Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Musings: Tables Turned

Something monumental happened on Molokai last week. The people didn't get played.

Ashley Lukens, director of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, brought her anti-GMO/anti-ag/anti-pesticide dog and pony show to Kaunakakai. And frankly, she got her ass whooped, metaphorically speaking.
Facing a crowd that included not her usual true believers, but folks who actually work in the seed fields, Lukens was peppered with questions she wouldn't answer and criticisms she couldn't deflect until she turned tail and ran.

“I'm gonna shut it down here because I don't see it going in a good direction,” she told a crowd that began calling out, “why won't you take all the questions?” and “why didn't you bring someone from the health department?” and “what kind of doctor are you?”

When Ashley replied she had a doctorate in political science, one man replied, “Yeah and you want to spin this politically, for your own agenda.”

Robert Stevenson, president of the Molokai Chamber of Commerce, asked Ashley, who was there pimping the biased CFS “Pesticides in Paradise” report, why she was using cherry-picked data “that promotes the entrepreneurial agenda of the conflict industry.”

Visibly shaken in the face of pushback far more polite than what her own movement regularly dishes out, Ashley folded and beat a quick retreat.

But from the safety of her Honolulu office, Ashley employed a twist-and-shout tactic favored by the anti-GMO movement. In a blog post and mass email, she turned it all around and upside down, portraying herself as the victim of corporate bullying, staring “Goliath in the face, in all his shifting forms.”

Uh, no, Ashley. Them's just regular folk. Locals. Many of them kanaka. And they were calling you on your shibai.

Like why you claimed that pesticide data was only available for Kauai, when Monsanto has been disclosing its pesticide use in Maui County since 2012. Like why you said that school kids were getting sick from agricultural pesticides, when the Department of Agriculture published a report showing not one school evacuation was caused by seed company pesticide exposure. And why you failed to include that report in the Molokai presentation when people had already called you on it on Kauai.

As I read her blog post, I was reminded of the mindset that gave birth to manifest destiny and the white man's burden. It's still alive and well, resurrected in Hawaii by Ashley Lukens and the Center for Food Safety. Because when she writes stuff like:

Although seemingly there to intimidate me and oppose our message, these 100+ people are the most at risk from the growing GE Seed industry in our state. Communicating the very real risks posed by this industry to the workers and their families, implicating their employers in these dangerous practices, is difficult... but necessary.

What she's really saying is:

They're too stupid to understand this for themselves. We know better than they how these crops are grown, what kind of exposure occurs, what dangers they face. They should listen to us, even if they don't want to. Because we know best.

Ashley then got into how 20 or so workers “leaned in, eyes wide, chin on hand” supposedly “absorbing” her message.

Uh, did you ever think they were incredulous that you, a city girl with zero background in ag, had the nerve to come to their island and lecture them about their livelihood?
Ashley Lukens
She goes on to say:

Many were elders who have seen what large agricultural companies can do to communities.

Oh, yeah, they know what ag can do to a community – and what happens to a community when it folds up and disappears. Mass unemployment. Welfare. Hungry kids. Looking for work on Maui. Depression.

Ashley continued, cluelessly:

I wondered, as I saw the executives shift uncomfortably in their seats, if they regretted inviting their workers. Did they realize that seeds were planted? That we will continue to water these seeds and that this is how transformation grows?

No, Ashley, you plant propaganda. They're the ones who plant seeds, and believe me, they know the difference.

Ironically, Ashley ended her blog post by saying: 

But standing up and speaking out is important.

This is rich, coming from the leader of a movement that has worked relentlessly to shut people down, using ridicule, cyber bullying, personal harassment and other ugly tactics to silence those who have opposing views. And it's doubly rich considering that Ashley refused to take any questions at all when she later spoke on Maui.

As I watched the video of the Molokai meeting, I thought back to January 2013, when Walter Ritte appeared on stage alongside Vandana Shiva. They were exhorting Kauai folks to give the seed companies the boot. "Why don't they start on Molokai, Walter's own island?" I wondered at the time.

Now I know. Folks there aren't so easily played.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

These people still remember the devastation caused by the Del Monte departure. pat

Manuahi said...

Bravo, Joan!!! I love you so effortlessly peel the skin of that rotten tomato of innuendo and outright falsehoods.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is no one forced anyone to attend her presentation. The Molokai community that voted 63% against the Maui County GMO ban and roused a whopping 58% voter turn out (the highest in the state which averages about 42%) – came out once again, to engage.

They came to listen to what Ms Lukens had to say about a topic they choose to live every day. In essence, Ashley’s message really came down to this: I’m here to tell you if and how you get to feed your family.

And no one in this community takes that topic lightly.

I think we bruised her pride, and her comments suggest she’s having a hard time accepting what happened. And I suspect as the weeks play on her interpretation of what happened here on MKK as well as her mind reading skills of the 20 workers will continue to “evolve” – her proverbial fish will get bigger and bigger via social media.

But once again MKK voted.
We get to choose how we feed our families Ms Lukens, not you or your political agenda.

Anonymous said...

Joan we are so lucky to have you on our side. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

If I had a PhD in political science, I would never call myself a "doctor" and then engage in giving public presentations on science and health.

It is less than honest.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if she tried to convince employees of termite companies or golf course workers of the dangers of pesticides?

Anonymous said...

Mahalo Joan. So often the media spins the stories to make us look like monsters who are gladly poisoning our neighbors when nothing could be further from the truth. It's good to see someone actually tell the whole story. We are tired of Hawaii Center for Food Safety's lies. Ashley Lukens is all about the spin and the spot light and doesn't care anything for the real facts or she would find a new job. Although, it must be hard to look into good peoples faces she has been knowingly telling lies about and slandering these past few years. Still, shame on her.

Anonymous said...

Monsanto moved from Kaunakakai to Hoolehua because of the town's pressure. But it backfired because now they are on the edge of Kualapuu reservoir. Unfortunately, time will tell the horrors of pesticide use.

Joan Conrow said...

Just FYI, It was noted at the meeting that Maui water department does regular testing and has detected no glyphosate in any county drinking water sources.

Anonymous said...

Looked like the Queen of Shellgames went to Kaunakakai peddling bullshit packaged as Kanemitsu 'okole bread and got a polite but firm "buggah off, Doctah". Interesting she is afflicted with the Hooserian denial disease: "this is not about regulation; it's about disclosure". She got skewered on that one. The final question on what kind of doctor she is (PhD, Political Science) garnered a comment on her political spinning. Priceless. Moloka'i Pule-o'o!

Anonymous said...

i wanted to asked her something and she told me she was off the clock... i told her i was off the clock too..story be told and that's all it was... twisted around and around...our island is true not about lying...Aloha...

Unknown said...

Good on you folks. Robert Wager

Anonymous said...

LukenSpeak: noun. Orwellian vocabulary.

Okay, gang. A quick seminar.

The abstract of Ashley's PhD thesis, titled "Theorizing Food Justice: Critical positionality and the political economy of community food systems," states:

Organized around three spheres of engagement--the community, the economy, and politics--this dissertation examines how critical positionality is driving the formation of intentional communities rooted in difference. It offers three primary contributions to the discussion of alternative agrifood movements and contemporary resistance to neoliberalism: 1) The concept of critical positionality, as a way of recognizing and conceptualizing the destabilization of identity within a practical context where identity and difference stillmatter ; 2) A non-capitalist reading of food justice work, showing how organizational strategies for financial sustainability tactically engage the neoliberal system while at the same time creating an alternative; 3) a theory of tactics, applied to the political realm through an examination of food policy councils, offering tactical policy activism as a possible orientation for food justice organizations who need to engage the state.

Okay, try wait, yeah? Let's parse dis buggah!

Positionality. Critical positionality. Hmmm. Okay, okay! Find 'em already! Says here (https://www.wordnik.com/words/positionality) dat positionality is "the quality of being positional."

Silly me. How come I no remember dat, eh?

Okay, so ... critical positionality mus be like extra special quality of being positional, yeah! Like one wahine who wen tell her 400-lb. husband, "Eh! Get offa me, you buggah!"

O Ashley! O Vassar! Your alma mater, perched high above the lordly Hudson. Did you enjoy the view, positionally speaking, looking down on the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

Come on!! I live between syngenta and Pioneer , I I do smell the poison the spray. How that can be good? Of course the people work for them ll not complain.

carl said...

Thanks again joan

Anonymous said...

Ms Lukens..., while you were telling our community about things you admit you’re not an expert on, many of us missed out on spending quality time with our families. I for one passed up dinner with my mo’opuna – something I value immensely and something you’ll only understand when you have some of your own – until you’re a grandma, it’s just hard to image what that does to your soul. With it comes a tremendous responsibility that I honor, to gift my granddaughters a sense of place, and a loving, viable community they can call home.

What you do, as your job, undermines that gift. You do not live here, we do. We help our community at every juncture, we help to raise all of our keiki, we earn an honest day’s work, and we help our kupuna age – we are the community that is participating and investing in the viability of our island’s cultural, moral and economic future.

I’ve never seen you or your organization here before caring for our community like we do, I only saw you here last week. My family roots go 5 generations deep, and what I have my dear, is a deep regard for this island and my people, one that you can’t simply come upon by spending a few days here.

I do not take my job lightly, I work for the company that you get paid to sell your spin on. Others in my family, a good family, with a good family name, also work with me. Together with other employees and our community, we work together to ensure a future for our next generations. It is why we strive so hard to challenge those like you who try to divide our small community, instead of build it up.

To dismiss our community and pretend we don’t matter is a mistake.

I chose to attend that meeting because our island has a collective voice.
But like many of us, there were other places we really wanted to be.

Chuck Lasker said...

It's so similar to the "scientist" Stephanie Seneff who spouts anti-GMO claims, when she's a computer scientist, which means she can program computers. I can get an online PhD and call myself a doctor if I want, would that give me credibility with the antis? I bet it would - if I agreed with them. REAL scientists are pro-GMO at a higher percentage than scientists who believe in man-caused global warming. But the antis not interested in real science.

The game is over for the professional antis in Hawaii. All they're doing now is grabbing as much cash as possible from the suckers.

Veronica Ohara said...

Thank you Joan! Lukens dreams of representing the people but her agenda, based on fear, puts people's jobs at risk.

Anonymous said...

Have you actually ever looked into stinkweed? Since they have been honoring the buffers it is everywhere on the west side. Worse then ever before.

Anonymous said...

You mean the Molokai Irregation System reservoir that was built and used for farming that is tested every year for pesticides? The one that was designed so that all surrounding feilds do not drain into it? Yeah. That's the one.

Anonymous said...

A lot less!!!! What an understatement.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Molokai turned back the cruise ships. They payed a heavy price for that, but it was the right thing to do for Molokai. Now they have embraced agriculture as a more sustainable way to support their families and community. Go Molokai we love you from the west side of Kauai!

Anonymous said...

Everyone that lives in Waimea and Kekaha lives between Pioneer and Syngenta silly.

Anonymous said...

News form 2 years ago- "The residents of Nitro, West Virginia, may not breathe any easier than they did two weeks ago, but hopefully they feel better after receiving a $93 million settlement from agribusiness giant Monsanto.

The plaintiffs of the class-action lawsuit argued that Monsanto had polluted their community by burning waste from the production of Agent Orange, the defoliant famously used as part of the United States’ chemical warfare program during the Vietnam War." I wonder how anybody can ever trust a company like this? Cannot the people of Molokai find better ways of farming and better partners to work with than Monsanto?

Anonymous said...

Ashley's answer on termites sucked and was untruthful it seemed. The only persons who are notified are the ones who are Being tented. Any cart or anyone will die if exposed, so how is it safe for the neighbors. How often are the tents checked for holes? The next door neighbors, those walking or driving by are poisoned. How much pesticides are used in each hotel and vacation rental room, they are sprayed with RUP every month and no fucking notice is given to the guest who shows up or are staying there. The real state industry uses more RUP than anyone, after all, tourist do not want to see cockaroaches.

Anonymous said...

"Organized around three spheres of engagement--the community, the economy, and politics--this dissertation examines how critical positionality is driving the formation of intentional communities rooted in difference. It offers three primary contributions to the discussion of alternative agrifood movements and contemporary resistance to neoliberalism;"

Is there actually a thesis in this drivel, or is the UH Political Science Department smoking stuff during doctoral arguments? I doubt Vassar would award a PhD for something that looks like a turgid regurgitation of some agitprop playbook. The summary is impenetrable; all it seems to say is: a. Lie about your targeted opponents to reduce their stature in the community; b. Shit on large corporations engaged in the food industry and capitalist engagement in the industry and about the feasibility of your alternatives; c. foment activism among groups drinking your Koolade to gum up the political works until you get your way. As people see things like that presentation, the blinders come off when they see the issues receding into the background of her overweening conceit. While she may believe her press, more and more people are seeing the carpetbagger behind her press clips.

Anonymous said...

"a turgid regurgitation of some agitprop playbook"

@7:06 - A perfect summary.

Anonymous said...

People attacking each other. showing each other in a bad light a lot here. And everyone avoiding the monster in the house- Monsanto. Mahalo 9:58 for speaking up. Your questions cut to the core of the issue that most who comment avoid completely. There will always be division created in communities like Molokaʻi when companies who employ locals have proven to the world that they are untrustworthy. Trust is such an important factor in building community, and lack of trust is the core issue that everyone seems to ignore in these comments. What has Monsanto done around the world to create so much mistrust? The split and division we see on Molokaʻi and elsewhere is not caused by individuals either pto or anti gmo, so it is a complete waste of time pointing fingers at each other and gossiping about individuals who live in our communities. There are many companies in Hawaiʻi that foster trust in their communities. These are truly good neighbors to have. Unfortunately, Monsanto is not one of them. Why do so many of us avoid addressing this issue? Hmmmmmm.......

Haleiwa Mom said...

How satisfying it is to see the tables turned and to see the kanaka maoli turn out! It's difficult to get the farmers to speak out at these meetings because it is normally such a hostile crowd. Well, now Ashley knows how it feels! Let's keep it up folks! Show up at these meetings and let the mostly malahini antis know how the majority feels.

Anonymous said...

Positive solution for problem on Molokaʻi. Turn all the land Monsanto has back to the employees and locals. Then find grant money to start an agricultural cooperative growing real healthy food for Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi. The cooperative would be owned and run by the workers themselves. Growing food for themselves and their community. Win-win situation for all locals. Working together for positive change, as opposed to the current situation which finds locals pitted against locals, and Monsanto benefitting financially off of local land and workers. All profits would remain in the community and lōkahi would be fostered instead of fear, distrust and division. Rise up, Hawaiians, and reclaim our land and culture. Our neighbors are not the enemy. Foreign corporations which occupy our land, profit financially off of it, and in the end provide us with nothing healthy to eat- they are the ones who need to be scrutinized.

Joan Conrow said...

9:32 wrote:
The split and division we see on Molokaʻi and elsewhere is not caused by individuals either pto or anti gmo, so it is a complete waste of time pointing fingers at each other and gossiping about individuals who live in our communities.

This is a complete and utter crock. Individuals most certainly have created the division we see not just on Molokai, but Kauai, Maui, Big Island and now Oahu. They have done it intentionally, and for their own purposes, which is why they should be held accountable, as Ashley was by the people of Molokai.

Mark said...

For fourteen years I read TGI religiously because it seemed the best way to gain some sense of what Kaua`i is about, who really lives here, and what's on their mind. I still check it daily out of habit and thin hope of gleaning some useful tidbit of perspective, even though I have been thoroughly saturated with the views of a few repetitive letter-writers there and the same regurgitated set of misspelled, thoughtless articles and gauche, unedited press releases. Those useful bits of perspective rarely materialize. At least I no longer pay them for that opportunity, and once again, I will contribute my annual TGI subscription dollars to you as small recognition of the critical and courageous work you do. I feel sure you are making an important difference. Reading your blog is a tremendous pleasure and reassurance even though the realities you report are often sad and some comments sickening. Then there are the moments of pure hilarity, often just when you point out the mindless drivel that comes from the mouths and keyboards of others. Thank you thank you thank you.

Anonymous said...

Two are talking. One is pro-blahblah and the other is anti-blahblah. They are immature children. >"You are stupid.""No, you suck.""You canʻt be a scientist without a degree." "You must be living in a dream world.""I am right and you are wrong.""< and on and on and on... Two more pro and antiʻs are talking. They are mature, both spiritually and psychologically. >ʻWell, since we disagree, letʻs look for things we can agree on first. And use that as a basis for further discussion." "I agree. Letʻs do that. We do not need to fight or belittle each other, for sure.""I respect you even if our beliefs are different.""Thanks.""Iʻm excited.""Instead of me finding fault with you, we can look for common goals to work towards.""All I ask is that you be honest with me.", and on and on... Two very different ways of dealing with those who we disagree with. Which way do you prefer?

Joan Conrow said...

Dear Mark,
Thank you so much, for both your donation, and your comment. Both are much appreciated!

And thank you for reading!

Anonymous said...

Monsanto is a corporation which values monetary profit over all else including aloha ʻaina, a company with one of the worst reputations in the world, creating division and problems wherever they go. There is a wealth of info online about locals all over the world and the terrible problems they have faced with Monsanto. Why transfer the blame for the problems on Molokaʻi to people like Ashley. She is just like you, me, and most of the people on Molokaʻi, including those who are employed at Monsanto. She, as well as Monsanto workers, want a world for our children where health, safety, respect, kindness, aloha ʻāina always trump the profit motive. Ashley and Monsanto workers share these values. Monsanto corporation does not. Monsanto is the one who needs to be held accountable, not Ashley or the millions of people all over the world who have suffered or been negatively affected by this company.

Joan Conrow said...

I know that it's easy, and all the rage, to demonize Monsanto. But this isn't just about Monsanto. This is about farming, and the preservation of agriculture in Hawaii. It's about honest information, as opposed to propaganda and lies. It's about power hungry mainland groups -- funded by the heirs of corporations that are just as profit-driven as Monsanto -- coming in with their own political agendas and using locals as pawns. I'm not transferring all the problems on Molokai to people like Ashley -- only the problems she specifically creates, like fear-mongering and polarization. Why are you trying to transfer every problem Monsanto has had around the world onto the situation at Molokai? Do you have any proof at all that they are harming people there?

No doubt Ashley and Monsanto workers do have some things in common, and she would have done better if she'd shown up with some humility and tried to capitalize on those commonalities, rather than showing up with her patronizing attitude and her bullshit data. If Ashley is truly concerned about health, safety, kindness, aloha aina, etc., she should practice what she preaches and also look at all the possible contributors to health and safety, rather than focus her attack solely on GMO crops.

And here's the other big difference you conveniently overlook: Monsanto workers aren't trying to destroy Ashley's livelihood, or tell her how to live or what she should believe. Quit being an apologist for Ashley. She's a big girl who made bad choices, and she got what was coming to her.

Dawson said...

12:22PM wrote:
Monsanto is the one who needs to be held accountable, not Ashley or the millions of people all over the world who have suffered or been negatively affected by this company.

You should have a heart-to-heart with your strawman -- he misses the point. Corporations most definitely need to be held accountable for their actions; neither Joan nor any of the anti-anti-GMO commenters have suggested otherwise. The issue here is the blatant misinformation campaigns run by demagogues like Lukens and Hooser, who play on public fears for their own profit (political and otherwise).


Anonymous said...

12:36PM If this is about farming, where is the food?

Anonymous said...

"We get to choose how we feed our families Ms Lukens, not you or your political agenda."

Uh, no you don't. A publicly traded company based in some Mid-Western city chooses how you feed your family. And if their bean counters and accountants think they can squeeze more profit, they will take away your income in a split second, without a second thought or care. That's why they call it "Big Ag."

Anonymous said...

Joan, "Do you have any proof at all that they are harming the people there?" Harm comes in many forms- physical, pscyhological, spiritual, cultural. It is obvious that many people on Molokaʻi are experiencing daily stress, both psychologically and culturally, due to Monsantoʻs presence on the island. Molokaʻi is a haven for Hawaiian traditional culture. Monsantoʻs ways and traditional Hawaiian ways are not compatible. This incompatibility results in harm (stress, which can be both physically and psychologically harmful) for those locals who value Hawaiian culture. This stress creates division and more stress, even for the employees. So yes, if you want proof of harm, go to Molokaʻi and talk to everyone- the stress you find in the community is the harm you are seeking proof of.

Anonymous said...

Mark at 11:43: Beautifully said; thank you! You are my new hero, whoever you are. And thank you Joan, again.

Anonymous at 12:22: I have known Ashley for many years and she is most certainly NOT like me (or any other farmer I know) in any way except that she is of the same species.Although sometimes I wonder.

And unfortunately, she does not share the same values that you attribute to her.

Anonymous said...

October 22, 2015 at 11:01 AM - You really gotta cut down on the weed.
You said, "Turn all the land Monsanto has back to the employees and locals." Guess what dummy? The land never was theirs so how can it be turned "back" to them? (DOH!) If you want to carry out your dream, and it certainly is a fanciful one at best, you gotta come up with tens of millions of dollars. the law still says and it will always say, that you have to pay for a taking...even if it's the government. Or is it that your fanciful world has organic money trees growing in it? Oh, wait! You want Bernie Sanders to condemn it with using the money he's going to steal from the Donald Trumps (i.e. the smart productive people) so he can give it to the dumb ones whose favorite word is GIMME?

anonymous said...

@1:57- Do you mean that Ashley values profit over aloha ʻāina? Why do you think so?

Joan Conrow said...

12:41 PM If this is about farming, where is the food?

The food is in the grocery stores, produced from the plants that are cultivated from seeds grown by breeders using parent seed that is grown here in Hawaii. And farming is the process by which all that seed, right down the line, is grown. Got it?

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvvBwMnuzRI

The only person I've seen recently who is less comfortable than Ashley Luckens answering sensible questions is Mark Sheehan of SHAKA....

"I read extensively in this field"...who are you kidding Mark?

"I don't get vaccinated myself"...please read the NY Times bestseller "Immunity" and help keep ALL of us safe.

Nothing like a high-end realtor with too much on his plate to read. Get your nose out of MLS and join the debate rather than evade with the rest of your ilk.

Anonymous said...

Joan, Call it farming if you wish- I call it alarming. You are right, the food is in the stores, and how did it get there? Most of the seed produced in Hawaiʻi is cornseed, isnʻt it? Shipped off to the USA, where it is used to grow feed for animals like cows, chickens, pigs in huge mono-cropped fields using pesticides and herbicides. Cows donʻt even eat corn unless they are forced to because their stomachs are not designed for it. The animals are raised, often in extremely inhumane ways, slaughtered, processed and the meat is then shipped back to Hawaiʻi for sale at stores. And a lot of the corn is used to produce high fructose corn syrup which is found in so much junk food and processed food, also produced in the Usa. This syrup is getting such a bad rep that they want to change the name to fool the public. What is sustainable about this process? How does it help us to become self-sufficient? Doesnʻt this kind of system make us dependent upon foreign corporations for our food? The whole world is moving towards grow local-grow healthy-eat local-eat healthy. Monsanto is not interested in such a world- their only interest is gaining control of seeds throughout the world by patents and lawsuits and making billions of dollars doing so (research what Mexican farmers think about Monsanto and the traditional seed disaster which was narrowly averted.) Farming at its worst and unsustainable. Last of all, I really would like to know how you think the Monsanto way of "farming"is compatible with traditional Hawaiian culture and the values of aloha ʻāina? Mahalo nui for your stimulating blog.

Joan Conrow said...

@4:53 -- I am not defending feed lots or corn syrup. But if there wasn't demand for the food that's available in America, they wouldn't be producing it. You may not want it, but a lot of people do. And no, the whole world isn't "moving towards grow local-grow healthy-eat local-eat healthy." Food continues to be shipped all around the planet because people either can't produce enough to eat locally, or they want things they can't get locally. Even Europe, often cited by the anti-GMO crowd as a model, imports GM corn and soy to feed livestock, though it won't let its own farmers grow the stuff. In terms of commercial activity, including farming, I don't really see much of anything happening in the Islands that is "compatible with traditional Hawaiian culture and the values of aloha aina." Certainly not tourism, construction or retail. Even taro is grown mostly by Japanese, using hybrids and roundup to control weeds. The utopia you imagine doesn't exist, for many reasons. Monsanto is only part of the picture. If you want to change the food system, or make Hawaii more sustainable, I suggest you use some of the many acres of available land to give it a try. You'll find it's not as easy as you think.

Freedom Fighter said...

Thank you Joan for truly showing what the truth is. I was there, Ashley's entourage tried to take their propaganda brochures away from me. Just so they could give it to their camp. You are a shining light.

Anonymous said...

To October 22, 2015 @ 12:59pm

Excuse me, um, but yes we do.
Those of us employed by Monsanto, choose to work here – this isn’t forced labor…. I’m sorry you don’t like the fact that our community supports the seed industry because it doesn’t fit your narrative or ideology – but that’s on you, not us. And if we as employees can contribute to better profits by discovering how to conserve water, or incorporate better pest management through sticky strips or other low cost means (because pesticides are expensive) – we’re happy, in fact we’re excited to incorporate it. Not only do we get the benefit of making our island and farmlands more sustainable, we as employees reap the rewards as stockholders. Those mindless rants aren’t what’s happening in our fields, why would we do such things to the island our families have lived for generations past and generations to come?

And if Monsanto or any company – big or small – can’t make profits doing business on Molokai (and we’ve seen our fair share), then they have the right and obligation to stockholders (like us who also happen to be employees) to go where they can make profits. We want our portfolios to grow, just like you do. There is nothing unusual about that.

So you’re not confusing us, sorry….. We get to choose how we feed ourselves.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:23pm. Right on! Fist bump

Anonymous said...

Right on Molokai!!! Btw where was Walter? Seriously, no dig here but c'mon man show some respect for your neighbors and Ohana (and yourself) and stand up for what you seem to believe in everywhere else you go. Its easy to face down haoles and lap up the adulation of those in the "movement" but it would speak volumes to see you have a real conversation with folks one on one who respectfully disagree with you rather than from the head of a rag-tag parade of malcontents with a bullhorn leader.

Watching the Molokai meeting video one can't help but be struck by the polite way the audience listened to Ashley's exceedingly poor and lengthy presentation (light on facts, long on spin) - even politely applauding after - than the way the "Redshirts", "Aloha A'ina Warriors", or whatever they choose to call themselves next to differentiate themselves from the rest of humanity - treat others who have something to say.

Auwe...this divisiveness has to stop and it could start with you Uncle.

Anonymous said...

Not impressed with "Dr. " Lukens' presentation skills. This is a snarky comment, but she "up talks" like a middle-school student rather than a mature academic.

Anonymous said...

It may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you gotta serve somebody.

Anonymous said...

Obey your master

Anonymous said...

I don't see one pro-Monsanto person here addressing the health of the keiki and future generations. This is a complicated issue, but honestly...can any of us afford to play ostrich with heads in the sand when the keiki are even potentially in danger?

Anonymous said...

Joan at 5:19 you essentially confess that there is no future for growing food locally in Hawaii, claiming that processed food shipped in to Hawaii is what people are demanding, which is the food system Monsanto is driving us toward. You say:"If you want to change the food system, or make Hawaii more sustainable, I suggest you use some of the many acres of available land to give it a try. You'll find it's not as easy as you think." and "I don't really see much of anything happening in the Islands that is "compatible with traditional Hawaiian culture and the values of aloha aina."

I don't know what happened to you Joan to make you give up on Hawaiians and local people growing our own food, on sustainable farming, but there are indeed farmers all over the state doing just that, very well. We invite you to come learn about what we are doing and the future we want for Hawaii that is about feeding our own people first, not multinational corporations.

It is mind boggling to me that you have determined to instead promote the agri-chemical companies instead who grow NO FOOD for Hawaii's people, but instead corn that is converted to food additives that come back to us as high fructose corn syrup, and other derivatives.

What a SAD life you must lead to have given up on your own people, your own islands future, cheering on the chemical companies instead who would leave our island the most food insecure in the nation. (yes, DOW and MONSANTO et all were founded as and remain chemical companies, not food companies)

HAWAII'S SOILS ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS, ENDLESSLY RENEWABLE RESOURCE WE'VE GOT. Farmers are out there trying to restore that soil right now. Poisoning those soils with chemicals that kill all the biological life in them, which is what these "seed" companies are doing every day here, is the biggest THREAT our local food farmers face.

If you don't love our 'aina, the soil beneath your feet here Joan, how can you speak at all for farmers?

Hawaii we DO have a choice. Don't give in or give up your future to Monsanto's model that would resign us all to using our precious ag lands for testing pesticides. We can do better.

Joan Conrow said...

What is mind boggling to me is how you can read my comment, and then totally twist it around to suit your own belief system, while throwing in a jab about what a "SAD life I must lead. What do you know about me or my life, anonymous? You can't even understand my comment!

I have long been an advocate for Hawaii agriculture -- in all its forms -- and I have no doubt Hawaii could feed itself, if we had enough farmers who were willing and able to do it. You and others seem to have adopted this false mindset that the seed companies are preventing local food ag, and that's simply not true. There's lots of land, and the seed companies are keeping the irrigation systems open and even subleasing. You also have the false mindset that seed companies are "poisoning" the soil. They aren't. All you need do is look at Moloaa to see that soils that were heavily treated with pesticides for pineapple are now growing food.

It's true that people want the food that's being imported. Most people don't want to live solely on what they can get locally. Don't blame the seed companies for Hawaii's food insecurity. It pre-dates them in the Islands.

My point, which you chose to ignore, is this: Instead of bitching about the seed companies and trying to destroy them, focus on growing stuff the way you want. There's plenty of land and water. What's lacking is initiative.

Anonymous said...

Spraying our soils with chemicals is NOT the way to aloha the 'aina.

Anonymous said...

They're not spraying the soil with chemicals. They're treating plants with pesticides. Learn the difference.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you were for many years an advocate for Hawaii agriculture Joan. Thank you for that. You say just now "I have no doubt Hawaii could feed itself, if we had enough farmers who were willing and able to do it".

So will you start helping us Joan instead of telling us we "lack initiative"? We are here. We are working hard. We need your help. Small food farmers need AFFORDABLE land with long leases. Most of the big tracts available are only affordable to the big agribusiness companies. We wish you would spend more time advocating for us instead of the large agribusiness companies.

Yes, we can grow on land that was previously sprayed but it takes much longer to restore that soils viability, the biological life in those soils. And to coax back the pollinators our crops need.

So no we don't want to sublease from the chemical companies, especially when those leases come with clauses that ban our speaking up about our concerns with what their spraying does to our soil and our communities.

Who are you rooting for here Joan? For our local food farmers? We don't hear it. We miss the Joan we thought we knew.


Joan Conrow said...

10:15 -- First, drop the BS about knowing me, or even thinking you know me. Second, quit pretending you're a farmer or speaking for farmers. Third, there have been numerous calls for people to apply to lease land, private land that was never in seed crops, and very affordable state land. I have advertised both in this blog. There have been no takers. Zip. Nada. You and the people you're pretending to speak for have to at least apply. That's what I mean by initiative. Do you expect me to track down land, lease it and hand it over to folks? That ain't gonna happen. You need to quit wishing and start acting. And like I've said, there is plenty of land that has never been in seed production, so you don't have to"restore that soils viability" or "coax back pollinators" that aren't missing. Some of the most productive bee hives are in the coffee fields.

I advocate for ALL farmers in Hawaii. But I call bullshit on the pretend farmers, like you, who would rather whine than work and can't recognize that the seed companies are allies in perpetuating ag in the Islands, not enemies.

Anonymous said...

If the seed companies are our "allies" why do farmers have to agree to keep silent about their concerns about the damage that their spraying is doing in order to lease land from them?

Joan Conrow said...

10:52 -- It seems your information is incorrect. I checked with the companies. DOW and Pioneer do not sublease, and Pioneer had not heard of anyone requiring that sort of agreement. BASF does sublease, and one lease includes a clause that the tenant can't go after the landlord for something an adjacent lessee might be doing. Still waiting to hear from Syngenta.

Joan Conrow said...

I just heard from Syngenta:

Joan, we don’t have any contractual clauses of this nature. When we strike a sublease agreement with a farmer we work out agreeable terms so that our operations are complementary to each other. The agreements have been quite amicable.

Anonymous said...

Joan, i don't know you but i do know that you have put down most of the people who speak up against the biotech companies with vengeance. It's been obvious with Shiva, Hooser, Barca, Lukens, Schootz and others. The thing is that you get personal and bang them with so much negatives and make fun of their beliefs. The biotechs say that everything they are doing is safe----so why do they give us a hard time about finding out information that we ask for? Yes, you put blame on the sugar and pineapple industries for polluting the soil, you are correct about that, but the biotechs are continuing to do the same with harsher chemicals. Also, about spam and red meat, barbecued food----many of us were aware of the dangers and watched our consumption. We are also aware of the dangerous chemicals found in gmos---so we watch our consumption with that too . . . . . can't you at least give me the benefit of being cautious and not make me feel that i am being divisive if i speak to others about my belief? If you were on the Kauai council i wouldn't want to testify in your presence . . . . .

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, I have put those people down with a vengeance, because they have spread lies, fear and propaganda, and they've done Hawaii a terrible disservice, in large part to further their own egos and/or bank accounts. I only use their own words and actions to make fun of them and undermine their credibility. I don't make anything up.

The seed companies are not using harsher chemicals than sugar and pine. Pesticides in general have gotten much safer over the years, and applications are much more precise. I remember when they used to do aerial spraying of the cane fields. That doesn't happen any more.

You are welcome to be as cautious as you like. No one is forcing you to eat GM foods, and they are easily avoided. What I don't like is how so many in the anti-GM movement are trying to prevent their use. They are not content with co-existence. They want abolition, and I don't think that's right -- especially when their opposition is based on ignorance. Like your belief that there are "dangerous chemicals" in GM foods. Like what? That's simply not true.

I can't speak for the biotech companies, but I think they resisted providing Gary with information because they knew he was out to get them. They're disclosing their pesticide use, and they're giving pre-notice of spraying to those who live nearby. What else do you really need to know? And why aren't you equally concerned with others who use RUPs, like golf courses and termite treatment companies?

You don't have to worry about testifying in my presence on the Council, since I'm not a member. You can hide behind anonymity in my comments section. And you are certainly free to speak to others about your beliefs. But if you're talking bullshit, don't be surprised if someone -- including me -- calls you on it.

Anonymous said...

And gmo free usa is claiming she was "bullied by monsanto employees" because "asked hard questions from farmers she couldn't answer" sounds *really* bad, so unleash the shillhounds!

herbert said...

..and you should have been THER- where you WANTED to be- instead of shilling for the bosses. Easy choice, for ME to say... since I'm not on "the Payroll"... right? ^..^

herbert said...

So, what do this "THEY" faction have to gain by their actions? Then compare what Monsanto has to gain. What ARE "their own purposes", Joan? What are YOURS? what are MONSANTO'S? ^..^

herbert said...

BS. You're leaving out the "money" part. You and I consume NOTHING grown from "seeds from Molokai"... except chickens fed GMO corn, maybe. ^..^