our state.  How is that really going to help keep basic foodstuffs affordable for people who are already struggling?  She didn’t bring up that issue until my second question for her, which I’ll continue on another blog post.

Politicians like Wooley and others like her who have decided to align with the activist groups like Hawaii SEED, the Babes Against Biotech, Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition, Hawaii Farmers Union United, and the Hawaii Organic Farming Industry are all about self serving their own interests.  They are pushing to grow their industry that may increase availability of organic produce but at a cost that most folks can’t afford.  They have plenty of money to fly between islands, stay in hotels or other accommodations, or get funded by their supporters through subscriptions or gofundme.com and don’t have to work like the real local people.

When you have a lawyer for a husband who makes a decent salary and a property in San Francisco, it is easy to tout your agenda.  It’s easy to listen to activists’ cries for a label for food that many of them consume for the sake of pushing your agenda and forget about your real constituents that struggle for years.  Have some empathy for these people Rep. Wooley for they are who you need to work for.  A good leader will look at all the issues, use evidence and best practices to help solve the problem, which is always more complex that what it appears.  Remember that you were elected by the very people in your community and should be lending your ear to them first and foremost, and not to a Babes Against Biotech activist or an outside environmental attorney, whom you fondly call Andy Kimbrell.