Dr. Marion Nestle referred to the film Food Evolution as “propaganda” and the other activists like Zen Honeycutt and the Food Babe are jumping onboard. This implies that the content was misleading, and meant to affect opinions using less-than-honest means. I was really shocked when 45 academic signatories wrote the letter calling the film propaganda from the agrochemical industry.
I’m glad to offer you a taste of that propaganda, or should I say, papaya.
The film’s first part shows a horrible battle that happened here in my home state of Hawaii. Non-farmers and well-financed mainland activists wanted my family to abandon a technology, the virus-resistant papaya. The papaya was made resistant by genetic engineering, and it was done by universities and government to help the local papaya farmers. It was not the “agrochemical industry”.
Mainland activists riled up local agitators by carefully crafting a massive fear campaign in our communities and manipulated a vote against the papaya. Claims were made that it was poison, it caused tumors, it was increasing pesticide use and more diseases in the industry. None of this was true, but in fear of retaliation, the majority of the council voted to ban it anyway.
The Food Evolution film crew was in Hawaii because it was the important national story at the time. They covered the story in great detail and presented it as it unfolded, giving plenty of time to the papaya’s opposition.
It also shows how farmers pushed back, and Margaret Wille and the County Council then grandfathered the papaya in, even though they believed (the propaganda) that it was carcinogenic and harmful.
They were caught in a hypocrisy when one tells the public improved fruits are dangerous but then exempt them with pressure. This is fact. This is hardly propaganda. The papaya works, it saved an industry, and is outstanding technology.
So it is very disappointing to me that Nestle, Pollan and 45 others go on record calling this story agrochemical industry propaganda, when it is a far cry from the truth.
It is especially disturbing because many of the people that refer to my family’s livelihood as propaganda are graduate students and professors. It seems like a bad career move to call the chronicling political resistance to successful technology agrochemical industry propaganda.
It is even more troubling that these are students and professors that claim to be in favor of small-holder family farms and sustainability. The papaya allows my family to sustainably produce a local staple that would be gone if it was not for the technology.
If I was a student or faculty member I would think carefully before signing my name to a movement laden with false claims. It seems like the academic road is very difficult today, and when a search of your name shows you standing up against technology and small family farmers, it seems like a short-sighted career move. Your name on that letter symbolizes the rejection of science and the benefits it can have for small family farms globally, who face climate change and it’s consequences. Do you really stand against that reality?
If you ever are over in the islands please let me know and I’ll personally introduce you to our “giant agrochemical industry”, which is me, my family and two dedicated farm workers, growing a delicious and valued fruit. The movie Food Evolution told our story, our fight, and our ongoing success very accurately. I would think very carefully before calling my family’s reality throwaway propaganda.
The latest disturbing trend that I’ve been observing with the activists, whether it be an anti-vaccination or anti-GMO one, is stating that science is propaganda. This clearly tells me that either they don’t understand the scientific process or some of the basics or don’t quite understand what propaganda really is. Honestly, it’s just them being plain old lazy to actually put some brain power to actually think about what’s being said. There, I said the painful truth about it.
Most activists seem to not even understand what propaganda really is. As one can see from the definition, it’s politically motivated. The fact that the activists are attempting to influence laws without evidence to support such regulations creates a slippery slope as to the necessity of the laws to begin with. These folks are very effective and getting others to repeat the mantras of people are being sprayed, kids are being sprayed, birth defects, and the aina is being poisoned. It doesn’t matter if all the multiple tests and studies done show otherwise. It’s a fear based statements that the least informed tends to latch on to easily.
When these emotionally hot statements are repeated over and over, it becomes fact to people, irregardless of what the data points too. Propaganda needs no fact to back up what’s being said and it’s effective when it’s fear based as we have seen. Whether the message is vaccinations will cause autism or GMOs means pesticides, it scares people and puts them on the emotional high horse crusade to protect themselves against this perceived evil.
If one should ask for evidence, it’s against the unspoken code that you do not question or doubt what’s being said. The evidence that is provided only repeats the same statements and few people if any know how to skeptically question the sources and just believe. A crusade against something so bad cannot tolerate dissenters or doubters for that matter. It will utterly destroy the energy and emotion that drives this battle and endangers the stature of leaders who benefit from the numbers of people engaged in their movement.
A perfect example of this is Kauai County Councilmember’s statements on pesticide usage there. He repeated over and over that there was 18 tons being used. As a result, people repeated it but never questioned it. The reality was much different but the repeated statements became truth despite the facts that it was half as much. Facts don’t matter and nor does being honest with their followers also. He could have easily corrected them but refused to do so because he’d likely create doubt in many people’s minds. Kauai County Councilmember, Gary Hooser, created so much fear that his followers turned very ugly on the social media and in the communities. That likely got the level headed voters to put him lowest on the totem polem this past election.
When activists claim that, “There’s propaganda on both side,” they’ve just shown that they aren’t able to critically assess what’s being stated. Instead of researching out the facts and critically vetting sources, it’s way easier to shut down logic and critical thinking all together. Why bother doing the hard work to actually open your mind and learn when it’s easier to dismiss science as propaganda? It’s easiest to live in fear and on emotions than it is to step back and actually think. It’s also more fun to have more people on your side too.
Creating doubt in your followers is dangerous in an ideological movement. Questioning of the information is a threat to its very existence and can topple the leaders that perpetuate it. It simply can’t be tolerated. The next best thing is to now tell followers to just dismiss evidence all as propaganda. Forget intellectual honesty and considering that you just might be wrong about what you thought. Don’t bother doing any real research and use the statement, “Science is propaganda.”
Yeah, you said it and you can continue repeating those same erroneous statements because you’ve acknowledged that you refuse to attempt to think critically or logically about the issue. That is a good reason why those who think like that should not be involved in policy making. No logic and no critical thought invested in the process means harmful unintended consequences that affect everyone. Haven’t we already learned that with all the bad bills passed across our islands?
I’ve noticed that several legislators have been celebrating the “home rule” issue when the Right the Farm act was being discussed. Home rule essentially means that counties can enact whatever laws that they feel necessary at their level. Many emails, tweets, and Facebook posts were posted by these leaders who decided to release their rightful reign on this issues to rogue counties like the Big Island and Kauai.
I’m not sure why these legislators are so proud of letting counties have more power in dictating farm laws when the reality is, the state has the necessary resources to enforce and enact such laws. As I see it, these lawmakers have decided to not beef up their resources in their bills to address such issues, and failed to take care of the perceived problem, if any.
The message I get from this kind of celebration is, “I have clearly failed my constituents to take care of their concerns at my level, so I will burden the counties with such issues.” The people asking for county laws claim that they have been failed by the state so that is why they are seeking county rule. Why are state legislators celebrating their supposed miserable failure to take care of this issue? If these people feel there was real harm done by the negligence of the state, why didn’t they take the state to court and sue them?
While these lawmakers keep pushing the home rule issue, they are also talking on the other side of coin about food sustainability for Hawaii and keeping the country country. A certain handful of lawmakers have grandiose ideas of everyone in Hawaii having their own sustainable gardens to feed themselves. Of course, these will only feed themselves and not others. Certain lawmakers side with the keep the country country folks but don’t even take the time to hear the farmers out.
The reality is that this kind of idea is shortsighted and poorly thought out. This will lead to many unintended consequences. With counties having to create their own regulating bodies to enforced these rogue laws, the money has to come from their residents. Residents will have to pay for all of this with increased taxes and fees. With the high cost of living already an issue, who has the time and money to start up their own gardens to feed just themselves? Financially, working a 9-5 job allows one to afford much more food than tending to a garden and more reliable for our food supply. How are the other residents like the seniors and disabled going to bear the burden of higher costs of living? Is this really the right way to do things for everyone?
I guess in Hawaii, we celebrate our failure to constituents by letting others make bad laws that ultimately costs everyone along the line. It’s easy to talk about what is pono but apparently no one has really figured out how to walk the talk.
It is good that there is an effort to teach people how to grow food in their own gardens and possibly start up their own farms. What is quite disturbing to me to hear that the Hawaii Organic Farming Association in alignment with Representative Jessica Wooley are touting that only organic is the way to go to doing this. There is a major problem with this and papayas.
As much as people would like to think that there is no papaya ringspot virus around and that organic methods will prevent this, they are far from the truth. No amount of dirt that Senator Russell Rudeman proposed as a solution to this problem is going to solve it. Nor is Jeffrey Smith coming up with any solutions either to deal with this.
It’s even sadder when a senator continues to perpetuate myths that harm his very own constituents on his own island. He doesn’t even support his own papaya farmers in Puna!
What he fails to realize is that every single thing we eat is a result of some form of modification. We humans have been tampering with nature since the beginning of civilization. Genetic modification is just another form of plant breeding. So technically, yes, Senator Ruderman, we are all eating a form of genetically modified food for thousands of years, regardless of how it was grown.
While Ruderman and Wooley, both of whom are not farmers, keeping harping their organic wheels of misinformation, there are those who believe this campaign. Those are the people who have the learn things the hard way. You can ask any long time farmer, not yardener, if one can grown GMO free papayas here on Oahu. Most will tell you that it is hard because the virus is still around. Piling soil on the roots isn’t going to prevent the papaya from getting a disease spread by aphids. Learning the hard way doesn’t hurt the yardeners much but it could do harm to those investing in growing the fruit for an income.
Example of a non-GMO papaya tree infected by the virus next to a transgenic variety that remains unaffected. Trees were grown on the Windward side of Oahu.
Why would you knowingly grow a crop that is known to be at high risk for disease? No farmer would ever risk their livelihoods for that, which is why they are fortunate to have the choice to grow such crops, and provide fruits to their customers year after year. Misinformation against this choice hurts every farmer and every farmer to be. Of course, it isn’t Jessica Wooley’s or Russell Ruderman’s investments that are being harmed, so they really don’t care and it’s glaringly obvious.
You really should be contacting your legislator now to demand that GMO foods be labeled! Listed are some reasons that you can include in your letter to prove your points also. Feel free to use it.
1) Monsanto owns everything and anything, including the sky. You’ve heard it from your aunty and your uncle and your brother’s friend’s sister that Monsanto owns the whole world. Yes, the seed companies don’t even make the top 25 biotech companies in the world but you still believe everything that is told to you. And because of it, you think they control everything including the weather with their purchase of the Climate Corporation. When one person tells you that the skies are filled with chemtrails, you trust them and believe them. That also explains why there is always rain predicted on your anti-GMO marches.
3) The last issue of the Hawaiian Electric Company’s Green Hawaii Magazine stated that you must cook chemical free. GMOs all have chemicals in it. You don’t quite know which ones and don’t even realize that you yourself are made up of chemicals either.
4) WALTER RITTE TYPES ALL IN CAPS AND IT MUST MEAN THAT WHAT HE SAYS IS TRUE. YOU CAN ALWAYS TRUST SOMEONE WHO TYPES LIKE THIS. HE FINDS HIS EXPERTISE IN SURFERS FOR HIS FOOD KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION.
5) The Babes Against Biotech show folks that less clothes means more expertise in what is natural food. That includes silicone and some botox tucked in the right places. When they tell you to demand a label, you can trust a woman in a bikini.
6) You can trust a bus driver grandma who is a self professed expert on GMOs that you need that label. When someone reads the latest things off of the internet, you can bet that it is true without a doubt.
7) GMO Free Kauai has a very long and thorough list of scientists to prove that GMOs are dangerous. That list includes world renown scientists like Dr. Dennis Poopy, Organic Eater, Dr. Ye Hua with 20K piece of art in China.
9) Hawaii wants papayas from Mexico, Thailand, and Brazil instead of local. Keep demanding that label so Hawaiian papayas are shunned by customers. That’s the goal of Hawaii SEED is to kill off just a few more farmers.
10) Roseanne Barr told you that GMO are bad and that Hawaiians support crop destruction.
11) A wealthy bunch of transplant lawyers from Earthjustice told you to speak up but don’t be rude when you make demands. They can easily afford organic food for their families but you’ll have to wait until you get that label to make it affordable. They have to keep getting in environmental lawsuits against the state so that they can collect on their court costs to keep them buying organic. And these same lawyers quickly turn around and eat GMO food with anti-GMO county council members too right after telling others that it is dangerous.
12) You can become allergic to any and every antibiotic there is on earth from eating GMO food. If this man says its true, then by golly goodness it sure is! Forget the fact that we’ve been modifying genetics in food for thousands of years, DNA has antibiotics and chemicals that will trigger immunosuppression in your shikimate pathway and cause symbiotic endotropy escalation. Yes, it is that bad.
13) There is thalidomide in transgenic papayas and you must demand a label for it because Terez Amato says so.
14) GMO Free Mom also knows that transgenic papayas need labels because it contains Bt in it.
15) Sol Kahn believes that if people disagree with him at the farmers’ markets then he has a right to that label as well as a right to say bad things about him on the social media.
16) Jessica Mitchell of the Babes Against Biotech believes that her organized thinking and expertise in chemicals and plants support her claim to a label.
17) Twitter user CILoveU can’t believe that the sun can alter DNA and as a result of watching “Seeds of Death,” she has a right to know what she thinks she knows.
18) Apa Romano knows that there is an alteration in one’s body fauna when she consumes GMO and needs a label to know it. Now what is body fauna?
19) If Tulsi Gabbard associates with the Babes Against Biotech then you know that she is getting expert advice. She can even tell what groups are shills and will tell her constituents also. She’s also part conspiracy theorist too and believe in the Monsanto Protection Act.
20) Consumers need a label because it is all about transparency and obeying the law and doing what is right. These leader stands up for what is pono, including death threats to the mayor.
21) Jessica Mitchell doesn’t need a science class to know anything which is why she demands a label of her food. She might not be able to know what all the ingredients are but she has to have that label! Please don’t tell her that organic foods do indeed use pesticides!
22) Sol Kahn has been telling many residents that if you live by a seed farm, you’re living by poison. Home values are going down and he can’t figure out his relationship to why it’s happening. Label it, disclose it, whatever.
23) Celeste Harvel demands that GE food be labeled and she wants farmer’s crops to be chopped down too. She also nicely articulates her point of what’s wrong with it and shows her expertise in her comments.
24) Lori Wilson Patch believes that this issue should be one where we must sit down and pray for people because her religion has told her so. You can be sure that god is asking her to pray for this evil called GMO.
25) Carolyn Fay Spector thinks that she needs to put a wanted poster for Dr. Brewbaker since he donated a million dollars to help CTAHR. You can bet she will be front and center asking for a label.
26) Merci Ritte doesn’t realize that we are made up of chemicals but believes that there are indeed chemicals being grown. She has a right to know these chemicals!
27) Sherrie Moore demands a right to know and will openly boycott local farmers who speak out for biotech. She deserves to to have her food labeled but truly wants her food GMO free.
28) Karen Chun knows that GMO papayas didn’t save the industry because she doesn’t grow it or even own a farm. She has no clue that her talking bad about papayas is the real reason why people don’t accept biotech food. She right there front and center demanding her right to know what she’s eating!
29) Dustin Barca feels that anyone who speaks against Ohana O Kauai must be committing a crime against humanity. That’s why he has to have his food labeled.
30) Nomi Carmona of the Babes Against Biotech can’t imagine that anyone would speak up against activists and will encourage others to block such attempts. You can be sure that she’ll be visiting legislators and demand that she needs her food labeled.
32) Sky Wittenbach does know his genetics and how to sort fantasy from fiction. When he talks, you should listen to his expertise.
31 and beyond) Some of the best reasons to create a law to label GE foods is because these constituents that are asking you for it REALLY LOVE THEIR FARMERS. Just read below for what they have told farmers…
So politicians of Hawaii, are you going to listen to these people demanding a label and more regulations on farmers? Your loud constituents are really helping all farmers and doing our islands a huge favor. Thank you for listening to them and not listening to the farmers.
Rep. Jessica Wooley stated that she would like GE food labeled and would support an education campaign. How do you plan on educating these folks Rep. Wooley, when you yourself make up stuff by stating there is no regulations around it and bungle up the GMO is the same as pesticide issue?
We appreciate all the support we get from the leaders of our islands as we work on our farms. The future generations are very secure in knowing that you’re supporting them. Or are they really?
***All comments listed have been publicly posted on the social media. You said it and you should be held accountable for what you say.***
Walter Ritte and his Hawaii SEED group are definitely helping farmers deal with issues, especially with papayas. They are spending lots of money to test for GMO “contamination” so they claim but what have they done to solve the real problem that was happening? *Crickets*
They did nothing. That’s right, literally nothing. When farmers were getting hit in the 1990’s by the ringspot virus, they were no where to be found. Nada, not around nothing. Here’s what Hawaii SEED has to say about themselves:
Hawai`i SEED incorporated as a non profit 501(c)(3) in September of 2005.
The corporation is organized for charitable, educational and scientific purposes to educate the public, government and business community about locally-based agricultural systems that create real food security for Hawai‘i and about the risk posed by certain agricultural and food systems while protecting human health and the environment.
Activities of Hawai‘i SEED include bolstering the community of sustainable farms and farmers throughout the state of Hawai‘i. By providing workshops to farmers, we hope to deemonstrate alternatives to genetic engineering. Hawai“i SEED facilitated the public testing of papayas for citizens throughout the state to determine if their fruit is contaminated with genetically engineered organisms.
Hawai‘i SEED also conducts general outreach to raise awareness about genetic engineering and alternatives to genetic engineering at public speaking events, and media outreach. We also give presentations to agricultural and other community groups about GMOs and their alternatives.
Note that they are not about research and contributing to agriculture but more about blocking what has been done with papayas. What is even more disturbing is this statement:
While the GMO Papaya is resistant to papaya ringspot virus, it brought many more problems than it solved. The GMO Papaya has closed lucrative export and organic markets and always has a low price point. This technology has come with too many strings attached and Hawaii has lost almost half of its papaya farmers.
This group constantly touts anti-GMO wording like contamination and so on to disparage papaya farmers and wonders why papayas don’t sell well. They proudly proclaim how they help test for GMO papayas but what good is that? Why not spend that money creating your non-GMO virus resistant papaya if you really want to have sustainable agriculture?
Then Hawaii SEED has to go on complaining how Hawaiian papaya is not being accepted in the worldwide market. Um, if you’d stop spreading untruths about it, maybe more consumers would not be so afraid of our Hawaiian fruit. Support all papaya farmers and maybe you can sell it better to help all farmers. Hawaii SEED is not about doing farmers good, they are about taking things away like all activists. They contribute nothing to Hawaii agriculture. That’s the bottom line with these folks because it is all about taking and not giving.
This group is a far cry from local folks too as we know it is being funded by outside contributors big time. The truth is that Mr. Ritte enjoys his papayas and doesn’t care if it is GMO or not because he knows that it is fine. Remember the March ag day Mr. Ritte?
It is so easy to sit back on a computer and have your opinion about how you want your food grown. You have a comfy chair to sit on, a nice computer with a quick internet connection, a fan to keep you cool, and a well stocked refrigerator to sustain you as you comment away on the social media. That is how you are going to change the world to get farmers to grow food your way. No. Never.
It is so easy for Jessica Wooley, Russell Ruderman, Mike Gabbard, Tulsi Gabbard, Gary Hooser, Billy Kenoi, and Brian Schatz to dictate the policies that they want done for agriculture because they have nice cushy offices and are guaranteed a paycheck, courtesy of the taxpayers. They would rather stay in those positions then be on a farm any day. Why do you think they are in office to begin with? Farming is just too laborious and risky, while political office is a clean, stable position for life.
As much as these politicians are the listening to the public’s opinions, they have no qualms in ignoring the farmers, ranchers, and scientists testimonies on the future of agriculture. We’ve seen that what is found on the internet and repeated as truths is much more valuable then the experiences of people who tend and till the land. They have no say in the issue and are at the mercy of an uninformed public fear mongered beyond belief. That is the direction that Hawaii is heading when we only consider public opinions for laws.
Our leaders talk about how they want to grow our ag industry in Hawaii but their actions speak otherwise. Laws upon laws have become huge burdens on our farmers. From business regulations, taxes, federal food safety laws, labor laws, county laws, and state laws all weigh upon these farmers who are growing food and cultivating the land. We also can’t forget the outside factors that affect farmers too including energy costs, shipping costs, and being at the mercy of the weather. These regulations may seem helpful on the outside but make the business and practice of farming less and less attractive. With all the anti-technology laws being placed upon them also by Kauai and Hawaii county, how much more can these farmers take when potential tools are being kept from them? What can our farmers do when their hands become tied by the wishes of ignorant politicians and an ignorant public?
As we see more and more farms closing down because of the regulations that our leaders have placed upon them, we get to thank each politician for being responsible for the demise of these farms. The younger generations do not want to continue family farms because it just is too burdensome. Would you take a job where your income isn’t guaranteed and bad weather can wipe out your entire crop? What if the bugs eat up all of your crops and you can’t even use a tool that could help it because some politician said that you can’t? Imagine having a job where you have to know everything about the tax, labor, and food safety laws to a tee to stay in business. Not only do you have to manage those issues but you also have to physically work hard to get your product out to your consumers also. Lastly, you are subject to criticism, thievery and even threats of crop destruction as part of your job description. That sure doesn’t sound like a very attractive job to me at all. Our politicians have decided that this is the route they want to take with agriculture with their recent actions. That’s the Hawaii that our leaders apparently want for our future of farming in our islands.
As I have followed so many commenters from the anti-GMO club there is definitely a pattern. One one end you have the very vile, nasty, ones that have been fear mongered beyond recognition of a rational being. On the other end you have those that believe that consuming organic food is much more holier than thou art and wanting a label. Somewhere in between you have those that are anti-corporation, conspiracy theorists, and just plain old science deniers and earth saver greenie folks. Also in the mix you’ll find the ban it all group, who really have no clue the extent of this technology. It’s no wonder there are social workers, bus drivers, grandmas, pseudoscientists, criminals, entertainers, models, nurses, chemical sprayed doctors, religious preachers, radio hosts, MMA fighters, and surfers all in this mix. Approximately 4000 of these folks supposedly marched on Kauai a few months ago to speak for the people.
You know, if 4000 really were a true number of people joining in, can you imagine the manpower you have there in one area? They all marched along Rice Street for some distance that means the majority are all able bodied and has the potential to do something good with their energy. That energy and planning should be put to good use to put their money where their mouth is. I have a few suggestions for these marchers as far as how they could really strengthen their cause.
Help Kauai County Go Pesticide Free
We all know that they want less pesticide use by the seed corn farms that use 13% of the county’s total. Who is using the most pesticides then? It’s the county themselves!
Maybe on the next march, they can coordinate with the Kauai County to do a highway weed pulling patrol. Spread out 4000 people along the highway to pull at least 50 to 100 yards of weed each and wow, imagine how much less spraying will be done and less contamination too? You could do this every month and cut back or completely be pesticide free!
Another way that these marchers could help reduce pesticide use is to take advantage of the natural instincts of our little chihuahua terrier mixes that are so popular now. If may be 20 marchers brought out their little dogs to the power plants or kept them tied to the power poles a few days a week, we could cut down the need for using rat poison since these little dogs are bred to kill rats. Chemical free, all natural pest control at best which is what the anti-GMO club is demanding.
Start up the Save True Kauai Farms
It is pretty well known that Bette Midler is an anti-GMO activist also and she has lots of land on Kauai. She has 1400 acres of it too! We’d better alert Jessica Wooley because she doesn’t want to farm it for food but possibly grow hardwood trees on it. Wouldn’t it be great if she donated a nice piece of her land to start up a Save True Kauai Farm there? Or maybe a GMO/Pesticide Free farm there? You could get that guy who couldn’t lease land from the seed companies and maybe 100 of the marchers to even work on that farm. They appear to have lots of time since they were able to camp out at many of the hearings and stay really late there too. The anti-GMO club can have their dream turned in to reality where they can feed the people their way.
Many people there also hate the dust from tractors plowing the lands. If you take about 50 to 100 marchers and handed them a shovel and pick axe, you could plow a one acre field in no time with little to no dust cloud either. Then instead of using heavy equipment to plant the seeds, each of these folks can hand plant it all. Every few weeks they could come in again and do weed patrol too so that they don’t have to spray the dreaded weedkillers. You can also bring in more marchers to do bug patrol too and pick off bugs from the plants to keep less pesticides off of it. What a great way to teach the keiki to how to grow your own food and keep the dust and pesticides away!
Open an Ohana O Kauai Feed the Hungry Shelter
There are a lot of needy people across our islands and Kauai has its share. The anti-GMO club staunchly believe that the seed companies are not feeding the world in any way or form. With several thousands to volunteer and donate time, money, and energy, they could start showing the world their plan to feed the hungry because it is obviously more superior than what the other companies are doing. This would truly be a great and innovating cause to show how much they malama the people and the land.
Then End of the Poisoning of Paradise
The potential conversion of marchers and people rising up to support this way of agriculture is truly amazing because it can be put to good use. No one would have time to be sending death threats to the mayor, writing comments all over the social media, be exposed to less scary images on their Facebook feeds, accusing seed farm workers of killing babies and committing crimes against humanity, and will be able to live the natural healthy life that they all preach about. Human energy can be converted to good when you put your money where your mouth is. Volunteers anyone?
Last but not least…
Let’s do some math here… 4000 x $1.50 is $6000. If all the marchers paid a mere $1.50, their bill would be covered. Enough to pay the county back for their march and restore the county’s funds. If some of the attendees could afford plane tickets, I’m pretty sure they could afford that pocket change to participate. So has the Kauai County received some money to cover it yet???
As I was talking to my husband tonight about the whole issue with agriculture and the divisiveness going on, he made a statement that really hit me. I was complaining about how a local farmer, whose crops were getting stolen, did not want to go on television to share his story. I explained to him that they were shy about it and didn’t want to be out there. Then my husband said, “Well, then you guys will all lose.” I wanted to fight back and say something but as I internalized it, he’s right. “If the silent majority continues to not speak up, then they will ultimately lose and we all will lose.”
No one wants to be at the end of a losing battle but in reality, in some ways he’s right. The local folks will sit back and complain about what’s going on and then do nothing about it but complain. Where does that complaining get us? Does it solve the problem? No.
Whenever there is a problem, one must realize that by seeing it, we are all a part of the problem. If we don’t recognize that, the problem can never be addressed. While many local people are starting to become more vocal about how we are being taken over by these activists, we are not doing our part. This loud, brazen minority has taken advantage of the culture of Hawaii and used it to their advantage.
Local style ways are pretty simple and learned from the good old plantation days where there were people from all over the world. Koreans, Chinese, Hawaiians, Portuguese, Filipinos, and Japanese were all joined together to work on the sugar cane and pineapple fields. There was a unique culture developed through this relationships, much of it a mixture of the cultures. Even a special language was born through all of this called pidgin that can only be heard by local people.
The local culture was pretty simple and based in respect. Don’t talk stink about others. Do your work good. Respect your kupuna or elders. Don’t make waves or attract attention to yourself. No make shame on your family. Work hard. It was laid back in its ways really. No one wants to speak up to get others mad or gain attention to yourself, just be a part of the masses. No make trouble, just leave it the way it is even if you don’t like it. Over the years, a huge sense of complacency has been developing as a result. It’s pretty evident when you see bumper stickers that state, “Ainokea.” That says it all… I don’t care.
When you look at the low voter turn outs in our state, that just shows how people don’t even bother with the issues nowadays. The same goes for agricultural issues here in Hawaii. How many times have you heard a local farmer speaking out for an issue? There are thousands of farmers here that were born and raised with long time family traditions rooted here. Where are their voices in the whole issue? I hardly hear or see of it but I do hear the complaints from others who don’t like what’s happening. This really sends the message that no one wants to stick their head out about the best direction to take based on their expertise and experience. The anti-aloha activists and their politicians have seized on this opportunity and are running the show now. Is that what is best for Hawaii? These are opportunists supported by ill-informed people supported by lots of outside monies?
So, if you don’t like what is happening to our agricultural industry in Hawaii, you the local born person, go walk in front of the mirror. Don’t point your finger at the anti-GMO club and blame them. Point that finger right at yourself and say, “Hey, you! You are the problem. Yep, I said it. It’s you who don’t have the guts take a stand. Don’t like what’s happening, eh? Den you bettah speak up do something about it and stop wasting your energy complaining. You da only one who going fo suffer.”
Wake up local people. There is a new culture developing in our islands that if you don’t adapt to it, you’ll have to pay the price for your silence. It’s time for the local folks who don’t say anything to speak up, vote, and say something to help your fellow long time local farmers. If you don’t, who will?
One way to start is to sign the petition to speak up for farmers!
I realized last year, with the brouhaha of the failed labeling law, that we do not have enough local voices in politics. I decided to start participating in the neighborhood board meetings. I have been attending these meetings monthly since June this year.
At this last meeting something very peculiar happened. Jill Tokuda and Ikaika Anderson’s representative attended as usual and are very regular in their participation to notify the community of what’s going on and what they are working on. The others like Clayton Hee, Cynthia Thielen, and Ken Ito, are non-existent. Jessica Wooley will send a representative twice but never attended it herself since June. At this past month’s meeting, no one on the board recognized her, and as a result, and mistook her for another presenter.
She did a quick report on what she plans to do as the agriculture chair. Basically she wants to redefine what agriculture means in Hawaii, referring to calling it the growing of food. I asked her what she will be doing to help farmers. She also talked about attempting to get that label on biotech derived foods and stated, “there is no regulation” on it. Of course she continued stating that consumers should be able to know and that papaya farmers are already doing it for export and it won’t shouldn’t affect them by doing it here. She did also state that, “I would not ban GMOs.”
As I listened to her answers and statements, I started to think more about what she was saying. Okay so you feel that there is no regulation, which is completely false, and that a label is going to suddenly create this sense if transparency that her “constituents” want. Something doesn’t make any sense here.
Why is a label suddenly going to solve the transparency and so called “right to know issue” after you just stated that there is no regulation? If you are so concerned about no regulation, then why don’t you work at the federal level to start these regulations that you claim there is none? Doesn’t that make more sense? If you were to travel to somewhere else, as a consumer, you won’t be able to get your right to know since there is nothing across the board by state. A consumer could unwittingly eat GMOs at a restaurant and that would be such a travesty too because that is not labeled! Even the locally produced foods like papaya seed salad dressings to some locally made taro chips would all need a label too so that these folks’ right to know are fulfilled and that they are suddenly enlightened by this label! Poor Hawaii constituents would not have their rights respected Ms. Wooley if they were to go to a Las Vegas Trader Joes! You’re not protecting peoples’ rights! What a non-tragedy!
Of course Ms. Wooley doesn’t show her transparency when it comes down to who’s feeding her this information. She is well connected to anti-GMO groups like Center for Food Safety attorney, Andrew Kimbrell, and is married to David Henken of Earthjustice. Take a look at what these people say about why they want this label from the Genetic Literacy Project.
Knowing all of this, I asked her if she was aware of what is happening to many small farmers in the community. I shared with her, as well as all the board members present, about how some farmers reported being asked if their bananas and produce were organic. When it was told to the person that it wasn’t, the questioner tossed it aside very rudely and marched away in disgust. Jessica raised her eyebrows stating that she was not aware of this and it should have turned into a police report of some kind. I told her that these farmers are afraid to speak up against this and become targets. Local people don’t speak up against these activists for that very reason. I’m not sure which planet she lives on but these anti-GMO activists have been doing this for some time already and there was a public incident with this already that made the news.
We all know that there is a lot of hope in the anti-GMO movement that somehow this is going to make people eat healthier. Do you actually think that a little sticker on a package is going to help that? When those fat free labels appeared on food stuff did it make people eat better? Uh, no. Shame on her for thinking that this really is going to make a difference all to earn more money from consumers marketed with fear. That’s where shortsighted thinking in politicians get us no where. A label isn’t going to change people’s weights! Education about healthy eating is!
If Jessica Wooley is really wanting the focus of agriculture to be on food and growing it, I suggest she rethink her strategy. Making more laws against farmers isn’t going to make more people want to get into farming. It already is a difficult business to stay afloat given the high costs of land, labor, and supplies. It doesn’t help that weather, disease, and other uncontrollable variables can devastate your whole year’s worth of work either. If you make laws to limit the tools and research in agriculture, that itself will make it even less viable as a profession. Does that mean your out to kill farming that isn’t organic because it sure appears that way?
I was sent some commentary about the petition that was posted to help open up a forum for others to speak up for our farmers. This has created a small storm of controversy in the GMO Free Groups of course and someone sent this comment to me.
I find it amazing that her GMO Free followers actually get it but they just don’t connect the dots about what they say. Yes, farmers are poor and why are you making it harder for them to do their job Ms. Wooley and GMO Free groups? Wouldn’t it be better to ask them, “How can we make your job easier so you can do what you need?” That would be a much better option then outright stating that you need to label your produce because your right to fair treatment is outweighed by the needs of activists. That’s a pure kick in the face to our farmers.
If Wooley is about fulfilling her role as someone who wants to make Hawaii better as a transplanted local, she needs to take off the anti-GMO hood and stop wasting our taxpayer dollars on that little label of hers. If she really wants to help people live better, have more farmers, and grow more food, she needs to get off her “right to know” “label it” podium and reinvest those monies and resources back to the farmers and towards educating the public about healthy eating if her motives were right. But we all know the truth about her agenda here which is plain to see where she wants to take small papaya farmers… Into extinction.