News, updates, finds, and stories from staff and community members at KAHEA.
Showing blog entries tagged as: food sovereignty

News, updates, finds, stories, and tidbits from staff and community members at KAHEA. Got something to share? Email us at:

Maui County Council Opposes Preemption

Posted by Miwa at Mar 20, 2009 08:14 PM |

Maui County just unanimously opposed HB1226 GMO preemption bill now at the state legislature.

This bill proposes to forfeit to the federal government the authority of all state and county agencies to regulate and oversee activities related to genetic modification. This means counties will lose their power to regulate any other GMO-activities that occur in their own communities. Unfortunately, there is no federal oversight of GMOs that local governments can rely upon to protect farmers, consumers, or the environment.

Good job to Maui HawaiiSEED, the good Doctor Pang, and the many advocates, scientists and farmers who never fail to deliver the truth! MAHALO PIHA to the Council for setting the precedent!

And mahalo to the State legislators who vocally stood up for County rights and the State Constitution. The dialogue is getting louder and more meaningful, IMUA KAKOU!

"When you plant kalo, everything else falls into place."

Posted by Miwa at Mar 04, 2009 08:58 PM |
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From TheLEDGE, supporting passage of Taro Protection Bill (HB1663), banning the genetic modification of taro in Hawaii.

“And so I come here to plea that you would give Haloa our older brother, the protection that he needs.”

You can support by telling decision-makers that GMO-taro is wrong for Hawaii…

Genetic engineering of taro into a genetically modified organism (GMO) is an irreversible, experimental technique that has not been scientifically proven safe for human and environmental health, and has not been approved or accepted by the community. GMO-taro is of serious concern to consumers, farmers, Native Hawaiians, and scientists. The practice of genetically modifying and patenting taro, a unique and sacred heritage plant and food resource, is unethical and unwisely poses risks to the people and lands of Hawaii.

Live Twitter Feed from Taro Hearings

Posted by Miwa at Mar 04, 2009 08:37 PM |
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Damon Tucker is twittering live from the hearing for HB 1223 and HB1663 on Taro Security Bills.

Mahalo to Damon, as well as Georgette and Thelma!

Joan's Musings on GMO-Taro Bill

Posted by Miwa at Mar 04, 2009 07:19 PM |
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Journalist Joan Conrow “muses” on Kauai Taro Growers Association (KTGA) opposition to a bill banning the genetic modification of taro in Hawaii.

From Joan:

Still, it seems to me that declining taro production is due predominantly to land and labor issues. I know a number of taro farmers who lost their leases, most notably in the prime taro lands owned by Gaylord Wilcox behind the Hanalei shopping center, and although they wanted to continue farming, they had nowhere else to go.

The KTGA was notably silent when these farmers asked for help in retaining their leases. If KTGA is serious about increasing production, it would be well served to put its energy into helping more farmers get on the land and ensuring water is available, instead of putting all its hopes into CTAHR developing some magic disease-resistant, high-yield GMO variety that only the big commercial growers want to grow and can afford to buy.

Inviting in the New Invasive

Posted by Miwa at Mar 02, 2009 04:29 PM |

We’ve been talking for a while about possible impacts of genetically modified organisms on conventional crops and/or wild plants and the implications of “escaped genes” on natural ecosystems.

From article in the New Scientist:

NOW it’s official: genes from genetically modified corn have escaped into wild varieties in rural Mexico. A new study resolves a long-running controversy over the spread of GM genes and suggests that detecting such escapes may be tougher than previously thought.

(Mahalo to Judy and Dave for the tip!)

So not only are these rogue, experimental genes escaping into native ecosystems, they’re also harder to detect than we had thought. Sounds like the makings of a perfect invasive to us!

Hawaii is now coming to grips with its multi-million dollar invasive species problem–a crisis that has pushed many native species to extinction and pushed many others to just a fraction of their original range. At the same time, Hawaii has become a hotbed of activity for testing of genetically modified organisms (GMO)–Hawaii is home to more open field GMO tests than any other place under U.S. jurisdiction.

Efforts are underway to pull out the welcome mat from under this new invasion, including a bill to stop the genetic modification of taro–Hawaii’s traditional and sacred food and the state plant of Hawaii. You can take action to support today!

Biotech Seed Companies Thwarting Good Science

Posted by Miwa at Feb 23, 2009 08:52 PM |
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From Miwa:

We’re getting closer to knowing why we don’t know what we don’t know–in an unusual statement issued earlier this month, 26 leading corn insect scientists expressed their opposition to industry stranglehold on research of genetically modified crops.

“No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions,” the statement says.

The blurring line between business, government, and academic science appear to have produced a system where all three are unable to fulfill their kuleana to serve (or at least, not to damage) the public good–including local economies, public health, and the environment.

Hawaii has more experimental field trials of genetic engineering than any other state in the nation, and seed corn is now Hawaii’s top crop. Permits granted for field trials include: corn engineered with human genes (Dow), corn engineered with jellyfish genes (Stanford University), and corn engineered with hepatitis virus genes (Prodigene).

Excerpt from Andrew Pollack’s article in the New York Times:

The problem, the scientists say, is that farmers and other buyers of genetically engineered seeds have to sign an agreement meant to ensure that growers honor company patent rights and environmental regulations. But the agreements also prohibit growing the crops for research purposes.

Such agreements have long been a problem, the scientists said, but they are going public now because frustration has been building.

“If a company can control the research that appears in the public domain, they can reduce the potential negatives that can come out of any research,” said Ken Ostlie, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota, who was one of the scientists who had signed the statement.

Dr. Shields of Cornell said financing for agricultural research had gradually shifted from the public sector to the private sector. That makes many scientists at universities dependent on financing or technical cooperation from the big seed companies.

“People are afraid of being blacklisted,” he said. “If your sole job is to work on corn insects and you need the latest corn varieties and the companies decide not to give it to you, you can’t do your job.”

See the full article at:


Posted by bryna at Jan 05, 2009 08:30 PM |

From Bryna, some thoughts on this piece on “Genetically Modified Hawaii” in the Scientific American:

In the pursuit of responsible, meaningful, helpful science for the betterment of the communities and lands of Hawaii, we’ve gotten rather flustered and confused by the dangerous, expensive answers that GMOs offer our local communities.

What do we want for Hawaii? Something we can sink our teeth into.  As the article expounds, we have 3-4 growing seasons. So why are we growing corporate ag-fuel investments & experiments with laughable farm-to-fuel efficiency, short term profitability and long term, irreversible and uncalculable risks? We could be growing increasingly valuable organic seeds for export, and of course nutritious, delicious food to eat here!  GMO-corn & related chemicals make even pineapple seem more meaningful and safe for the nutritional and environmental needs of Hawaii.  Then again, pineapple didn’t make it past 2 generations, but heptachlor contamination will be around for centuries.

Better yet, why not grow alot of different food crops? Why is Hawaii still nurturing the mono-cash-crop plantation paradigm that keeps success and failure in the hands and whims of a few, offshore, high-risk moguls? Will they save us from starvation? Ask the Food Bank.

But seed companies say and some scientists believe the benefits outweigh the risks of damage to the fragile ecosystem.”

Without any independent scientific review how can they make any honest claims of benefits?  By refusing  independent, longterm studies or public information about their projects, biotech corporatoins control the public perception of benefits, while having no factual basis in making such claims.

Isn’t it time we got something good to eat, and isn’t it time we returned the farmscape back to the care of the local people, local culture, local foods? It is a myth that we don’t have enough land. It is a myth that we can’t grow food to feed the local population. The problem is that the land that we have is becoming Iowa and plants they are growing could kill us…..

Read: “Genetically Modified Hawaii: New varieties of genetically engineered crops thrive in the world’s most isolated landmass” by  Robynne Boyd.

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