What Will I Tell My Kids?

What Will I Tell My Kids?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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