Let’s ride ‘No GMO’ all the way to tropical paradise - The Packer

Let’s ride ‘No GMO’ all the way to tropical paradise

07/18/2014 09:48:00 AM
Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson, Assistant Copy ChiefChuck Robinson, Assistant Copy ChiefPack the bags — we’re headed to Hawaii!

A new Facebook friend has planted a seed in my mind for a way to pay for it.

He posted a picture of some lovely young women holding signs that read “No GMO” and “Ban GMO” and chastising Dow, Syngenta and Monsanto for suing Kauai County in Hawaii, which voted in November to bag GMOs, except for papayas. The law goes into effect in August.

“Shame on you for suing Kauai County for the right to spray poisons next to our homes, schools and hospitals,” the sign read.

The women parade under the name “Babes Against Biotech.”

My friend, Chuck Lasker, mocks them for showing up late to a rally but parading their signs anyway, missing a crowd of thousands of other anti-GMO activists by an hour or two. No refunds on the donations to their cause, which surely raised enough for the women to treat themselves to a night on the town.

I can think of only a few things stopping me from starting my own activist organization to fund a trip to Hawaii for me to hold an anti-GMO sign for a couple of hours.

I am not a “babe” by anyone’s terminology. Also, I am not against biotech. Still, I think we can work this to our advantage. I will hold that sign. I want to see the beaches too.

Controversy about GMO crops seems to have charged debate in many political arenas in Hawaii, which has become an epicenter of GMO angst. It seems born of Hawaii’s role for many decades in corn crop development.

The climate allows seed companies to cram three or four seasons of seed production and testing into a year, which speeds up research. The best performers are sent elsewhere for more growing trials.

As more GMO crops need to be tested, they get a turn in Hawaii’s crop development system.

In an article posted in March at Reason.com, a Hawaiian food author and historian suggests the anti-GMO debate in Hawaii follows the sociological fault lines between people who have lived in the islands for generations and those who are newcomers from the mainland.

“For the locals, the islands have always been a place of high-tech agriculture,” Rachel Landan, author of “The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage” and “Cuisine and Empire,” said in the article.


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Lorie Farrell    
Hawaii, Home of Hawaii Papaya  |  July, 18, 2014 at 01:39 PM

I'm pretty sure we can get you a taste of Hawaii Papaya but it is best if you travel to Big Island for its full flavor and affects. ;-) Nice article, fun read. Although many of our papaya growers actually lease their land only a portion own fee simple land.

Kevin Folta    
Gainesville, FL  |  July, 19, 2014 at 02:49 AM

I participated in forums in Kauai and even spoke with the council people about the science. They voted against science anyway. Ugh. The most hilarious part is the hypocrisy. They'll tell you that GMO is dangerous and untested, that it causes autism, arthritis, alzheimers, cancer, parkinsons, morgellons, obesity, diabetes and everything else. They'll tell you that it does not work and that farmers are forced to use it. Terrible technology! ... except for papayas. There it's fine. If it is so evil, ban all of it. Dare ya.

Joni Kamiya    
July, 19, 2014 at 04:06 AM

It's funny that you should mention the Babes Against Biotech because they initially said that they had no bad feelings towards the papaya farmers. Suddenly their flipped and are attacking everyone now. Now they scream that they want a label.

Aaron hemming    
July, 19, 2014 at 08:13 AM

I don't eat Hawaiian papaya anymore. I trust Gods engineering, not the greedy laboratory engineering!

Eric Weinert    
Keaau  |  July, 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

We are proud of our Rainbow Papaya. It is the worlds best tasting papaya. It is always in top five most nutritious fruits. In the fifteen years we've been selling GMO papaya there has not been a single health complaint. We will soon be harvesting small volumes of non-GMO papaya to offer consumers choice. But to do that we must surround those fields with a buffer border of GMO papaya to protect the non-GMO trees from the virus. We continue to test and monitor for cross pollination and to date we have found none. That is because commercial orchards are hermaphroditic, meaning the flower has both male and female parts and is therefore self pollinating in most instances. The reason anyone can grow an organic non-GMO papaya in their back yard is because the GMO is so widely planted it has greatly reduced the virus pressure on Hawaii Island.

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