LETTERS for October 16 issue
Start a ‘Righteous Revolution’
Why we are… where we are… for such a time as this. Have you figured it out by now that we are starting a Righteous Revolution? Historically, when the peasants rebelled, they would take up their axes and pitchforks and fight injustice by storming the castle gate.
Our weapon of choice is our fork; whether it is plastic or stainless steel or silver, we all have one and will decide Hawaii’s future with it. By advocating for agriculture, we can take back our freedoms that we have lost. Locally grown organic foods are labeled; thus the consumer behavior will dictate Hawaii’s choice by buying organic or GMO/pesticide, not a bill.
We are not a threat to politicians and government employees. We are, however, a force to be reckoned with concerning government regulations and bureaucracy. We must ask our politicians and commissions and councils to put down their pens, pick up their forks and join the revolution.
We are buried alive in paperwork, known as government bureaucracy. It has built up through the years, so no one noticed until it was too late. We cannot rise up from under the weight of it all. We are under the oppression of government regulations and must act before it crushes the life out of us.
Start the revolution by putting the existing rules and regulations on a diet. Stop putting more “paper” on us. Advocate for agriculture by implementing the Pono Policy and do what is right instead of having more government regulations. We can be more efficient and have faster results by working toward a common goal of buying local produce and livestock products. The “big box” importers, local grocers and restaurants and hotels, as well as land owners and farmers and ranchers, and the consumers (us), must come together for it to be a Righteous Revolution.
What is required to accomplish this is quite simple. We must act judiciously, whether it is in the use of fertilizers and pesticides, to pricing and profits, to any aspect of the entire agriculture movement. We do not have to respect all the farm practices, but we do need to be respectful of one another.
The concern on everyones’ account is their well-being for health and/or wealth, so let the forks decide. GMO crops have been grown in Hawaii since 1965, and Hawaii was rated the healthiest state, so we can remain calm as the testing continues and we gather more facts.
The global studies will uncover any significant ramifications of GMOs and will right any wrongs in due time. The GMO companies will not be able to hide nor buy their way out because of the level of concern. Please continue to advocate for unbiased studies, but with compassion and kindness.
Let freedom reign and farming and ranching begin to make Hawaii a model of sustainability with the spirit of aloha.
Ballot question targets
I am writing in response to Jim Falconer’s letter in the Oct. 2 issue of the Lahaina News. He keeps repeating the same rhetoric without really understanding what the GMO (genetically modified organism) moratorium bill is all about.
It is directed at the chemical companies here on Maui to temporarily stop doing open air testing with GMOs and the experimental pesticides they use until it is proven safe. I even wrote Mr. Falconer a letter with a lot of information about what has been happening on Kauai, with all the birth defects there with residents who live next to the test fields, etc.
The test fields in Kihei are near residential neighborhoods and schools. Conventional farming only uses 12 pesticides. There are 80 being used, with different combinations being sprayed every day in the test fields there. They are also spraying right next to the bird sanctuary in the marsh area on the way to Kihei.
As a private citizen, I am very concerned about the effects of those living in that area and all the pesticide runoff that goes into the streams and ocean from there, especially by Kalama Beach Park.
I think Jim has been bamboozled and misinformed. The “stop the farming ban” was started by one of the employees of Mycogen. Where do private citizens get millions of dollars for campaign ads with TV air time and color mailing brochures? Hmmm… could it be big chemical corporations?
I wish Jim all the best, but I do urge him to wake up and smell the coffee. I want our islands to be a safe, healthy place – not a wasteland like some of the towns that these big chemical corporations have left in their wake. (PCBs anyone?)
I really think there should be a forum with both sides to speak about this critical issue – the Hawaiian way as suggested by a lot of people.
BONNIE MORGAN, Kahana
Monsanto behind false advertising
One must ask oneself… why am I looking at multiple expensive ads on TV and expensive mail-outs regarding the farm bill that is coming up for a vote this election year? Who is funding all of this propaganda, and why would they go to such lengths?
It is apparent that Monsanto is definitely behind all this false advertising. It is also obvious that they have taken innocent local people and persuaded them to speak on behalf of Monsanto without them really understanding the full picture.
This is what big corporations do to get what they want with not really caring about our island. They are trying to scare the working class into thinking they will lose jobs… which is false. Don’t be fooled by all this B.S… vote “YES” and strike down this rich bully!
SU CAMPOS, Napili
Why I’m voting ‘yes’ on the GMO question
Two things happened today: 1) I made my monthly trip by bus to Mana Foods in Paia, where I can buy good, clean, local food at reasonable prices; 2) In my mailbox, I found the fourth missive, beautifully photographed in color, with photos of outstanding citizens proclaiming, “Vote No to the GMO ban.”
I understand, also, that Mayor Arakawa thinks the moratorium on genetically modified crops is impractical.
Having had some prior knowledge through a university I went to concerning the dangers of GMO foods, I went online to see if anything had changed. This is what, in brief, I found on the American Academy of Environmental Medicine website.
“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food.”
“Before the FDA decided to allow GMOs into food without labeling, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.”
So, what gives? Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.
Now, I attended the meeting before the Maui County Council held some months ago. One of the citizenry who gave testimony reported that new jobs would be made available to those people who worked for the seed companies who might lose their current job. Does the general public know this?
Speaking of seed, my farmer friend says to be aware that seeds bought from the GMO companies with inbuilt pesticides are a money-making device to force farmers to purchase seeds again from the GMO companies for the next crop. I think these are called “terminator seeds.”
These are some of my concerns. I think I’ve done my homework and, therefore, I will vote “YES” to the moratorium on Nov. 4.
If you shoot it. If you dust it. If you do something crazy to its DNA, I won’t eat it.
KEAHI FELIX, Lahaina
Farmers on Maui grow GMO crops
I have been farming on Maui for 40 years; among the crops I have grown are head cabbage, Chinese cabbage, romaine lettuce, head lettuce, kale, Maui onions, bell peppers and GMO sweet corn. All of my crops have been sold to consumers on Maui and in the state. Since I started farming in 1974, many of the farms that were in existence then are now gone. Farming is hard work, and the cost of production increases each year along with challenges when it comes to water, invasive insects and the weather.
I have grown both conventional and GMO corn. My experience is that the GMO corn used no insecticides, less water and produced a higher yield than the conventionally grown corn. One-hundred percent of my conventional corn had corn earworms. The GMO corn contains a Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) gene that kills the corn earworm when it consumes the corn. Bt is the same organic insecticide used in organic farming and that is sprayed on the plants.
I would like to see more young people enter farming of all types. Our agriculture and ranching is as diverse as Maui, and we produce a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and meats. But, I fear that many young people will not choose life as a farmer if they are going to come under attack for practices they do not employ and have to answer charges and criticism that are not correct.
Farmers are accused of being spray happy, drenching their crops with pesticides with no respect for their neighbors, adjacent farmers and the environment. This is not true. Pesticides are expensive, and restricted use pesticides must be applied following strict federal and state regulations by a licensed pesticide applicator. That applicator has taken many hours of instruction and passed a detailed test to qualify for their position. No farmer that I know wants to spend more money than they have to when raising a crop. Expensive pesticides are applied conservatively and only when needed.
Much of the discussion about farming and longtime farming practices on Maui is coming from folks who have never farmed, and they don’t understand what takes place on the farm. That may be why they want to pass an initiative that would make criminals of farmers with civil penalties of up to $50,000 and criminal penalties of $2,000 per day, with each day counting as a separate offense.
Every day, the world’s population grows larger, and arable land and clean water is decreasing in supply each year. How are we going to feed millions more in the years ahead in the face of this reality?
I support my fellow farmers on Maui. That includes organic, conventional, GMO, hydroponic, greenhouse, folks growing vegetables in their back yard and anyone else who wants to experience the miracle of agriculture and the pride that comes from feeding our community. The initiative proposed today will force many long-standing farming practices to cease until the initiative approves them to continue.
Called a moratorium, the initiative is really a farming ban with no timeline in a moratorium situation for reopening any closed farm. The initiative is specific in its enforcement provisions, which apply to “any person or entity” (page 7, section 5, number 1). No exceptions are made for small farms, large farms or gardens. The initiative may be well-intended but it is bad public policy, harms Maui farmers and puts hundreds of people out of work. I invite you to join me in voting “NO” on the Maui Farming Ban Initiative. Remember, a “blank” county ballot is not a vote; it is a ballot that is not counted.
ROBERT ITO, Kula
Anti-GMO activists causing property damage
Recent spray paint property damage in Lahaina deserves comment. I assume this is the anti-GMO activists’ campaign strategy along with their barrage of half-truths and fear-mongering. It is a shame they don’t have the talent to debate the science, but can only offer property damage. Perhaps we should all vote “no” on the initiative in retaliation.
DON GERBIG, Lahaina