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!

 

 

September is Hunger Action Month: Who’s Helping the Hungry?

Yes, this is a month to take action to stop hunger. Actually, we should remember this every single month because there are a lot of people who go hungry in our communities.  It goes well beyond a single month and must be something we continue all year round. I try to do this every month myself since I have a co-worker who is a regular volunteer at the Hawaii Food Bank.  Whenever there’s a good sale on some canned or dried goods, I buy a bunch at Costco or Longs and share the extra stuff with whom ever may need it.  If I just hang on to it, it will likely go bad so sharing it with others is a worth cause to me.  It’s something small that I can do hopefully to help others.

I also want to be that example to my children to look beyond their own noses and help others if they can.  I remind them how lucky they are to have food every single night and never have to go hungry.  A good sense of appreciation needs to be instilled in kids nowadays who have everything but still complain of not having what they want.  We forget that once our needs are met, it’s easy to overlook it and take it for granted.

I have to say that I was really disappointed a few weeks ago when I read that a well-know chef, Ed Kenney, has decided to align with the Hawaii Center for Food Safety and help them fundraise for their Chef Action Network.  I think it’s great that he supports local and sustainable food and don’t we all support that?! However, the Center for Food Safety is not about making food affordable but rather making people fearful of food and looking at ways of actually making it more expensive.  You’d think that with a name like that, they are about making food safe but really, they are about pushing organic food and labeling under the assumption that biotech foods is not safe.  It’s elitist kind of thinking that is being pushed here once again.

One thing interesting to note is that speaking of food safety, it is a law that any food handling must be done with gloves to prevent the spread of potential contamination.  If the Center for Food Safety were truly about safe practices, they would have told Chef Kenney about this potential violation of his handling of food.

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If the Center for Food Safety were successful, they would have gotten GM foods labeled.  That GMO label will not only increase prices on food but also require a complete overhaul of our food processing all together that will definitely cause increased costs across the board.  Not only will the consumer have to pay more for food but so will the chefs who own businesses in our communities.  Will these small business owners be able to handle such extra costs?  I highly doubt it.  It is no wonder why restaurants are some of the most difficult businesses to run with the costs of supplies and labor constantly going up.  When a business closes shop, it means less employment opportunities also.

These activists group aren’t about helping Hawaii folks as they claim either.  They succeeded in getting the flawed Bill 2491 passed only to have it overturned in court as expected.  This in turn has taken some $210K to defend the bad law which doesn’t include any of the other costs of other staff and resources used in all of the proceedings.  No sooner than it was deemed invalid, did they immediately start to look for cash for more flawed bills.  Couldn’t all that money have been used to helped the needy in the community instead on bad advice of activists? Why are they fundraising for themselves and not others who could really use some help right now?  You will never see a Center for Food Safety feed the hungry food drive or affordable food coalition from these people because that is not what they are about.

I can’t help but be very disappointed that well known chefs like Kenney have not looked into this group further before deciding to support them.  When local people are depending more and more upon food banks and food supplement programs and a greater percentage is living in poverty, he wants to support a mainland based group who’s main goal is increasing food costs using fear and misinformation.  This group is also about demonizing our local papaya growers who have survived the papaya ring spot disease and are still farming as a result.

How does supporting the Center for Food Safety help our rubbah slippah folks?  Basically, it’s not about the locals but about a new bunch of mainland folks telling locals how to farm and what’s good for them.  You can bet they don’t have a pair of these at their door steps!

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**Update! In today’s Star Advertiser, Kenney is featured there again and he’s wearing gloves while preparing food.  Good.  And once again, Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety is touting their disingenuous message again to the public.  No surprise! Note that they aren’t about helping the hungry!

The Hawaii Center for Food Safety Plays Politics in Kaneohe

Several months ago, I became aware of the Washington, D.C. based Center for Food Safety arriving in town.  I wrote a post about this activist group when I saw it posted on the Kanu Hawaii site.  They are now here in our islands to try and bring their mainland influences to our smaller communities and it’s clear what their true agenda really is again.

Here’s a flier that was sent out in to people in the Kaneohe/Kahaluu area by the Center for Food Safety just a few days ago.  My entire family members are long time residents there for over 60 years now and seeing this arrive in our mailboxes did not please us at all.

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It’s not surprising at all that HCFS is supporting Harris, who is the executive director of the very anti-biotech group, the Sierra Club.  He was also a proponent of supporting Jessica Wooley in getting her the House of Representatives seat several years ago.  Now he is seeking to fill that seat with his mainland style activists’ values with a mailer from the HCFS.

He also sent me a message about a month ago regarding his candidacy.  I’m guessing he has read my criticisms of where he stands as a political leader in all of this.

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It’s great that he wants to talk about growing more food and working together for better policies.  So my response to him was this.

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Well, I was so hoping for a response to my question but never got it.  I’m starting think that these politicians are really not about working together when they openly support groups like the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, who have a single agenda for Hawaii, which is to use scare tactics to take away agricultural tools from farmers and ranchers.  They are lawyers and environmentalists, not farmers or business owners and they don’t know our history in Hawaii, yet they are willing to come and take over the conversations.

I find the flyer quite amazingly misleading which is of no surprise when it comes from activist groups who are always misinforming the public.  Here’s the blunders I found on those mailers.

First Blunder: Champion for local farms and local foods

The Sierra Club that Harris supports is against biotechnology so knowing that connection, he’s definitely against the papaya farmers and ranchers in our islands who have used this technology for 20 years.  How can you say you’re a champion of the local farmers when you work for a group that opposes their practices?  There’s several farmers in his district that he apparently are not aware of that he forgot to talk to.

Second Blunder: Will support local farmers and protect agricultural lands

The Sierra Club has a legal arm known as Earthjustice that they use to enact lawsuits in the name of environmentalism and later use it to funnel cash into their coffers.  It’s basically a money making operation of the Sierra Club.  If they are willing to protect agricultural lands, why has Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety trying to join the lawsuit against Big Island farmers?  Not only is Earthjustice suing on the Big Island, but they have also joined the lawsuit in Kauai against the seed companies.  If they are about protecting agricultural lands, why are they fighting the people who are using it to farm? If they about helping Hawaii, why are they suing the smallest farmers anyways?

Third Blunder: Protect your right to know what is in your food

Once again, the disingenuous “right to know” argument enters the picture.  That’s the fighting cry of the activists like Naomi Carmona and her Babes Against Biotech crew.  She and other activists don’t care about the “right to know,” for if they did, they wouldn’t join groups that are GMO free.  Well, we all know the truth about these claims for the activists clearly put it out there for all to see.  They also want the 1.3 million Hawaii folks to endure increased costs associated with labeling which will really help all local people make a living here.  These activists don’t seem to realize that they have a label called organic and GMO free but are willing to burden everyone for their disingenuous claims.

BABsBansGMOs

Fourth Blunder: Will protect our homes, schools, and hospitals from dangerous pesticides

First of all, Kaneohe has very few farms, let alone GMO farms to begin with.  Ashley Lukens, a political science doctorate, seems made a erroneous statement on a CB article stating that, “The issue of genetic engineering in Hawaii is an issue of pesticides.” (It’s always the non-farmers who are quick to spread their pseudo-expertise about how and what farmers should farm.) The farms are out in the more rural areas and homes are far apart there and the farmers themselves live on the same property and are small.  Many have been there for decades with no report of illness at all.  None of these farmers waste anything for that matter and only use what is needed and to assume that they all use dangerous pesticides is so wrong at every level.

Ms. Lukens doesn’t realize that Hawaii people live in a tropical environment that bugs and pests thrive.  Shall we forgo the termite treatments, fly traps, ant sprays, roach treatments, rat bait traps and allow pests to invade our homes, schools, and hospitals.  What even more interesting is that the district that Robert Harris is seeking to represent doesn’t even have a hospital in it!  Kaneohe is a completely different town and they obviously haven’t figured it out.

This statement on this flyer clearly shows the Hawaii Center for Food Safety’s fear mongering messages.  They don’t live here in our community and it shows.

Blunder Five: “At my farm in Kaneohe, Robert Harris is a champion for local food.”

Many of my friends and family who received this card look at the farmer in the photo and said, “Who’s that?”  No one seems to know who this farmer really was.  Turns out Rick Barboza isn’t a food grower but a Hawaiian native plant grower in Kaneohe.  Apparently, the Center for Food Safety and Robert Harris himself didn’t bother to talk to the long time food growers in his district.  If Harris is going to support local food being grown, how come he didn’t come talk to some of the long time growers in the area?  Shouldn’t he have a photo of a farmer of that person who is actually doing the work to grow food?  I would think so but the message is clear, they are not about including these others in the conversations apparently.  They have their own mainland agenda and aren’t going to include the local people.

It’s interesting that the Center for Food Safety did not put a non-food producing farmer on their mailer.  Last year, then Representative Wooley made a presentation to the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board that she was planning on redefining agriculture as the growing of food.  They must have changed their tune to the politicians as they are putting a non-food growing farmer on there.

What’s also telling about Harris’ agenda is that we can’t forget about the Sierra Club’s smear campaign against Pono Chong back in 2012 where they set up a site called NotPono.com and sent out fliers that led to his defeat.  Local boy Pono Chong was ousted for supporting the developers and construction jobs that so many of our family members and friends hold in our communities.  Who’s gonna provide and build affordable housing and jobs for these folks?  The Sierra Club?!  As we can see now, they are about taking things aways.

What the Fliers Should Look Like if People Were Honest

I decided to take the liberty of correcting these fliers and hope that people realize what the message should really be.  If we want honesty in our leaders, we better research who they really are and who’s backing them up.

harrisbarbozameme harrisrevised

Let’s hold our politicians to a higher standard and seek for honest information on who they really are and what they support.  It’s clear that mainland money is talking here by all the misinformation posted on those fliers.  If we want a better Hawaii for the local folks, do you homework on your candidates and vote smart.  Who is looking out for the rubbah slippah folks?

Fear: The Deconstruction of Local Culture

Fear: The Deconstruction of Local Culture

The Maui County Moratorium is now the forefront of the anti-GMO movement once again and I’m seeing the typical pattern of comments from the anti-GMO activists being spewed all over the internet again.  Here’s some of the latest ones being posted from a recent Civil Beat article.

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Why is fear filled statements so prevalent in the conversations lately?  Why are so many people feeling as if they are being sprayed or poisoned but continue to stay within the area despite the so called danger?  They know the truth but are willing to bend the truth to their advantage in the name of hobby activism and it’s bad news.

I’ve decided to look further about why fear is so prevalent in the conversations in Hawaii to get a better understanding of why it has taken root here.

The Anatomy of Fear

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This is the definition of fear from Wikipedia.  Note the keyword here is “belief.”  Fear is the the belief that someone or something is dangerous or bad for you.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that it indeed is bad but one is believing that it is.

A good example of this is my grandmother’s fear of worms.  As a young girl, she was always afraid of it and it remained a part of her belief system well into her old age.  She had neither been harmed by them and nor could they really harm her but it was an entrenched belief that she had.  Even if the worm was made of Play Doh and fake, it still sent shivers down her spine and sent her screaming.  So why do people persistently maintain fears like this even if it is completely unfounded?

From the website HowStuffWorks, fear is really our brain’s chain reaction of events also known as the fight or flight response.  The article goes into full detail on how fear is created in our minds.  It is really an unconscious series of events that occur in our brains.  One is the low road which is the “quick and messy” response and the other is the high road where more time is taken with a more calculated precise response of the interpretation.

Translating this into the current issue at hand, we can see that fear is clearly being used by the activists here.  Lots of internet posts are being touted and the immediate response is to be afraid of the this technology after reading an article or seeing a scary memes on Facebook.

From the Center for Food Safety website.  Clearly fear peddlers and not supporters of farmers at all.

From the Center for Food Safety website of a well suited lawyer in a gas mask.  Scary imagery indeed.

More gas mask imagery from the Kauai Bill 2491 fiasco.

More gas mask imagery from the Kauai Bill 2491 fiasco.

Homemade gas masks from the Babes Against Biotech page.

Homemade gas masks from the Babes Against Biotech page.

People are being made afraid at every single encounter they are hit with, whether it be the media or at a march, fear is the predominant theme of the anti-GMO movement.  Their immediate reaction is the maintain the low road of avoid it at all costs because it is believed to be dangerous and harmful.  Note that they “believe” that it is a danger and when reinforced over and over by politicians like Gary Hooser and his tirades, it becomes a reality to many of them.  When the majority of people lack a good understanding of the history of agriculture and have a little to know science knowledge, this makes for a large population to be susceptible to this kind of tactic.

Two years ago, the target issue was that GMOs were dangerous.  When study after study got debunked, the activists had a hard time using that argument and it shifted to GMOs are pesticides are dangerous.  Ashley Lukens of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety was quoted in a recent Civil Beat article stating, “In Hawaii, the issue of genetic engineering is an issue about pesticides.”  So does Ms. Lukens think that it means something else is other parts of the world when they are also engineering plants to fight bugs for the same reason?  Of course, she’s a PhD in political science trying to tell the agricultural community how to farm and what to use.  (It’s no different than the carpenter telling a nurse what to do in a bigger sense.)

When fear has become deeply entrenched the into the brains of many of the activists, it’s no longer about reason and logic.  It’s about protecting themselves from this perceived harm.  Presenting any type of evidence such as water tests, residue tests, and other data will not change the primitive neurological paths of fear developed in their minds.  The Department of Health can do a million of tests and still not find any data to support their beliefs, but they will continue to believe in this danger.  It’s ingrained into their minds already and no logic or reasonable discussion can change that, ever.  Fear has been an effective emotion that binds so many people together in this “movement.”

Their high road response this created fear is to now become activists and fight it within their GMO free groups and rallies.  This is the calculated, supposedly well thought of response to combatting this belief that they are being harmed.  These activists will easily use conspiracy theories, chemtrail beliefs, a misunderstanding of medical conditions and illnesses, and bumble up correlation and causation to justify their actions.  When put to the test in the court of law however, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt presented in order to support the reasoning, which the activists’ facts will falter when scrutinized.  Fear also turns people into ugly emotional people, who are unable to see the consequences of their actions as there are made to feel as if there is not other choice in the matter.  You can’t reason or bring these people out of the swimming pool of fear that they are stuck in.

 

Decontructioning Fear To Save Our Communities

I’ve been in a many discussions online with others and have seen a clear pattern among the anti-GMO activists.  When presenting factual information and questioning their links, if they are not able to refute it, one will get blocked and banned by them.  I’ve been banned from the Babes Against Biotech page for pointing out that organic pesticides can be dangerous to bees, and from the Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition page for asking the death threats to stop.  I was even blocked and banned by a politician wannabe, Kent Fonoimoana, for pointing out how environmentalist groups are trying to block farmers from farming.  Challenging an anti-GMO activist to look further about the issue gets most people instant, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”  It shows how unreasonable they are about discussions and dialogue which is not what we need in Hawaii.  I’ve never posted anything heinous or threatened anything, and just simply questioned their logic and reasoning for their stances and bam, I get blocked or called a bully.  Forget the fact that I get nasty emails or comments on this blog which I refuse to allow.  It’s clear that people who align with this “movement” are not about discussions or are ready to be questioned on some of their stances.  They want one thing alone and that is all their seeking.

These outside activists have even gone as far as trying to infiltrate our agricultural communities by bringing in their fellow Filipinos to try and split them apart.  Here’s a flier that was posted around the internet to demonstrate this.

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Note the funding on the flyer indicates that it’s all mainland funded groups like the Ceres Trust, PANNA, PANAP, and the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, who provide more outside non-profit money to the local sounding, Hawaii SEED.  Their goal? Tear communities apart and take apart agriculture in Hawaii!

The same motives apply to the SHAKA movement, who disingenuously claims they want safety studies before the agribusinesses can farm.  Why do so many of these members also belong to GMO free groups?!  Their true intent is clear when you research it further and it is unacceptable to me to use fear, false intentions, and misinformation to tear apart our Hawaii communities.  None of these groups are about living together as they don’t care and nor do the funders of these people care because they are living off in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco having a ball seeing our communities being torn apart. That may be the mainland way, but it sure isn’t the Hawaii way.

What’s even more disturbing about the SHAKA movement is how many of these people said that they will replace the lost jobs with “organic, sustainable farm jobs.” When it’s pointed out that organic farming only provides 1% of Hawaii’s food, the response changes so quickly.  The activists cover themselves up with, well, these people can go on welfare, which is an acceptable solution for our communities to them.  People with real jobs and families do not want to live on welfare and why is an outside person dictating that to our local folks?!

Maui County Council member, Stacey Crivello, pointed out a sad fact in a recent news article on Maui News of what happens when activism succeeds in our islands.  When Walter Ritte’s antics managed to get Molokai Ranch closed, hundreds of people lost their jobs and their homes to foreclosure.  Others came in and bought up these homes at foreclosure prices and the original owners became tenants in their own homes.  That definitely is the breaking of the human spirit that Stacy Crivello mentioned in her commentary.  People dream of one day owning a home that comes through handwork and dedication and it will all be lost when a bad law is passed.

The anti-GMO movement in Hawaii has become one of manipulation of people’s fear and repetitive misinformation campaigns to tear apart “the companies.”  However, upon deeper inspection, it’s not tearing their intended target apart, the reality is that it’s tearing our families and communities apart.  It’s not about facts, logic, or reasoning either.  We are slowly eroding at the very essence of Hawaii that brought us together to begin with, bit by bit, piece by piece.

I see it the issue like a haku lei that has so many distinct component in it that put all together make it beautiful.  If we keep picking it apart and try to put only one item in it, is it going to be as beautiful and diverse as when it was first put together?  No.  We need all parts of the lei, from the big dendrobium, to the ti leaves, ferns, baby breaths, lokelani blossoms, and the very core of raffia that it sits on to be that beautiful lei.  If we remove the core that supports the pieces, we will have nothing left to work with and our lei will just sit in pieces.

That’s exactly what is happening to our Hawaii communities with outside activism attempting to rip out the very base of agriculture in our state.  If we as the public allow this to happen, we will not be able to have a working and functioning system to build upon.  Like the haku lei with no raffia or ti leaf as its binder, the whole lei will be nothing but bit and pieces of flowers and greenery that is now wearable or as beautiful.  That is not a reflection of the diversity of our Hawaii agricultural communities.  Mainland based activism isn’t able to see the very foundation of our heritage of this “local style” and are ready and willing to destroy it in any form and fashion.  I will not standby and let this happen and nor should anyone else.

If You Want to be Governor Mr. Ige, Please Do Your Homework!

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When I opened up the local section of the paper this past Sunday, a small headline in the local section caught my eye.  The gubernatorial candidate, David Ige, decided to consider GMO labeling at the state level.  For a candidate who is saying he wants to make Hawaii a better place, this is really a kick in the face.  Once again, this is just proof that politicians do not do their homework when it comes down to the unintended consequences of stances such as these.

Is it really the “right to know” or something else?

The article proceeds to explain that he now believes in the disingenuous “right to know” campaign.  He apparently has not looked in the sources behind the scenes of who is saying what.  These organic industry people make this claim but then behind the scenes say this about biotechnology.

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An industry is the backers behind the so called “right to know”

 

I suspect that Mr. Ige and other candidates don’t have much knowledge into this industry either when they simply fall for this line.  The National Organic Program was founded by an Act of Congress in 2000 to help sell products at a premium.  This program is not about nutrition or food safety or food affordability.  It also falls under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and not under any health or environmental programs.  This is really an industry asking for a label and not a right to know.  Basically, if you follow the rules stated, you can obtain certification to help sell your products at higher prices.  It is not about being pesticide free either as there is a list of chemicals approved for usage in production that is synthetic in many cases.  The industry tries to market it as being pesticide free and more healthful for you but the reality is that there is little evidence to support it.

This is about the organic industry demanding that farmers label their product and not about a right to know.  Who’s funding the whole movement?  It’s organic activists from the Center for Food Safety to quacks like Jeffrey M. Smith and his movies that scare people from this technology.  It’s a big industry going after the small farmers that grow biotech here from Belmes Farms to my dad’s farms in an attempt to get the big ag companies.

 

Hawaii can be the center for research on biotechnology…  If we let it…

Most people that I talk to don’t read much for the science and agriculture world.  Many are completely unaware of the issues that are affecting the growing of crops in our state and beyond.  From a devastating banana fungus decimating crops in Central America and drought hitting parts of Africa where they can’t grow things, or a deadly disease leaving cassava crops inedible and toxic, the world’s food security is at risk with climate change.  We are so well fed and nourished that this tough never crosses our minds.  It’s a real threat to others as billions of people go to bed hungry every night.  If Hawaii has the capability to alleviate some of the world’s suffering, why block it with fear and misinformation of a very powerful tool?

The fights going on in the labeling arena tells the rest of the world that there is something wrong with this product that it needs to be segregated.  Think about what a label can do.

GMOLOLlabels

Follow the stories of groundbreaking research with the glowing pigs and glowing rabbits here at the University of Hawaii.  The commentary under much of these stories on the news is disheartening at best.  People are afraid of this technology that can have a huge impact on people’s quality of lives.  To jump on the labeling issue on fuels more of the ignorance of this technology that should be embraced and not feared the way it is now.  Do we want leaders to lead us into darkness or to knowledge?

 

Supporting the farmers we have now!

I heard an interesting statistic the other day that really opened my eyes.  Back in the 1850’s, there were 23 million people living in the US with 74% of the population involved in agriculture.  Fast forward ahead to 2012 and we have 313 million people with only 1.5% involved in farming now.  That 1.5% has got to be ultra efficient in delivering food to the masses which is indeed happened.  No longer are the majority of us having to grow our own food.  We have become freer to do other things with our lives which is a great thing!  The technology has changed tremendously and farmers can choose the tools they want to achieve this goal.  It makes me mad when a politician, another disconnected person from agriculture, can sit up on his pulpit and point fingers as to what a farmer needs to do.  Does the politician ever ask a farmer how his decision will affect him?  It seems like never and that is the wrong path to take.

Does anti-biotech, pro-labeling politicians ever faced the misinformation campaigns that this 1.5%?  Never.  Meanwhile, this is what papaya farmers get to face.

babs crop destruction

papaya

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If you truly want local food grown by local farmers, I think it best that you stay away from people who are attempting to attempting to smear them with fear and misinformation.  The evidence clearly shows that biotech foods are safe and many world science organizations have also taken that same stance.  Spending time satisfying the desires of the activists isn’t going to be helping Hawaii reach our goals for food security and sustainability.  They will only keep going after more issues with agriculture to make it even harder to farm.

Most of all, a real leader will never stand to support the people who do and say this about my dad and others in agriculture.

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There is also a lot of mainland money coming in to fuel this fight.  One at the top of the list is the Center for Food Safety.  Here’s what the new director is saying about where she stands on the issues.  (Warning for bad language from this Pacific Business News recent 40 Under 40 recipient.)

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So those same people who are demanding that right to know are saying this publicly about our farmers and this doesn’t sit well with me.  If it really is the right to know, why are they all apart of these GMO Free groups across of our islands?  GMO free and wanting a label and disclosure is so insincere and they know it.

 

Fighting for the rubbah slippah folks!

Not sure if you saw the recent Forbes post that Hawaii is the worst place to make a living.  I am starting to feel that it is true.  Everything from milk to gasoline is going up but our paychecks aren’t matching these increases.  Trying to burden people with GMO labeling to support activists’ demands isn’t going to make things any better for affordability.  This labeling indeed comes with a cost that will definitely make food less affordable for us that you can’t even imagine, which is why trying to do this at the Federal level if indicated, is a better option.  Either way, there will be an increase in costs that will hurt everyone, especially those on limited incomes.

The price of gas in Molokai.  Let's just say, unaffordable!

The price of gas in Molokai. Let’s just say, unaffordable!

A real leader of the people will do things to help all in society, not just a few to burden the majority. What does the data say?  Is this something really necessary?  Who will be impacted the most by this?  Instead of talking about your stances, ask questions first.  Too many times politicians are talking heads with poor insight on the unintended consequences of their decisions.

Well, I’ve got to be somewhat forgiving as people like Mr. Ige and bandwagon jumpers like Representative Kaniela Ing aren’t farmers or even bother to know them.  They work in clean air conditioned offices and are completely disconnected from the work of people like my dad and brother.  They don’t understand at all what it really takes to get food to a table and the work involved.  I’ll just leave a reminder here of who they are attacking when they align with activists demands…  It’s my family and other families that do the same work as us!

Kenneth Kamiya, my dad

Kenneth Kamiya, my dad

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Hawaii Candidates: Beware of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety Questionaire

There’s a new super political action committee in town and they are out to influence local politics here.  The Washington, D.C. based Center for Food Safety set up office here and is raising money to change Hawaii to their liking.  This is actually a neo-luddite group that is disguised as a benign sounding consumer group which it is not.  They are really an activist group run by organic industry leaders and activists.  They are not about helping with food security and food safety in Hawaii or supporting agriculture in our islands unless it is their way.

Here’s a copy of the questionnaire that they have been sending candidates recently to see where they stand:

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Let’s take apart some of the questions that they are posing to see what this innocuous sounding group is really after.

1) Do you support, and if elected, will you vote to require all agrichemical companies to disclose pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that apply and GE crops they grow to adjacent landowners , businesses, and residents?

Basically, they want to apply the same anti-GMO ordinance that they enacted on Kauai to the whole state.  It is discriminating against a safe and approved crop as regulated by the Federal government.  Once again, they are seeking to divide and conquer agriculture in our islands by creating this divide again.  There already was a pesticide registry passed at the state level last year by a CFS favorite, Jessica Wooley.  Who is to say that they are not going to try to have all farmers covered by this law if they use pesticides?  How many burdens do we want to put on others for the sake of attacking the bigger industries here?

2) Do you support, and if elected, will you vote to increase financial and programmatic support for organic and sustainable farming?

First of all, the CFS is implying once again that only organic is sustainable.  The fail to mention to the candidate who does not do research that this “organic” issue is really a lobby created by an act of Congress.  It is under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to help farmers to sell their products at a premium.  This has nothing to do with food security or food safety or nutrition that’s even listed in the National Organic Program website.  Do we want candidates to support only farmers who want to sell high end food to consumers?  This group is not about making food affordable for the local people.  It’s about growing their industry plain and simple.  They use no evidence or science to dictate what has been shown to be truly sustaining.  Organic farming is not the only answer to food sustainability and nor is it about food security or affordability.  We need all the tools in agriculture to get Hawaii more food secure and not just funding premium products!  We’ve got to maximize the yields we get in our currently lands first and foremost to have the least environmental impact overall.

3)  Do you support funding state programs that expand support programs (including loans, business planning, safety certification, , education, grants in aid) for farmers growing food crops?

I have no problem with this question being asked and yes, we should look at supporting ALL farmers who grow things, not just food crops!  Agriculture in Hawaii is so much more than food.  Anyone who grows something here that is their livelihood should have our support, whether it be flowers, coffee, vegetables, cocoa, etc.  We’ve got to value ALL farmers and stop dividing up ag into what is and what isn’t considered agriculture.  The growing of things are only done by very few people and we should value and give them our support.

4) Do you support legislation that would preserved and support our native species, including pollinators, adversely affected by pesticide use?

This question posed is very biased in how they are presenting the issue.  First of all, the honey bees we have in our islands are anything but native.  We’ve brought them in nearly a hundred years ago.  They have competed with or very own native pollinators and as a result have decimated our true native species of bees.

Typical anti-GMO literature will give people the impression that there’s an armageddon of bee deaths.  The antis will all claim that GMOs and pesticides are killing them all.  It’s odd because the latest data points in the opposite direction.  The latest statistics collected by the USDA shows that honeybee colonies are definitely growing with Hawaii having some of the highest yields also.  Honey yields increased by nearly 15% this year.  If what they CFS is saying is true, this would not be the case given their statements.  Making a law based on false evidence will only have unintended consequences that we just don’t need.

5) Do you support the labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered?

This is typical of the CFS to be touting this.  The truth is the labeling issue is not about the right to know as they claim.  It’s about a means to a ban.  The simple idea of this label goes far beyond just putting a sticker on a package or a fruit.  It will include testing, segregation, and enforcement to create such a standard.  Do you think that Hawaii as a state can afford to handle such an issue?  The DOH has repeatedly stated that attempting to label some 20,000 products and making sure it is in compliance with such a law is going to cost each and every consumer.  Who does that hurt?  The ones with the least who can barely afford to make it now.

6) If elected, will you vote to protect home rule of counties over agriculture?

First of all, historically speaking, Hawaii was not unified and at a warring state for hundreds of years.  It wasn’t until a leader with a keen eye for leadership realized that they islands had to be unified.  That person was King Kamehameha who saw to it that the entire island chain became united.  Currently, we have politicians like Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, Margaret Wille, Brenda Ford, Jessica Wooley, and Kaniela Ing who are supporting the home rule clause.  They want to undo the unity in Hawaii agriculture and have fabricated a war which only takes away from the big goal of food security and affordability.

Mr. Bynum is also finding out that passing such home rule laws come with a cost that he had ignored.  Guess who will have to pay for those costs?  Yes, all of the residents in those counties in the form of higher property taxes and fees to cover the implementation of such laws.

7) Do you support the growing of more food in Hawaii?

Um, yes, we all support he growing of more food.  Attacking farmers and the technology they use isn’t going to help achieve this goal.  CFS is clearly anti-biotech and anti-aquaculture which is some key components to our locally grown foods here.  Will that mean they will block new technology if it saves bananas from viral diseases that are hitting farmers now?  Does this group wish to be a part of solving the problem or are they contributors to the problem?  I see them as the latter when it comes time for more locally grown food.  Are they going to help fund research to help solve Hawaii’s food problems or only be takers?  Their history of lawsuits against farmers only tell me that they are going to impede options to farmers and ranchers.  That’s not what we need in Hawaii at all.

8) Do you support the legislation to access more locally grown food?

This question sends shivers down my spine.  How is more legislation upon farmers going to increase locally grown food? More laws mean more burdens and loops that farmers must go through to do their work?  What we actually needs is less legislation to achieve more locally grown food.  Real farmers already have to contend with the burdensome Food Safety and Modernization Act that costs thousands to implement, as well as labor laws, tax laws, and so many other laws that apply to their businesses.  Leaders need to incentivize farming not punish them, which is what we have done in the last several years.  Want more food here?  Support those farmers and work collaboratively to reach that goal.

 

The Dirty Truth about the Hawaii Center for Food Safety

I wrote an earlier post about why people, especially leaders, need to be very wary about this group.  This group is about taking away possible solutions and use the heavy handed fear tactics that have divided the Kauai community.  We don’t need more emotion, ideology based demands in Hawaii’s food security and sustainability issues.  We need to use data and evidence to guide the state towards the goal.  The Center for Food Safety isn’t about collaborating and HELPING Hawaii people achieve the goal but about blocking possible options.

From the Center for Food Safety website.  Clearly fear peddlers and not supporters of farmers at all.

From the Center for Food Safety website. Clearly fear peddlers and not supporters of farmers at all.

If you as leaders and candidates choose to align with this group, you’ve just taken us 20 step backwards instead of forward.  This group isn’t from here and doesn’t have any connection to the local roots we all share in agriculture.  We need collaborators in these issues, not takers and fear mongers.  Why do we want to move Hawaii into the dark ages?  Open up people’s minds to what’s happening in the world instead of shutting it down in fear and ideology.  That’s the true responsibility of a good leader!

If you choose to align with people who believe that they must wear gas masks and hazmat suits on farms, then that tells me that I won’t be endorsing you as a candidate.  We don’t need fear peddlers in Hawaii.  We need people who do their due diligence and research the issues and not stand on ignorance and ideology.

 

There Would Be No Paradise Without Pesticides

Historical Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii

From the Babes Against Biotech to the new Hawaii Center for Food Safety, these outsiders want Hawaii to be pesticide free.  There is so much fear mongering created by these groups to an uninformed public about the true need for pesticides.  If we let these activists get their way, what would our islands look like without the help of these
“agro-chemical” companies?

Hokulea Would Not be Sailing the World

DOW AGROSCIENCES product, VIKANE, was used to rid our precious Hokulea of the Singapore ant problem. Hokulea was able to set sail on the voyage around the world without spreading an invasive species.  Kamaaina Fumigation donated their work to the Polynesian Voyaging Society…  “It’s always full circle in our culture to give.”

Historical Buildings Would Be Destroyed

Here are a few of the culturally significant sites and invasive species management that use pesticides to help preserve these buildings and natural habitats.

Sentricon

o Iolani Palace
o Queen Emma Summer Palace
o Waikiki Aquarium
o Hilton Hawaiian Village
o Kamehameha School – Oahu

Vikane

o Bishop Museum
o Hokule’a – drywood termites about 8 years ago and the ants currently
o Pearl Harbor historical buildings
o Kawaiaha’o Church, Honolulu
o Waikiki Shell

Vegetation Management (Invasive Species)

o Fireweed on Maui and Big Island
o Albizia – all islands
o Miconia – Maui
o Native grass propagation project with UH for DOT Roadsides

Pesticides are Needed to Preserve Paradise!

Can you imagine our Hawaii without the Iolani Palace or natural habitats overtaken by Miconia? Our native forests would be destroyed if it weren’t for the management of these invasive species and we would have lost the historical buildings to termites a long time ago.  Hawaii needs these pesticides to preserve the things that make our islands unique, despite what the activists keep repeating to people over and over.  If we let these outsiders dictate the rules, start saying good bye to some of our favorite places and monuments and our rain forests.

Fear and public opinion should never dictate what happens in our islands.  Evidence and data must guide us for the future of our islands.  That’s what our leaders need to use also first and foremost in making policy and informing the public.

Preserving the past is a good thing but sometimes we need the help of future innovations to complete that mission.