I haven’t mentioned this on the site as of yet, but it is important to do so. After much debate, the Mayor passed the legislation on behalf of the farmers, the Native Hawaiians, and the many concerned citizens of the state and beyond. It is hard to sum up the importance of this legislation for me personally, but I will try. I wrote two testimonies and delivered one in person. It was terrifying for me. I get stage fright, so delivering testimony was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I had to get it together and look beyond myself to see the power in numbers, and stand tall. On a practical level, it was also completely necessary for me to do because GMO squash would wipe me out. GMOs have the potential to wipe out many who are organic. You loose you Organic certification if your fruits/veg test positive for GMO. Believe it or not, some non organic farmers tried to say that that wasn’t a very big issue. Loosing your certification/foreign markets due to your neighbor’s actions would probably be a pretty big deal to most people.
For me personally, it allows me to continue to grow squash without cross pollination with GMO varieties. Squash is one of the most susceptible to cross contamination, and since bees travel many miles, it is almost impossible to control without close pinning shut each and every bloom (not possible on this scale that I am growing.) Different varieties of squash all cross with each other so that without a shutdown of GMO seeds, GMO squash would quickly cross contaminate the existing squash farms, and wipe out all local squash varieties, and we have no local seed bank to go to. It allows me to continue to offer pure strains of pumpkins that were in the hands of our ancestors. It allows me to know what I am growing, and to be proud of what I am doing with my life. It allows me to expand my farming efforts, and celebrate the uniqueness of our isolated island environment. It allows me to offer non-gmo squash and pumpkins from Hawaii all of which are grown in hand built soil using organic methods.
This is just what is on my mind right now. It is like the skies opening after the rain. It is possibilities for the future of farming, of reclaiming sustainable methods, and feeding our families right. It sets us apart from the rest of the state in the best possible way. The Big Island is now a leader. OK off the soapbox.
- Hawaii passes bill forbidding biotechnology companies, GMOs (naturalcuresnotmedicine.com)