Letters — Mahalo For GMO Ban

Dear editor,

How many stars can you name…how many phases of the moon? Is the tide rising or falling? Name the birds, insects, and plants that live near your home and the food crops that would grow there.

What have we lost? Where are our connections to the land, water, and sky…that show us how to breed plants adapted to local conditions, rotate crops, reduce pests and disease by planting a variety of crops, use plants that repel pests, compost…

We’ve lost our connections partly because of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs promise quick fixes and big profits…but slowly destroy connections and the foundations of life.

Troubling studies show GMOs impact the health of humans, animals, and even vital organisms in the soil. GMO pollen drift can contaminate neighbors’ crops and shut down organic, sustainable farming. GMOs can spread till they are unstoppable…like albezias, mongooses, and coqui frogs. Seed-sharing builds connections…but if you share GMO seeds, you can be sued by multi-million dollar corporations.

If banning GMOs is a mistake, it’s easy to undo. But if allowing GMOs is a mistake, that may be impossible to undo.

Many mahalos to Mayor Kenoi and our County Council for making the difficult but wise decision to ban further GMOs on Hawai’i Island.

Cory Harden

20 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    Yes, life was a paradise before “science” messed everything up. Who doesn’t miss squatting under the open sky to take a dump, living our full life expectancy of 40 years in harmony with nature.

  2. tia
    tia says:

    The PEOPLE have spoken. Home rule rocks! Now, let’s start concentrating on growing organic, healthy foods for all. The land, the oceans, the air, the bees, are signing sounds of relief…can you hear them?

  3. Glendale1
    Glendale1 says:

    Mahalo to mayor Kenoi for being progressive and looking to the future of all the citizens of the big Island.

  4. hugh clark
    hugh clark says:

    I dissent fully.

    Remember how retired President W Boy denied cell therapy research, making the Swiss, English and Singapore science people delighted as cell therapy and potential cures for Americans were lost for decades.

    Dumb decisions cannot be undone as Mr. Harden suggests. The damage is done.

    As for the people having spoken, recall the comment in California candidate Dick Tuck uttered after he failed in his bid. Those words seem ever more relevant now.

  5. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    A local study demonstrates that it costs 125% more to purchase organic foods than foods that are not organic. Further studies are showing that the cost of growing the organics by farmers for those who are not backyard farmers is more than twice as much as other farming. Further, we find that – because they use animal manure for much of their fertilizer – the risk of known disease from e.coli etc. is far higher for organics.

    It is fine if that is the way an individual can afford to go and wants to go. The problem occurs when government forces everyone else down that path as the Council and Mayor have now done. Contraction in our farmers (none of whom would be considered more than mom and pop organizations) acreage and population has already begun because of Bill 113 – and this is just the start.

    May not be what the proponents thought or wished for with this Bill – but that is why the farmers and ranchers united against it. Our own hard working small farmers are now taking the hit – an increasing number abandoning their farm occupations and either moving away or getting other jobs. And this is just the current farmers – their children are moving away from jobs where the government tells them what they can and cannot grow and where – regardless of the lawfulness of their product.

    Lots of “unintended” consequences.

  6. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    @Hugh: while I disagree with you, I respect your right to dissent. But at least get your facts straight. Mr. Harden is a Ms.

  7. greg
    greg says:

    You are wrong, period. Studies show that people who spout percentages about studies on the internet are usually making them up- Abe Lincoln, 1861.

    I do my own comparisons while shopping; while organic products are no doubt more expensive; your 125% figure is ludicrous. It boils down to getting what you pay for.

    Spraying poison and adding antibiotics make growing less labor intensive, costing jobs. Adding preservatives increase shelf life; These add profits and none of the above are intended to improve the quality of food.

    You fantasize about diseases linked to organics, but don’t mention problems from ingesting pesticides. (Any produce, organic or poisoned, should be washed).

    Read or listen to the recent NPR report about antibiotics in our food and the bacteria resistant diseases proliferating as a result.


  8. tia
    tia says:

    We, the organic farmers of this island, feed our families and our neighborhoods clean, healthy foods that we are proud of. Our children and grandchildren are following our footsteps.

    E coli in organics is an outright lie. If you want to grow GMO, go elsewhere. These islands are not for you.

  9. punated
    punated says:

    “How many stars can you name…how many phases of the moon? Is the tide rising or falling?”

    WTH? Did this person even complete elementary school? There are about 10,000 stars visible to the naked eye and they all have names — multiple names. A very interesting sidenote is the pre-contact Hawaiians had names for the southern stars that the haole west hadn’t seen long enough to name. Phases of the moon? Of course, even a small child knows the phases of the moon, quarter, half, full, waxing and waning crescent, waxing and waning gibbious. The tide rising or falling? Ever heard of tide charts. Seriously, WTF way is that to start some sychophant rambling about brow-beating a weak-spined council and mayor to agree to something they know nothing about. All that has been really accomplished is to establish that lower bar of scientific ignorance that characterizes a large part of the Puna district. Mahalo for that.

  10. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:


    “E coli in organics is an outright lie”

    Well, NO, it isn’t a lie. It is a statistically significant fact. This is from the very first hit on the Search. “E coli organic”;

    A study by U of Minnesota , CIDRAP

    “Study yields mixed findings about microbes on organic produce”….

    “Ordinary E coli was found in 9.7% of organic produce samples, versus 1.6% of the conventional produce, a significant difference, according to the report. However, E coli prevalence in produce from certified organic farms was 4.3%, which was not significantly higher than the level in conventional produce. The E coli prevalence in produce from uncertified organic farms was 11.4%, significantly higher than in the certified organic produce. In addition, 59% of uncertified organic farms had at least one sample with E coli contamination, versus only 12% of certified organic farms.”

    You write;
    “We, the organic farmers of this island…”

    So, the questions need to be asked;
    Are the “we” that you refer to Certified Organic and would have fallen in the 4% range? Or, Uncertified and would have placed in the 11% group?

    Have you ever had any of your produce inspected or tested?

    These questions are driven by your “outright lie” statement and , of course, concern for food safety.

    BTW: Re E coli. When I grew produce for market our deliveries were checked by the State from time to time, randomly. I’ve also had to have my ag water well tested (it was clean)

  11. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:


    Your comment at first reading is inane. I have no clear idea how you construed what you wrote. At my charitable best I will presume you meant that by washing organically grown produce you could eliminate the risk of the higher incidence of E. coli that an organic production system represented. Is that correct?

    If so, are you somehow justifying the position of a manure using farmer who increases public health risks by placing the responsibility on an unknown consumer?

    Somehow I get the sense I shouldn’t bother.

  12. Rich Peterson
    Rich Peterson says:

    Greg: Where did Hawaiiano make any such suggestion concerning eating pesticides and not washing vegetables? Your comment strikes me as being completely dishonest and disingenuous.

  13. tia
    tia says:

    E. Coli exists everywhere. To insinuate contamination is higher or exclusive in organics is an outright lie. Most people who grow organic don’t certify (revenue for the FDA, USDA, ABC, corporate bureaucrats).

  14. greg
    greg says:

    You suggest that eating food sprayed with poison is safer than eating organic food. Take that “insane” finger, turn it around, and point it at yourself.

    Oh, and wash your veggies.

  15. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    In reply to tia

    I answered tia’s “outright lie” statement re: E. coli (post #11) She seemed to state that it is a nonissue, she now re emphasizes this opinion in her most recent post. She is wrong (again). It is an issue. It was raised by others and is not and wont be an argument raised by me against organic production techniques. All food production systems, from backyard gardens in Puna to Soviet era collective farms w/5 year plans engage in trade offs between inputs and outputs. I know that from experience.
    Remember, Erewhon is nowhere.

    I never brought up the comparative elements between the issue of E. coli and the issues of pesticide residues on produce. Your attempt to characterize my position is sophomoric….and the word I used in an earlier post(#16) describing your post (#15) was “inane”.
    I perhaps could have used “insane”, is that an inadvertant admission on your part?

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *