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LETTERS for November 6 issue

By Staff | Nov 6, 2014

Return agriculture to prominence in Hawaii

Why we are… where we are… for such a time as this. What will become of us if we have tolerance for just about anything but not farming practices?

Food is one of the common denominators that should be uniting us to advocate for the return of agriculture to the Hawaiian Islands. Don’t breed fear – breed interest and search for the truth.

I personally am scared when I read some of the articles on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and non-organic products. The processed foods we eat and junk food all contribute to poor health.

Perhaps with the revival of agriculture in Hawaii, more families would have opportunities for farming, and as a result eat better.

I remember as a child, growing up in a snowy winter climate, how fun it was to grow tomatoes and green peppers in the house. I also remember the novelty wearing off and instead getting a cactus, which I forgot to water and subsequently died.

The point being, it is hard for me to say how farming should be done, because I am not a farmer.

I believe a lot of the people are like me and know they want safe, healthy food but are not sure how that can be accomplished.

My husband’s parents and younger brother (from California) died of cancer, so this is a major concern for me. I want to know that our food and the environment are safe.

We import 90 percent of our food, which is not all organic. If GMO and pesticide products are being imported for our consumption, why are we not banning that?

I would rather see that we only import produce that cannot be grown here. Locally grown food is higher in nutrients.

I buy organic when I can and have found successful farms in the islands that are innovative and showing profits. I like that!

I also have respect for those that have larger farm operations that may not make it viable for organic/pesticide-free farming. Hawaii’s islands have unique environments and crops, so not all farming practices will work across the board. Diversity is our strength.

The Hawaii State Constitution, Hawaii State Plan, New Day Plan, Hawaii Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and other state policy documents support increasing Hawaii’s food self-sufficiency.

A perfect example of how regulations are powerless to get things done… people get things done.

The consumer behavior will dictate the direction farming will go. The main thing is that we get farming and ranching in Hawaii for food security. We need to make that happen, because government policy is not working.

Advocate for local produce and livestock and do it with aloha.



Police can do a better job

Ron Tate of Lahaina, I’m with you. I used to be a cop (California Highway Patrol). I’m doing the same now here, where I’m (by destiny) living in Taiwan.

Taiwanese police officers make a mediocre salary of $1,400. What do they do regarding law-enforcement? Nearly zilch!

And guess what? That’s how citizens behave: running red lights, never ever stopping on crosswalks, passing in scooter lanes, parking on crosswalks – you name it.

I applied in 2000 for Maui Police Department; the salary starts now at over $3,500 – a pretty penny. And yes, for that salary, generated by citizens’ taxes, they could clearly do a better job on enforcing laws, but at the same time step down from their high horses they feel sitting on.



Maui/Taiwan Why is Monsanto here?

I was thinking the other day and wondered, “Why here?”

Monsanto is a multi-billion dollar company, so of all the places in the U.S. to develop a research program, why Maui? Why Molokai? Why Kauai?

Land isn’t cheaper, so if you were trying to develop a viable cash crop for the islands to sell worldwide, we’ve already done that, and it’s not economically feasible. Sugar cane and pineapple both ended up in the Philippines, where it can be both grown and shipped more profitably.

So Monsanto isn’t here to throw money at another attempt at sugar, and corn wouldn’t be worth the trouble with shipping costs (not when you have the whole Midwest under plow).

They say that we have the ideal climate for growing and testing genetically modified plants. But what modifications can you make in the perfect climate to handle the non-perfect climates? Will frost-resistant corn be developed in the sunshine of Maui?

So with all the millions of acres available on the Mainland for the right economical farming or the right climate to study and test modifications to genomes, why these little islands out here in the middle of the Pacific?

Containment. If things would go horribly wrong with one of these altered lab experiments, it could be contained on just one island.

We all remember the film “Jurassic Park,” and why they chose an out-of-the-way island to house their experiments (can’t get more isolated than Hawaii).

But I think that the more appropriate example is H.G. Wells’ “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” who creates human-like beings from animals via vivisection. The novel deals with a number of philosophical themes, including moral responsibility, human identity and human interference with nature.

The question isn’t for Hawaii Maoli to be allowed to farm or not – this wasn’t a farming ban bill. The question is why are we allowing Monsanto to experiment genetics on our islands without an Environmental Impact Statement?