Really how dare you attack another small papaya grower? Who bought the machetes who destroyed over 100 trees this morning?
While the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association was gathering for their annual meeting and Mayor Billy Kenoi was speaking one farmer was absent; he was at his field with police overlooking destruction of his trees. A sad discovery awaited his trees had been chopped down!This is not okay, activism has gone to far now you have turned into eco terrorists! This is wrong!
We’re farmers not sex offenders, We will not register like a criminal…..
The criminals are the activists who have turned into ecoterrorists. Register the activists not farmers.
The Hawaii County Council is asking farmers to register their locations; why would they? Taking away their constitutional rights and making farm locations public access is a threat to our farmers sustainability and opens them to additional eco terrorist attacks. No were drawing the line “we will not register like a sex offender! Brenda Ford and Margaret Willie, I hope you here this, No No no and we will fight for our right to farm in Hawaii!
We work hard every day to grow affordable safe food for Hawaii….We are not causing Harm your grandstanding is harming us. Ag matters and Farmers care, clearly a few council members do not care about the harm they are causing…
End this non-sense NOW! Kill Bill 109 & 113 …. do what is right and understand farmers and agriculture before you start a public battle… DO NO HARM and this is harming farmers!
Swing Smith aka Jeffrey M. Smith was the Ford & Willie Show’s star witness on Monday for the hearing on Hawaii County Bill 113 effectively a GMO ban which will kill and strangle agriculture and any public research being done for niche agriculture crops on Hawaii Island…Let’s not forget it will slaughter the livestock industries options!
Was it Brenda Ford or Margaret Willie who organized the Skype call, we had to endure almost 1 hour of his nonsense, it was pure testimony not expert witness since he clearly is NOT an expert….His lack of credentials are below for your amusement, “Swing dancing” I particularly like that one, does that mean I’m a scientist because I can isolate DNA from a papaya with dish soap?
We have established he is an expert in Swing dancing and a self-appointed activist and gmo expert with ABSOLUTELY no
training or credentials..unless you consider yogic flying, by the way WTF is Yogic flying? If he can fly why wasn’t he at the actual Council meeting instead of Arizona? Which brings us to another point who is running this circus of a County Council debacle dubbed by many in the community as the “Ford & Willie Show” ?
Who wrote Margaret’s’ questions? That wasn’t the Willie we saw the previous hearings? Is it Nancy Redfeather who reportedly claims the initial authorship of Bill 113 or maybe it was Melanie Bondera, Una Greenway or the Occupy movement; we’re not sure who authored it and frankly do not care for it’s a train wreck for Hawaii Island, a potential legal disaster and an economic wreck if passed. The only congratulations the Ford & Willie Show get is in orchestrating Bills that are ripping this community apart and threaten our Food Security and food sustainability.
Farmers and Ranchers in Hawaii deserve the right and choice to grow safe, affordable food! Why must we become an agritourism stop and only grow high-end specialty crops to feed food elitists & not the average working man or woman; which is exactly who we are and who most farmers strive to feed, their community!
We do not need laws to legislate the economy and consumer choices that occurs on its own and not at the Hawaii county Council podium. Council members are elected to serve their community. Start serving YOUR entire community and let’s stop the “Ford & Willie Show” and cease any re-runs. Calling experts such as an Ob/gyn who is against vaccinations and Jeffrey Smith make the Hawaii county council look like a farce….
Jeffrey M. Smith lots of juicy bits below but nothing credible except a model for making activism a career that seems to pay him well. I know ranchers who would like to learn this Yogic flying that way they don’t have to open gates and use the pick up trucks. Next time Jeffrey why not fly in since your such an expert. I’m not sorry for the sarcasm this is beyond old, there were 8 Public University scientists who sat in the audience only to be ignored while we listened to this type of baloney!
Cease the “Ford & Willie Show” it is making Hawaii look bad, hurting our Farmers and costing taxpayers money!
Swing Jeffrey M. Smith (born 1956) is a self-published American author, independent film producer, professional dance instructor and former politician known for his work in transcendental meditation and yogic flying, Swing dance/Lindy Hop swing dance and Activism|activism in opposition to Genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He ran for the U.S. Congress as a candidate for the Natural Law Party (United_States), has authored several books, DVDs and a movie on the dangers of genetic engineering, serves on the Genetic Engineering Committee of the Sierra Club, and is a frequent conference speaker at advocacy, alternative health, organic and natural products conferences and his work is promoted on such nationally syndicated television programs as The Dr. Oz Show. Smith claims to have a background in communications and marketing, has served as an occasional contributor to his local newspaper and attended school at the Maharishi Institute of Management in Fairfield, Iowa where he resides.
There are few published details on Smith’s professional life prior to his joining with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi movement and affiliated Natural Law Party in 1992 and his campaigns against GMOs starting in 1999. Other than his time as a professional swing dance instructor, Jeffrey Smith has been a political activist, marketing and business development director and issues activist/author oriented around ventures linked to the multi-billion dollar Maharishi Institute religion and has no other reported education background or other credentials.
Natural Law Party political activism
Jeffrey Smith yogic flying demonstration
Jeffrey Smith, listing his occupation as “teacher” was a frequent donor to the Natural Law Party starting with its founding in 1992.Jeffrey Smith campaigned in 1996 for the Maharishi Mahesh’s Natural Law Party platform promoting transcendental meditation and yogic flying, taught and practiced at the Maharishi Institute, as a foundation for achieving world peace in politics. At campaign events in Illinois on behalf of Natural Law Party senate candidate Jim Davis, Smith provided demonstrations of yogic flying claiming the acts would “reduce crime and other ills.” Smith claimed. to have done yogic flying demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol, World Bank and United Nations as part of his campaign efforts in support of Natural Law Party candidates and promoting the adoption of teaching transcendental meditation in public schools. At campaign events Smith presented charts he claimed showed mass meditation and yogic flying lowered the crime rate in Washington, D.C., by 21 percent in a demonstration project.  Running on a platform promoting transcendental meditation and yogic flying in 1998, Smith was the Natural Law Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Iowa’s First District. Smith received 8 percent of the vote, losing to Republican Jim Leach. Other Natural Law Party proposed platform policies promoted by Smith’s campaign included the widespread adoption of organic agriculture, an 18 percent flat-tax, and creating “macro-economic stability through increased social coherence” by having tens of thousands of practitioners of transcendental meditation that would reduce unemployment, decrease inflation and improve other economic factors.
Swing Smith dance professional
Jeffrey and Andrea Smith
With his wife Andrea Vardi, Jeffry Smith has performed and provided instruction in swing dance under the professional name Swing Smith since 1996 teaching students at the University of Iowa and continues via the group “Lindy Fairfield” today. In 1999 the Smith duo founded Swingphoria, a Lindy Hop performance group, which performed around the Midwest.
Genetic ID, GMO testing laboratory
Smith worked from 1999 – 2001 as the vice president for marketing, communications and business development for the Fairfield, IA-based GMO testing laboratory Genetic-ID. Genetic-ID was founded by John Fagan, a dean and teacher at the Maharishi Institute, with Bill Witherspoon, a Midwest organizer for the Maharishi movement, and Jay B. Marcus, an attorney representing various Maharishi vedic health and organic food business interests. At Genetic-ID Smith traveled around the globe promoting food testing for and labeling of GMOs in food, personally asserting they were dangerous. Smith promoted Genetic-ID services to organic food companies, governments and activists groups who opposed genetically modified foods.  Genetic-ID has become a partner in the Non-GMO Project campaign linked to Maharishi follower Ken Roseboro’s Organic and Non-GMO Report.
Yes! Books in Fairfield, IA has published two books by Jeffrey Smith starting with Seeds of Deception in 2003, and was established as a retail book store in 2004; however, there are no formal business registrations for this book publisher name with the Iowa Secretary of State. Yes! Books is co-located with Jeffrey Smith’s Institute for Social Responsibility, and its product offerings appear limited to various anti-GMO authored content and Smith’s self-published publications, DVDs and “Non-GMO Educational Materials” promotional pamphlets. Smith’s wife Andrea Vardi serves as the media contact for Yes! Books and Smith’s public appearances promoting his books. Publishing under the banner of Yes! Books, Smith claims to be an international “best selling” author for his books; however, none appear verified on any such best sellerlists documenting sales.
Institute for Responsible Technology
Jeffrey Smith is currently the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, an organization he founded in 2003. According to a 2008 Reuters report, Smith’s Institute derives its income, for which he is paid a $24,000 annual salary, through speakers fees, book and DVD sales and sponsor donations for his advocacy efforts. From 2004-2012 the Institute was listed as the “fictitious” business name for and operated as a project of “The Coordinating Council,” a registered non-profit organization claiming no income or expenses from 2004-2007 and originally registered in Washington, State by nutraceutical lobbyist and health supplement salesman Craig Winters, as the umbrella organization for The Campaign to Label Genetically Modified Foods political ballot initiative in that state. Smith is the only listed member and sole employee for this organization. The Institute for Social Responsibility was created as a stand-alone tax-exempt, non-profit arm in 2012 Sponsoring donors listed on his website included: Organic Valley, Joe Mercola, Natural News/Mike Adams, Eden Organic, Nutiva, Nature’s Path Organic, WestSoy, EO, Earth’s Best Organic, New Chapter Organics, Rudis Organic Bakery, Silk, and various other organic and alternative health companies.
Several academics have launched campaigns to dissect and review Jeffrey Smith’s claims and criticize organizations and media outlets who report on his claims. Other skeptics of Smith’s attacks on genetically modified crops have called his assertions “pseudoscience” and have generally discounted the transcendental meditation and yogic flying bases of his claims due to the lack of quality research and a lack of methodological rigor in Smith’s claims.
Jeffrey Smith grew up in New York City and then attended school at the Maharishi Institute for Management and has been cited as an expert in yogic flying. From 1983 – 1988, as part of the Ministry of Celebration and Fulfillment, Smith studied in the business administration school’s Purusha program for the TM-Sidhi program approach to advanced meditation. Smith is credited with helping form the core of the U.S. “national Maharishi Effect|Super Radiance community” with TM and yogic flying demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol, World Bank and United Nations. In 2002 (around the same time period in which he claims to have been an international best selling author) Smith filed Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in Iowa Federal Court. He resides in Fairfield, IA with his wife artist, jewelry maker and dance instructor Andrea Vardi (Maharishi Institute ’78).
Smith, Jeffrey M (2003). Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating. Fairfield, IA: YES! Books (self published). ISBN 978-0-8144-1622-8.
Smith, Jeffrey M (2007). Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. Fairfield, IA. ISBN 978-0972966528.
Smith, Jeffrey M (2003). Hard to Swallow: The Dangers of GE Food – An International Expose. Nelson, New Zealand: Craig Potton. ISBN 978-1877333118.
Cite movie |last=Smith |first=Jeffrey M |title= Genetic Roulette the Movie |studio=Institute for Responsible Technology |location=Fairfield, IA |year=2012 |ASIN= B0096DP4CG
Cite movie |last=Smith |first=Jeffrey M |title= Dangers in Kids’ Meals and Your Milk on Drugs —Just Say No! a DVD|studio=Institute for Responsible Technology |location=Fairfield, IA |year=2008 |ASIN= 0972966560
First we want to state the devastation to the environment from the molasses spill on Oahu, Hawaii deeply saddens us, there is nothing remotely funny in this disaster to Hawaii’s ecosystem. We are Loyal to the Land and this accident has done harm to Hawaii.
We had decided to not wade into this naturally sticky situation when a quote from a key politician gave me a sore neck from whiplash my brain began turning. Thank you Senator Brian Schatz for getting our attention!
Seriously whiplash almost occurred when I heard US Senator Brian Schatz state on KHNL/KGMB….he said quote “We need to get our best scientists into the water to find out the damage” ….” OMG Did he really just say that, yes he did! Could Senator Schatz please share that with Mr. Gary Hoosier, Brenda Ford, Margaret Willie and Mr. Bynum of the Hawaii and Kauai County Council…
After all our best scientists are real and not fake pulled off the beach where they just happen to be vacationing in ground zero, really? Did you buy that, seriously they were paid to be in Hawaii for the hearings, it can’t be a coincidence when it occurs at every hearing! Our best scientists have published research studies and they are credible; their scientific studies have been peer-reviewed and examined by other scientists….They and their reports have been vetted by the their own peers.
Sometimes scientists know more than elected officials! Dare I say maybe more like scientists certainly understand their particular area of expertise better than anyone and most assuredly better than an elected official; but then elected Council Members such as Gary Hoosier, Brenda Ford and Margaret Willie understand how to be an activist on a County Council way better than any scientists or farmer we know, that’s for sure! Maybe scientists and farmers need to become more adept at politics to even this out.
A quote by Governor Abercrombie of Hawaii, regarding the anti-windmill activists: “Yes, we have to take points of view into account. But opinion that is merely opinion is not going to be good enough. It has to be science-based; it has to be reality-based in terms of the political nature of what is involved in global pricing right now where energy is concerned,” Abercrombie said. Mahalo Governor! Words of wisdom from our fearless leader Governor Abercrombie, Thank you guv’nor!
Now let’s share this with the a’oles on Kauai and Hawaii and especially elected officials that have run repeatedly for higher office and keep losing, only to be re-elected to county council. Now how can we best convey our message, the wise words of wisdom from politicians to politicians; after all how can you embrace science and scientists in one manner yet degrade and denigrate them in a hearing? Shouldn’t vetted scientists deserve respect from public officials; After all you’re elected and you’re not an expert; you’re a County Council member elected by the people to represent all of your community not the vocal minority or special interests.
Maybe the lesson for Hawaii is learning to craft better policies: Writing polices and laws based on sound evidence, good science and bringing in the experts to Hawaii that are needed and only then reacting. After all taking premature reaction without a solid foundation will cause unintended consequences to the community, the environment, economically and socially. Two key politicians in Hawaii have spoken words of wisdom; why would Hawaii and Kauai not listen?
We need your help getting testimony to the Hawaii County Council; Opposing Brenda Ford’s GMO Ban Bill 109 and Margaret Wille’s Bill 113 which bans gmo’s but allows for a papaya exemption if your granted an exemption, ie pay fee’s disclose your farms location….
This might just be the biggest threat to Hawaii agriculture
and Our right to farm that we have ever seen…
We’re inviting you to attend the Council hearing on Sept. 4th at 1:30PM and….
This is important to Hawaii agriculture, our farmers and our ranchers. We’re standing united together against both these bills. We’re asking you to submit testimony and to please ask five of your family or friends to do the same and ask them to ask five of their friends, etc….that is the only way we can get the numbers we need to defeat these Bills.
Remember agriculture producers only make up 2% of the Nation….Yet we feed us all! It will take knowing agriculture and the community supporting farmers and ranchers if we’re to survive and thrive…
Brenda Ford’s Bill basically bans all GMO production and use, including feed for animals and also includes a requirement to destroy papaya trees and corn currently in production.
Margaret Wille also has Bill 113 that will be heard at the same hearing (agenda attached). Her Bill exempts the genetically modified papaya and other GMO crops currently in production on Hawaii County as long as they jump through her hoops (new regulations, fees and penalties). Her Bill allows no future use of geneticly engineered technology to grow feed, fight diseases in crops and livestock or using them in the future.
Despite the exemption for papaya in Wille’s Bill, papaya farmers are giving her Bill a thumbs down. Their position is that her Bill says that GMO papaya is bad but since it’s already here and widespread the County Council will let it go. She infers their contaminated and inferior; they are NOT their prime is taste and quality. Kudos to the papaya industry for recognizing this and standing their ground…we will stand together with them. “Ag United”
As farmers and ranchers we have the right to farm…with every legal method and technology out there, organically or conventionally, with or without genetic technology and with respect for the rights of our fellow farmers and ranchers to do the same.
Here is what the World’s Health & Scientific Organizations have to say about GMO’s and genetically engineered crops….
World Health Organization “WHO”
“No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”
National Academy of Sciences
“No adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.”
American Association for the Advancement of Science
“The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.”
American Medical Association
“There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”
“No scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”
French Academy of Science
“All criticisms against GMOs can be largely rejected on strictly scientific criteria.
Union of German Academics and Scientists
“In consuming food derived from GM plans approved in the EU and in the USA, the risk is in no way higher than in the consumption of food from conventionally grown plants. On the contrary, in some cases food from GM plants appears to be superior in respect to health. ”
Yet despite all the science and the evidence Hawaii County is trying to make public policy based on emotions rather than the evidence…Really! Come on…
Instructions on How you to submit testimony…
Needs to be into the Council by 12 noon by September 3rd. Even if you are late please submit it anyway!
By regular mail or Drop it off: Office of the County Clerk, 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo,HI. 96720
Show up to any Council location Island-wide to testify in person.
Hilo: Council Chambers at the County Building in Hilo, 25 Aupuni Street, Room 1401
Kona: Council Chambers at the West Hawai’i Civic Center in Kona at 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway, Building A.
Waimea: Waimea Council Office, at the Holumua Center, 64-1067, Māmalahoa Highway, Suite 5.
Oral public testimony is limited to two (2) minutes total for all 4 agenda items.
Video Public Testimony: Those submitting video testimony may email a complete web address (url) to firstname.lastname@example.org before 12:00 noon on the business day prior to the meeting. The email shall indicate the appropriate Committee or Council meeting, the meeting date, agenda item (communication, bill, resolution, or report number), and number of testifiers on the video submittal. Each video submittal shall be limited to a single agenda item. Video submittals may contain up to three (3) individual testifiers and shall each be up to three (2) minutes in length.
Example testimony (Cut, paste or change for your personal story!)
Hawaii County Council
Committee on Public Safety & Mass Transit
Wednesday September 4, 2013 1:30 p.m.
Testimony Against Bills 109 and 113
Committee Chair Ford and Members of the Committee:
I oppose Bills 109 and 113 because any anti-GMO legislation in Hawaii County will discriminate against our farmers and ranchers who choose to use approved genetic engineered technology to grow safe and wholesome food and other agriculture products. These Bills also damage Hawaii’s reputation for producing some of the best crops on the planet, harms our markets, and eventually destroy our agriculture industry.
I am pro-farming and the right to farm in the United States of America, still a free country, under laws of and regulated by the USA and the State of Hawaii.
Hawaii’s farmers and ranchers may need virus resistant GMO crops to protect Hawaii from the next papaya virus strain, banana bunchy top virus, tomato spotted wilt and other vegetable viruses, or the bacterial citrus greening disease that is destroying the Florida citrus industry and may soon come to Hawaii. Furthermore, this bill will stop development of GMO ornamental and floral crops with enhanced horticultural or disease resistant characteristics. These Bills would prohibit livestock and aquaculture producers from efficiently growing cost effective feed locally, requiring them to import at a higher price the exact same feeds. How will Hawaii County farmers and ranchers compete when everyone but us has access to GE technology?
The consensus of independent scientific organizations worldwide is unanimous and can be summed up by this statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.”
A statement was posted on Damon Tuckers blog from Council Woman Margaret Willie stating that the council members generally recognized there is a need to restrict any further introduction of the GMOs here on our island… Really Willie, there was no vote taken, You don’t have consesus on that statement…Is this about GMO’s, Home Rule or Monsanto?
What I really heard was Mrs. Willie and Brenda Ford fighting for home rule recognition; well that after Mrs. Ford threatened to Kill Mrs. Willie if she pulled the Bill. They want to leave their mark, to prove a point to the State, that they can and will pass legislation at ANY cost to the taxpayers of Hawaii County, myself included.
Earlier I asked if anyone was watching how much this circus is costing us in Dollars, much less the cost to our community for inducing more food fights. Does anyone care that the County budget will be impacted or that our Council is not able to take care of other issues while wading through this? I don’t believe creating public policy before your educated on the issue is pono, as it most certainly will affect many people, in more ways than they appear to realize.
Have you considered the cost to Hawaii County if you place a ban or moratorium on GMO’s..Do you really think something that is constitutionally legal to our citizens will go unchallenged. Long after some Council members are not re-elected we will still be paying the price to push the vocal minorities agenda in Hawaii County. Is that pono?
She States: Bill 79 was cumbersome with layers of amendments. ” Fact is: No amendment was ever brought to the floor for a vote. She never even placed a motion to obtain a second, much less obtained a vote” You can only have an amendment to a Bill by Roberts Rules of order if it’s voted on and amended. You had a train wreck that no one wanted to touch! The wording in Bill 79 was bizarre and Mrs. Willie’s proposed amendments were even more bizarre.
A bad bill and bizarre wording combined with ethical issues & scientific ignorance is a very dangerous thing.
Council Member Zendo Kerns stated “There is never a bad time to pull a bad bill” We totally agree and that is why she pulled it. She had 5-6 months to write and re-write a good bill and she couldn’t do it. How much money should our County waste to push Mrs. Willies personal agenda. She has never liked agriculture, before she was elected she wanted to run a highway through 500+ acres of our County’s most prime producing ag lands, I saw first hand her tactics and her lack of concern for our 3rd and 4th generation Farmers. You didn’t care then and you certainly don’t care now! The only people Bills like this will hurt is small farmers, exactly those you state your trying to protect. I say hogwash! You don’t have a clue about farming or agriculture in Hawaii yet you desire us to farm your way, a romanticized way of life, not the reality we face daily to feed Hawaii.
Does anyone honestly think your going to harm Monsanto with a bill such as Hawaii County Bill 79 or the other Seed Companies with a Bill like Kauai County 2491. Oh, you might score a cheap shot but you wont win. Reality is this…Your only going to hurt the small farmers, the community, the taxpayers and agriculture in general. Agriculture in Hawaii has special needs, transportation issues and our exportable agriculture crops help achieve that balance, upset the apple cart and its easy to see the dominos fall. Can you say we’re vulnerable, hell yes we are and fighting our own community only makes it worse. Do what’s wise and pono and study agriculture, do as Council member Poindexter requested meet with ag and really learn it before you take another cheap shot at us. No were not happy with you but were not mad either, wasn’t us threatening our County Council, stalking or harassing them.
The Ad Hoc committee she proposes has validity if they actually dig deep into the issue with open minds and learn about agriculture in Hawaii before they propose a new law.
Her Home rule issue, as we said above a few members have an agenda here. Why are they afraid; their afraid of a state law being passed restricting their ability. Mrs. Willie states “For this reason any effort to postpone passage of a bill restricting GMOs beyond December 2013 is tantamount to killing the bill. ” What you fail to see is the State trying to save you from yourselves, you openly admit you do not understand the science, you’re not educated on the issue, yet you think yourself qualified to pass policy. Placing a ban on Hawaii Island will land Hawaii County in a bitter expensive legal battle, you quoted the coffee and taro; we all know it has no teeth and wont stand up in Court; you can’t pre-empt Federal Law.
Finally: The more your divide GMO crop producers the more you harm their market, is Hawaii County prepared for this? Your slandering an industry and farmers that provide an affordable crop to Hawaii and the world and yet you don’t hesitate to single them out and harm their markets. No their NOT bio-hazards Mrs. Willie and we will not allow you to call them that in ANY bill “Not Acceptable”.
We know your not done, just remember were a tenacious lot and we’re done remaining silent expecting that you will come to your senses and give agriculture and farmers the respect they deserve! We’re confident, proud and United, we’re not going anyplace. “We’re AG Proud”
During Friday’s event, we spoke to Eric Weinert, the general manager of Calavo Growers, the largest exporter of papaya to the mainland. Weinert says his business grows all Rainbow papaya. Also participating: The Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawaii Dairy, and Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council.
The event was one of the first counter-demonstrations to recent anti-GMO rallies held on Hawaii Island this year. It adds to the passionate debate that has been building in recent weeks as a big day of public testimony before the Hawaii County Council approaches. On July 2nd, a special council committee hearing will consider bill 79, which would prohibit GMOs on the island. The bill “grandfathers in” the papaya industry, exempting the virus-resistant Rainbow variety from the proposed law.
Hawaii Island farmers and ranchers will unite in a rally in opposition of County bill 79 on Friday June 28th at 2pm in front of Hilo County building. The Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawaii Dairy, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council will join forces in solidarity to convey to the County Council the importance of allowing farmers, nursery growers, ranchers and retail businesses to have free choices in their livelihood.
These organizations represent approximately 600 local businesses with 2000 employees. Collectively, they contribute $130 million to the island’s economy.
“The bill contains no rhyme or reason,” according to Richard Ha, an island farmer who opposes bill 79. “We should be feeding Hawaii’s people but this bill is pitting people against farmers. We just want to have the freedom to farm.”
Hawaii Island farmers, ranchers and business members take health and safety very seriously. They believe that free choice in agricultural practices will enable organic farmers to work collaboratively with those who employ agricultural technology so that all local businesses are at liberty to earn a living, feed their families and provide for economic and food security on the local level.
The organizations that will rally, who sometimes refer to themselves as Freedom Farmers, seek a way to communicate with others about ways to come together to find solutions that allow all to farm on Hawaii Island.