Guest Column — A GMO Ban Post Script

By Richard Ha

Someone suggested that my change of plansre: putting 264 acres into preservation land smells of sour grapes – that I made a knee-jerk decision because I was upset that the anti-GMO Bill 113 passed.

But that’s not the way I make decisions. I am always looking five, 10 and 20 years ahead and planning what we need to do now to get where we need to be. Suddenly the future of farming on this island looked different, and I needed to be sure we have some flexibility at the farm.

Since I last wrote about this, though, I spoke with the USDA and found an option I didn’t previously know about. We can do a conservation easement that is less than the entire parcel. This will allow us to have a few small parcels that future generations could use for safety valve purposes, and still put land into the conservation easement. We will probably do this.

On Tuesday, the Hawai‘i County Council will decide whether to form an ad hoc committee of council members to analyze GMO issues and give the council recommendations for action. Otherwise, the mayor will do the analysis in-house.

It is no secret that I would have preferred for Mayor Kenoi to veto the anti-GMO Bill 113. But the reality is that the mayor did not have the votes to support a veto, and in this set of circumstances, I support the mayor over the council. He signed the bill, rather than wimping out and letting it pass without his signature. He was concerned about the rift in this community, and he assured the farmers that they would not get hurt.

And most of all, I know the Mayor is fact- and data-driven, something that is sorely missing from our current county council.

What I know about the county council is that its members have proven that they cannot separate fact from fiction, and therefore they are unqualified and unable to prepare us for the future.

In the recent Bill 113 debacle, our county council called Jeffrey Smith as its premier expert. This is an individual who has self-published two books about GMO foods but has zero scientific credentials and has been thoroughly debunked as any sort of credible GMO expert. He specializes in yogic flying (a kind of cross-legged hopping done in hopes of reducing crime and increasing “purity and harmony” in the “collective consciousness”). They allowed Smith to testify about GMOs for more than half an hour.

Three University of Hawai‘i experts on GMOs, on the other hand, were given a total of three minutes, between them, to testify. This averages out to one minute each.

If we are taking science into account, theSeralini study – which linked genetically modified maize and the herbicide RoundUp as having an increased cancer risk, and which was always widely pointed to as proving GMO foods were unsafe – was recently retracted by the scientific journal that published it, and rejected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for having serious defects and failing to meet scientific standards.

County Councilwoman Margaret Wille made a very inflammatory remark in a comment following a Honolulu Civil Beat article written by University of Hawai‘i professor Michael Shintaku. In her comment, she accused Professor Shintaku, as well as Dr. Susan Miyasaka and Dean Maria Gallo (also of the UH College of Tropical Agriculture), of being “unmistakeably caught in the predicament of becoming the mouthpiece for the GMO biotech industry that provides much of the funding for their employer.”

Michael Shintaku responded with a polite comment that detailed how she was incorrect. Many scientists voiced outrage at the inaccurate and flippant comment that impugned their integrity.

It seems, unfortunately, to be par for the course for some who are anti-science and anti-GMO. Have they made up their mind without regard to truth? Have they dug in their heels, refusing to ever even consider new evidence?

I haven’t. If suddenly there was real science that showed harm from GMOs, I would cross that off my list and move on to the next best solution that would help our island. To date, though, there has never been any such science, not anywhere.

Our county council clearly does not understand farming. Councilwoman Wille likes to show how many letters she has in favor of banning GMOs, but the smaller stack from people opposing the ban was from the farmers who produce more than 90 percent of the calories grown here on the Big Island.

Why is she listening to the gardeners and not the farmers? There is such a difference between gardening and farming. I compare it to cooking turkeys. Cooking one turkey is easy – you just turn the dial for the right time and temperature, and then poof! It’s perfect. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Cooking one turkey is similar to gardening.

Farming, on the other hand, is like cooking 20 turkeys an hour every hour. They cannot be burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. And they must be ready on time or your customers lose money. And every so often the power goes off or the house blows down and you have to start all over again. Farming is much more complicated than gardening.

Some anti-GMO people proclaim that we should all just eat organic. But have a look at Table 2 on page 19 of this Baseline Food Sustainability chart from the county.

Based on that table, we compared prices between a Kona supermarket and a Kona natural food store. The annual budget for a family of five at the Kona supermarket was approximately $20,000, while at the natural foods store it was slightly more than $42,000.

We did a similar comparison in Waimea, and the results were substantially the same. It is clear that most folks cannot afford organics.

Senator Ruderman, who owns a natural foods chain, claimed our price comparisons are wildly inaccurate, but they are not.

A few days ago, we learned that the Florida citrus industry, which has lost more than a million acres to citrus greening disease, may have found a GMO solution.

Although anti-GMO folks like to say they are on the side of farmers, if citrus greening disease makes it to the Big Island and we are not legally allowed to use the Florida GMO solution, it is only homeowners and small farmers who will be hurt.

Read this link for a sample of what some of the people who testified on the anti-GMO/County Council side of the argument were doing in the background. It is mean-spirited and it’s not who we in Hawai‘i are. There is no aloha in this

(Richard Ha is a farmer on the Hamakua Coast.)

40 replies
  1. Jen
    Jen says:

    Richard, if anyone is guilty of “promoting fear” as us “antis” are so often accused of doing it would be you. POOR farmers around the world are producing RECORD YIELD CROPS using organic methods You also continue to promote industry talking points the us “antis” are “anti-science.” Well, Richard, what about the science of climate change? If you are looking five, 10 and 20 years ahead according to science, our activities as humans are directly causing much of this climate change. Do you know what one of the top contributors to climate change is? INDUSTRIAL FARMING. How are all these farmer saving GMO seeds that you want going to be produced? Would we dedicate thousands of acres to their cultivation here on island? Or would they need to be IMPORTED? If imported, how does that help us with our food security when we need to ship them here using fossil fuels? If we grow them on island, how many pounds of pesticides and herbicides will need to be sprayed to make these seeds (like on Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai?)

    Also, Richard, you continue to use this 90% figure yet the data behind this has never been published for the public to see. As far as my own investigation goes, Big Island cattle ranchers, Big Island Dairy, your farm, and the papaya farmers were the only ones vocally opposed to the bill. Where does all the thousands of pounds of food found at our farmers markets every week come from? What about our Big Island beekeepers? Do those farmers oppose the bill? From my viewpoint as a Puna resident and small farmer who sells direct to consumer, you are seriously undermining our vote in the matter…the very “rubba slippa folks” who you claim to represent. Selling at the farmers markets represents a significant source of income for many of our small “gardeners” as you call them.

    Have you read the new report on “transgene escape”? “Most importantly, measures should be put in place immediately to stop any further uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants into the environment as far as possible. Comprehensive regulation should be established to strengthen the precautionary principle and the release of genetically engineered organisms should not be allowed if they cannot be retrieved from the environment.”

    What about China’s fifth rejection of US corn because of contamination?

    What about Russia recommending a 10 year ban on all GMO crops?

    Why is the FDA now banning trans fats after years of “science” that proved it was safe?

    You mention the retraction of the Seralini study, but did you realize that the retraction violated guidelines for retraction under the Committee on Publication Ethics? And that the retraction happened after the journal’s appointment of Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist and an affiliate of the GMO industry-funded group, the International Life Sciences Institute, to the specially created post of associate editor for biotechnology at the journal, early this year?

    Perhaps instead of continuing to complain, you could help us as an island encourage farming so you don’t feel as though you hold the burden of feeding us all.

  2. punated
    punated says:

    Prohibition. Most people associate it with liquor but it is a general term for a law to prohibit ingestion of a product or plant, like cannabis.

    This anti-GMO ban is prohibition against GMO. The punchline to this joke is what it DOESN’T ban. It doesn’t ban all the existing GMO products in the center of the grocery store and it doesn’t ban importing GMO fruits and vegetables, like Dole that might have a partnership with Monsanto.

    Also, the only enforcement punishment is for small local farmers that attempt or get caught growing GMO fruits and vegetables, since this is the only group the local government has any real power over. The profit margin for farming has ancient historical evidence to prove it is not often beyond basic survival. In recent history, the private farmer on the mainland is almost nonexistent, and it was because they failed economically before being taken up by corporate farming. Corporate farming was not some big conspiracy, it is due to failure of the small farm as a working economic model for a post-agrarian society.

    All this ban is going to do is make small local farmers eventually sell out to large corporate farms and this island will find itself being more and more controlled by mainland corporations. Kind of a wonder how so many people against more government and more corporate control turn right around and support the creation of more government and developing conditions for more corporate control.

  3. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    richard you pick and choose your’facts and data’ just like about everyone-on both sides!It is a fact on the face of it that gmo papayas have wasted the aina in the lands of Kapoho…..see with your own 2 eyes…..and for further proof that ‘conventional’ and gmo cultivation is harmful….check on the hilo side of hwy 132 nr. Kapoho,where the orchid and cut flower farm existed for over 30 years…..hey nothing will grow there now! so many ag CHEMICALS over the years….modern farmers are often addicted to these poisons….this issue has basically been ignored….that is changing and is among the main reasons gmo crap is now outlawed here…truly it is time for a change…..a FRICKING SEA CHANGE….

  4. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    Ha… Hamakua Springs right? yea pass those on the shelf just like the Mexican ones and opt for the MORE EXPENSIVE, NUTRIENT RICH, ORGANIC, TASTY tomato grown by some hippy kids with love, as opposed to your manufactured tasteless cardboard McD tomato. IF, I have none growing.
    Heck Jungle Love sells them. Volunteers grow everywhere,lol.
    Ha it’s Simple. TASTE, NUTRITION and DRUG FREE!

    Like what did the people do for thousands of years here do, without GMO? starve? Kinda hard to do with so much abundance. I have fruit rotting on the ground most years.
    I can’t eat it all, I’m not into marketing for profit.
    I give as much away as I can. You don’t come to my place and leave empty car. I trade it away. Tin Shack gave me loafs of bread and cookies for lilikoi. I’d do that all day long. Got choke lilikoi.
    Haven’t bought a banana in a decade and a half. Or a lemon. And with 50 Mango trees, the dirt under them I can grow anything I want.
    You must be solely catering to the poor and old on fixed incomes and ebt’s, living in apartments, therefore taking advantage of them by price, not providing nutrient rich substances. Shelf life is not what grown food is about.
    It’s about WITHOUT chemicals, from garden to table in the least amount of time to get the LIVE enzymes. (Science)
    Not GMO science of profits, at the expense of consumer’s health.
    YES you want to pay 40k for GOOD HEALTHY NUTRITIONAL FOOD? for your family (that way too high I do it one person on less than 3k so more like 12k for x’s4. Or your 20k and fake GMO corn crap that will cost you all your accumulated wealth of your lifetime in TREATING cancer? Pay now or Pay later. Your people in your guesstimate must be eating steak every night at your prices. Rosalani Haupia for dessert too. Every night.

    Now one on this island over a hundred years old eats crap. You want a long HEALTHY life, you eat HEALTHY.
    You are what you eat.
    And you, Ha, probably glow in the dark.
    Why is it you never talk about nutrition or taste?

  5. Obie
    Obie says:

    Hey Jen,What about the rest of the story ?

    “The U.S. is the world’s largest corn exporter and China is its No. 3 customer. The Asian nation is expected to buy a record 7 million tons of corn in the 2013-14 marketing year.
    Experts described the recent rejection of U.S. corn as probably an isolated incident and said China would continue with its buying binge.”,0,3620490.story#axzz2nmPcjtUF

    And in response to your claim of Russia recommending a ban on all GMO crops.

    “Russia wil be allowed to cultivate genetically modified crops – according to government decree number 839 dated September 23, said Russian Agroholdings head of market researches of Bunge Company Oleg Sukhanov.”

  6. tia
    tia says:

    Wrong Punated! This is prohibition of further destruction and poisoning of the land, oceans, and air. If you and Richard Ha like eat GMO, go right ahead.

  7. Buddah Belly
    Buddah Belly says:

    Thank the Mayor, he knows what the voters want and what they don’t want. They don’t want tumors, and they don’t want more RoundUp (aka Agent Orange).

    Punated is wrong, this will be a boon to small farmers and an incentive to switch to natural farming method or organic.

    People are finally waking up and don’t want to eat krap anymore.

  8. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    To Jen
    This “World Record” is a fish story at best….and a fake according to others…you might have researched it before referencing it here.

    Here’s a commentator with a more nuanced view, a skeptical idealist if you will. A very balanced view…’s-move-beyond-it&lang=en

    Ultimately it comes down to this;
    “…SRI is claimed to have set new national records in rice yields, within the last 10 years, in many countries. The claimed Chinese and Indian yields have yet to be demonstrated on seven-hectare lots and to be reproducible over two consecutive years on the same farm.[84][85][86][87]”

    Real data, like real science, is dependent on objective empirical observation of a process with results that can be duplicated due to full release of the parameters, techniques, and methodologies of the reporter/researcher.
    BTW, the Bihar farmers in question stated they used the most recent Bayer hybrid seeds (not “saveable” or able to be replanted by the farmer) synthetic and organic fertilizers, lots of energy (double plowed with tractors) overhead irrigation (high horsepower pumps), and, wait for it, 2-4 D herbicides. Sounds like they were pretty competitive, maybe enough to exaggerate their results???

    I’ll skip to your “defense” of Seralini’s discredted report. It should be noted that the article you rely on was based on a report from the ENSSER organization which was started solely to oppose “GMO’s”. It is composed primarily of social science academics, though Seralini and his company are members, and lacks standing in terms of credible scientific organizations.

    If Sealini and his ilk wish to oppose transgenic breeding with junk science they should remember Einsteins response to opposition to his Theory of Relativity;
    ““One Hundred Authors Against Einstein was (a short book) published in 1931 [which said the Theory of Relativity is wrong]. When asked to comment on this denunciation of relativity by so many scientists, Einstein replied that to defeat relativity one did not need the word of 100 scientists, just one fact.”
    That fact (negating Einsteins Theory) was not available in the 100 scientists book and there are no facts opposing transgenicly bred commercial crops that are available from any credible, repeatable, falsifiable, testable study released to date.

    Please, no articles from GMWatch, their bias is consistent and obvious. Expand your search fields,e.g. Google “Transgenic” instead of “GMO”. Then fill in “plants”, “crops”, etc. Start with Wikipedia, go from there. If you end up where you began you either didn’t try hard or you had a closed mind.

  9. hugh clark
    hugh clark says:

    Pls identify these alleged tumors that Mayor Bllly allegedly is avoiding (and he did not say that in his msg).

    As commentator Ricky Roy has artfully stated in past, much of this is true heifer dust.

    I have known Richard Ha for two decades at least. He is a family farmer not a corporate giant. He is the most forward thinking and acting man in agriculture. He investigates, plans and executes well. He worries abbot employee safety. He innovates and invests time and resources into his endeavors.

    And I admire him for devoting time to this endless debate instead of ignoring fools and wanna-be experts.

  10. tia
    tia says:

    On November 16, 2013, Bill 2491 became law! It is now known as Ordinance 960, and is officially part of the Kauai County Code.

    The movement to protect people and land from the impacts of the agrochemical industry is continuing to win and gain momentum:

    Just one week after Kauai’s pesticide disclosure bill became law, the Big Island passed their Bill 113, which will stop the chemical industry from moving in. Last week Maui’s County Council introduced legislation very similar to Bill 2491.

    And this weekend, in rain and lightning, over 1000 people marched in Haleiwa to raise awareness and demand accountability from law-makers. Imua!

  11. tia
    tia says:

    It matters not what science reveals although biased science has a history of coming from those who profit. This is why the AMA, FDA, EPA, USDA ‘buys’ scientists and ‘donates’ to university researches. Would you rather eat 1 lb. of clean, organic rice, or 100 lbs. of tainted GMO, chemical laden rice?

    Follow the $. Their trail always lead to the crooks. Always!

    Can’t sell us his GMO biofuel for the military, can’t sell us geothermal fracking, trying to sell off Mauna Kea unsuccessfully, so he’s going to sell off his land to developers to make a buck. If he’s so worried about the rubbah slippah folks, give them each .5 acre of his land so they can farm organically and feed their families and the community. He will sleep better at night. Get rich quick schemes are very draining on the soul.

  12. Jen
    Jen says:


    Thanks for the articles. I had to stop reading the article after I read “The Guardian article suggests that Mr. Kumar and other farmers achieved something beyond what can be achieved by scientists and GMO companies, and that they used only farmyard manure and no herbicides.”
    That statement clearly shows both bias and ignorance. I can personally attest to major crop yields on my pepper plants after applying composted donkey manure. Chemi fert works great too, but only for a while and then the soil needs to be amended.
    I understand a site called GMwatch could potentially release biased articles, but the article I referenced has factual information. The retraction of the Seralini study violated the standards set forth for journal retraction. Also, if Monsanto’s own studies were held to the same standards, they would likely be retracted as well. It’s no secret that businesses like Monsanto will go to great lengths to silence any perceived criticism of their products. There’s too much money at stake! And, having worked directly for billionaires and millionaires, I sure do know how addicted to their money they are!
    All that aside, I am not inherently opposed to biotechnology. However, when we are tinkering with DNA before we even fully understand it: ….well then I just don’t trust all these “scientists” who claim otherwise.

  13. Obie
    Obie says:

    “Hey, all you natural food fans. You die-hard anti-Monsanto opponents of genetically modified food, who say it’s dangerous because, well, it’s unnatural. You may want to think twice before you take your next bite of that juicy red grapefruit. Or that banana. Or, for that matter, your rice, wheat, barley, oats, pears, peas, peanuts, lettuce, alfalfa, tomatoes, sunflowers, sesame, cocoa or cassava. You know, all that good healthy natural food. Because if you think genetically modified food is unnatural, you are really chowing down on Frankenfood if you’re eating many of the most common varieties of those fruits and veggies. More than 2,700 species of foods that the most devout locavore organics-only fanatic would be okay with, have been created by blasting their seeds with super high doses of radiation. Mutation-causing, cancer-causing atomic OH MY GOD Fukushima-style nuclear radiation.”

  14. Jen
    Jen says:

    Obie, just because China will still import our corn doesn’t negate the fact that our farmers are being hurt by transgene contamination.

  15. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    So called punated and so called hawaiino are past masters of the specious arguement….and not quite mendacious,but close….

  16. Doc
    Doc says:

    The truth is right here. Hawai’i families are being gravely harmed right now. I predict the judge will rule in favor of the Kaua’i ohana in a few short months.
    Not a shred of doubt, Mayor Kenoi did the right thing in keeping these big companies out.

  17. punated
    punated says:

    This new bureaucratic law does nothing to prevent GMO products from this island. There are already thousands of GMO products on all the shelves of all the grocery stores. In fact, it would probably be very easy to go into the highway robbery center of Island Naturals and start picking out one GMO product after another. As Obie has pointed out, even “organic” farmers are growing GMO crops because many of those were modified over 20 years ago. That is another bizarre trait of this movement, the zealots behind it think it is something new and it has been around for decades.

    When it comes to food, stop and think (I know this is hard for punatic paranoids). What is the first thing that happens? You put it in your mouth. Your mouth is filled with bacteria and enzymes that immediately start breaking down the food. DNA is very fragile. It is a very long, complex molecule that is easily broken apart. Tjem, your teeth cut, slice, and grind that food until it is a mushy paste of saliva and biomass. Now, you swallow it. It drops down into a batch of sulfuric acid, where there are more bacteria that breaks the food apart even more. This is still not digested. From there, it travels into the intestines where there is a veritable colony of gut flora that breaks apart the food molecules even more, so that it’s components can be absorbed through the intestinal walls to the blood stream. Most of the food DNA is totally destroyed at this point. The mechanism for transgenic transfer is not there.

    The real irony of life is that we consider ourselves the masters of this planet but in reality, our bodies depend on a parasitic symbiotic relationship with our gut bacteria. In fact, recent studies indicate about 10% of our weight is gut bacteria. It does appear this gut bacteria is evolving at its own pace. Most parasites don’t kill the host until they reproduce, but they can sometimes mutate to make their own environment more hospitable to them while making the host sick or deathly ill.

    The center of the grocery store is filled with GMO products but beyond the GMO ingredients, are made mostly out of fat, sugar, and sodium. Along with all the antibiotics used in the meat, these combine to present a far greater health hazard than GMO vegetables and fruit. But using a telescope backwards as a microscope is how the Punatic Paranoids operate, so that is the focus.

    tia, blah, blah, blah. What a laugh from the person that posts huge wall of text rambling links. Hypocrite.

  18. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    the few who are crying are pissin in the wind, it’s a done deal. Now deal with that like you would if you REALLY CARED about what you say you produce to feed families. Switch to organic and THRIVE!
    Oh you can’t on your land for 8 years now that you polluted it. 🙁
    Condos and a golf course? Profit is what you’re after.

  19. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    Greg Owen (no snide comment to be inserted here)

    “So called punated and so called hawaiino are past masters of the specious arguement….and not quite mendacious,but close….”

    You call me a liar (specious) , twice (mendacious) ! I’ll skip the “not quite” that precedes the 2nd accusation, I suspect you didn’t really mean it.
    Way to use Roget’s…but do you really know what you’re saying? I doubt it. Now….

    Prove* it.

    *a Proof: in this context would be a written account of a complete thought process that establishes a falsehood attributable to me by providing a body of evidence that contradicts an (any) assertion I have made.

    Otherwise, stick to your opinions and I’ll stick to my facts.

  20. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:


    Mahalo for trying….you write,

    “I had to stop reading the article after I read “The Guardian article suggests that Mr. Kumar and other farmers achieved something beyond what can be achieved by scientists and GMO companies, and that they used only farmyard manure and no herbicides.”

    Uhh, the author of the ‘’ article, Dr.Dobermman, was referring to an article in The Guardian, which both romanticized and sensationalized the Bihar farmers and was factually inaccurate. They did not grow their rice organically. Never mind the stylistic issues, he was pointing out a factual anomaly, the Guardian reporter either didn’t fully research the story or was guilty of misrepresentation.
    You can have a high yielding pepper plant in your garden, fueled by donkey manure, and The Guardian author can be incorrect, the two issues are not exclusive.

    As far as your experience with wealthy individuals, your suspicions of Monsantos motives, and your concern that we are tinkering with technologies we don’t yet understand, well…..That’s why it’s important to keep reading; plowing thru your filters, weeding out your biases, and harvesting the fruits of a vetted, verifiable,knowledge base.

    No one is born educated, no one needs to remain uninformed.

  21. tia
    tia says:

    Pun-ate-it, Do you know the difference between GMO and hybridization? BTW, Those rambling links are congressional records and supreme court case laws. Perhaps I could send my 7 y.o. grandson over to read them to you since you seem incapable. Frankenfoods, pesticides, vaccines, flouridated water have taken their toll, obviously.

  22. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    One writer thinks irradiated seeds present a concern on the same level as GMO foods, while ridiculing people who choose natural or organic. This shows a shockingly complete lack of understanding of the issues relating to GMOs.

  23. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    … and Punated says “even “organic” farmers are growing GMO crops because many of those were modified over 20 years ago”. This is pure B.S., without even a shred of truthiness. Once again, these pseudonyms are showing a fundamental misunderstanding about what GMOs are, when they began, and what crops are GMO. Even pro-GMO biotec mouthpieces know better than to say such nonsense, because it makes every other thing you say unbelievable. So I thank Punated, Hawaiino and others for clearly exposing the extreme ignorance of GMO apologists.

  24. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    So called hawaiino i never used rogets….i thought specious meant’sounds good but really bull shirt? isnt that what it says in Websters?…also yes mendacious means lying such as bill clinton for instance…..but the way you cherry pick and choose your so ccalled facts and data…lends itself to this kine assesment….i gotta admit it irks me to no end that talking heads like you choose to hide out under a fake name…my opinions hopefully derived from facts and a basic value system are worthwhile….with a name like hawaiiino ….are you really from here?also i encourage anyone that loves the truth and respects empirical evidence’see with your own 2 eyes’….the damage done to the aina and the surrounding neighbors….tell me please….how can papayas of the gmo be wholesome when they spray THAT MUCH POISON…SEE THE WORKERS IN THEIR HAZMAT SUITS…and as far as i know hawaii lokoino you could be working for monsanto…just another huckster shill for the corporate predators…..

  25. Jen
    Jen says:

    Hawaiiano, you misunderstood. I had to stop reading the article after I read the part that said ““The Guardian article suggests that Mr. Kumar and other farmers achieved something beyond what can be achieved by scientists and GMO companies, and that they used only farmyard manure and no herbicides” BECAUSE the author is claiming record yields cannot be achieved without the use of GMOs. In fact, GMOs have never been proven to increase yields AND to suggest that record yields cannot be achieved through natural farming techniques is neither scientific nor true.

  26. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    You can dwell on a conceptualism and try to use it to negate the particular point, that is, The Guardians author was lying. But it is to no avail, the “world record” rice was NOT grown organically. Period. That IS the point of the sentence being quoted by you, not that there is a theoretical limit as to what yield limits are by particular farming practices.

    Greg Owen
    I notice no Proof was offered by you of any “lie” I had printed. Also, I noticed you didn’t apologize but instead you equivocated and excused yourself. I don’t excuse you. You called me a liar.

    You and I have not gained any traction in approaching each others perspective. Peace out!
    (And, for the last time, the suits the farmers use for protection are made of Tyvek and are not vapor or gas proof. But go ahead and continue with your fear mongering, I’m sure they kinda look like something you saw on TV)

    Russell Ruderman

    You make statements primarily criticizing another correspondent. Then you include me;
    “…these pseudonyms are showing a fundamental misunderstanding about what GMOs are, when they began, and what crops are GMO. ….”
    “…Hawaiino and others for clearly exposing the extreme ignorance of GMO apologists.”

    Ignorance….really? Back it up! Print it out. Where did I ever write anything that was not founded on knowledge or information. Cut and paste an “opinion” I have published that is as superficial or inane as those that I (mostly) answer to.

    We may be on different sides of this discussion but that’s no reason to cheap shot me. And that’s what it is if you can’t cite chapter and verse of my “ignorance” or being an “apologist ”

    I do know the difference between “GMO’s” , hybridizing, transgenic techniques and genetic engineering. I’ll argue Councilwoman Wylie does not, or at least the bill she drafted shows a lack of understanding between these technologies. That is part of what this ongoing discussion is about, a badly written bill that should have been vetted thoroughly instead of being pushed through.

  27. greg
    greg says:

    Hawaiiano says: “(And, for the last time, the suits the farmers use for protection are made of Tyvek and are not vapor or gas proof. But go ahead and continue with your fear mongering, I’m sure they kinda look like something you saw on TV)”
    DuPont says:

    DuPont™ Tyvek® coveralls

    Provide light-weight inherent barrier protection against HAZARDOUS dry particles and aerosols.


    I ask:

    So do they wear the Tyvek spray suits (and NIOSH approved respirators) to protect themselves from harmful chemicals, or for style and comfort?

  28. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    Funny there are ONLY 4 people who comment on the BIC, who are pro GMO, in all of these GMO threads. And how many critical thinkers who say, LOL YOU eat that crap, it’ll keep you thinking the way you do, until you get Alzheimer’s. If you live that long. LOL

  29. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    First, welcome back Tiffany, I’m glad you made good use of your “downtime”. Makahiki Hou!

    They wear the protective gear for “protection”. As do nurses and doctors in an operating theatre( to protect both themselves and the patient), an auto body shop worker in a paint booth, a woodworker in a high dust workplace, a housewife cleaning her oven. Hey, salt is toxic…if you are working in a salt mine, gear up!

    I’ve donned Tyvek suits countless times, way more comfortable than rubber raincoats. So, I guess “style and comfort” or at least “comfort” enters into it.

    No one is saying AG chemicals, including Roundup, don’t require prudent safeguards. What is being posited by myself and others is that the risks are reasonable (calculable and manageable) for the anticipated rewards. Always remember, growing food is an economic process…I’m not seeing any freebies when I shop at KTA, or when I go into Abundant Life or Hilo Nat.

    Hers my beef with the inflammatory language, from Wikipedia;
    “Hazmat Suit (hazardous materials suit) is a piece of personal protective equipment that consists of an impermeable whole-body garment worn as protection against hazardous materials. Such suits are often combined with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to ensure a supply of breathable air. Hazmat suits are mostly used by firefighters, researchers, personnel responding to toxic spills, specialists cleaning up contaminated facilities and workers in toxic environments…
    Hazmat suits have long been used as an important device found in fiction, especially science fiction, to dramatize the deadliness of lethal environments. Common dramatic situations usually involve a suit failure leading to rapid death in films such as The Andromeda Strain or Outbreak. Plot resolutions usually make the removal of a suit a pivotal moment, signifying the end of the threat.
    The anonymity provided by hazmat suits has often been used to accentuate sinister motives, such as the scientists in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”

    So, there is nothing “sinister” about some manongs* walking up a row of papayas wearing Tyvek. They’re following the law, safe practice standards, and common sense. if they were meeting “organic standards” spraying sulphur or copper or pyrethrums they should be wearing the same gear.

    *Manong (Mah-noh-ng) is a Ilokano term principally given to the first-born male in a Filipino nuclear family. However, it can also be used to title an older brother, older male cousin, or older male relative in an extended family. The feminine “manang” is a term given to an older sister. It is a term of respect, similar but secondary to Dad or Mom, but not comparable to Mister or Ma’am, which expresses no elevated affection

  30. tia
    tia says:

    “growing food is an economic process” WRONG!!! Growing food is for sustenance, NOT profits. This is exactly why greed heads will never, ever get it. The organic foods from our farms costs very little fiat paper dollars. It’s more time consuming, but it’s a labor of love because we know clean food nourishes the bodies and minds of our kekeis, not the pocket books of the corporate greed heads.

  31. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    Re: “economic process”, hese are the facts, from Wikipedia ;

    “As of 2011, the International Labour Organization states that approximately one billion people, or over 1/3 of the available work force, are employed in the global agricultural sector. Agriculture constitutes approximately 70 percent of the global employment of children, and in many countries employs the largest percentage of women of any industry.[57] The service sector only overtook the agricultural sector as the largest global employer in 2007. Between 1997 and 2007, the percentage of people employed in agriculture fell by over four percentage points, a trend that is expected to continue.[58] The number of people employed in agriculture varies widely on a per-country basis, ranging from less than 2 percent in countries like the US and Canada to over 80 percent in many African nations.[59] In developed countries, these figures are significantly lower than in previous centuries. During the 16th century in Europe, for example, between 55 and 75 percent of the population was engaged in agriculture, depending on the country. By the 19th century in Europe, this had dropped to between 35 and 65 percent.[60] In the same countries today, the figure is less than 10 percent.[59]”

    You can choose to use your time to grow crops for yourself and whomever you choose but the world around you has spoken. A few grow crops….the vast majority work elsewise and buy their production. That’s the way it is.

    BTW, I believe very few farmers are “corporate greed heads”, there are easier and less risky ways to make a buck. That statement says more about you than it does about any of the farmers I know.

  32. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    Neigborwatch, from Wikipedia;

    “Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, partially true, or false. Critical thinking is a process that leads to skills that can be learned, mastered and used. Critical thinking is a tool by which one can come about reasoned conclusions based on a reasoned process. This process incorporates passion and creativity, but guides it with discipline, practicality and common sense…. ”

    You write, identifying yourself and other anti-GMO proponents as “critical thinkers”

    “Funny there are ONLY 4 people who comment on the BIC, who are pro GMO, in all of these GMO threads. And how many critical thinkers who say, LOL YOU eat that crap, it’ll keep you thinking the way you do, until you get Alzheimer’s. If you live that long. LOL”

    As an expression of “critical thinking” one does have to wonder about whether what you write has any merit in this area, at all.

  33. tia
    tia says:

    Wikipedia is not a source for truth. Same goes for NYT, Fox, CNN, and the likes. There’s a simple meter: who does it profit? who does it harm. No need to look without for truth.

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