Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Musings: Dose of Hope

I'm here at Cornell University, amid the cool temps and colorful fall leaves of Ithaca, New York, getting a fresh dose of hope and inspiration after a gloomy week immersed in politics.

The source of this infusion? Twenty-eight people representing 13 countries and three continents. They're the Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellows, who just completed a 12-week program in science advocacy at the grassroots level.

For the past two days I've been listening to them report on the state of agriculture and food security in their home countries of Nigeria, Malawi, China, Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana. They're a diverse group, in terms of ages, occupations and interests, but they're united in their passion to end hunger and advance environmental sustainability.

I was also struck by how successful the anti-GMO activists have been in shaping the narrative around ag biotechnology. Despite the wide variances in the world's political systems, laws, farming practices and food needs, the antis have managed to instill their BS-based mantra in nations across the globe. As one person noted: “Fear is the easiest thing to sell.” And lies and fear are the primary tools of the anti-GMO trade.

After spending time with the Fellows, I'm reminded again just how fortunate I am to live in a country with a stable, though sometimes stumbling, government, and so many options and opportunities.  It reaffirms my commitment to continue working to ensure that farmers everywhere get to choose how they want to practice agriculture.

It seems the newest farmer – or, more accurately, fantasy farmer — is the recently defeated Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser:
Yup, he grows an ear and figures that now he can feed the island and make a political statement. It's not exactly clear why growing organic sweet corn is an act of resistance, though it is interesting that his choice of the term "corn angels" continues to emphasize anti-GMO activism as religion.
Glad to see even Gary is finally starting to see through the lies he's been feeding folks for the past few years. And yes, the seed companies welcome true co-existence. But sadly, the rest of his delusion continues.

Like why, exactly, does he want to make corn starts when direct-seeding is recommended to build strong roots and prevent transplant shock? Why waste potting soil and plastic containers when kernels sprout so easily in the ground? How much will he charge for starts, when people can buy 100 kernels for $2 bucks? How can he pass them off as organic without certification? 

But then, as soon as you start to use logic with these folks, it all falls apart. And as soon as someone — in this case, Big Island "agvocate" Lorie Farrell — sounded a note of reality, Hooser's sweetness turned sour:
Actually, Gary, Lorie isn't an industry troll, nor is she is affiliated with the Alliance. She's just one of thousands who endorse our work. Furthermore, the Alliance doesn't "train bloggers," and no one is sent out to "attack those who promote organic farming and folks who question, criticize or support the regulation of industrial agriculture." We just dispel the bullshit and fear spread by those who are unwilling to let farmers decide how to farm. Which is why you're so desperate to trash us.

I was quite interested to learn that in some nations, the antis are supported by pesticide companies that stand to lose sales if the Bt technology, which offers pest resistance without spraying, is adopted more widely. The anti movement has some strange bedfellows.

Despite the nasty reaction to Lorie, the realists persisted:
Lazy farming, Pejie? What could be lazier than not farming at all, while telling others how they should be doing it?

Hey, maybe Gary, Dustin Barca and Felicia Cowden can start their own farming cooperative.  I'd love to see the infighting that would soon develop between those three giant egos, all of whom fancy themselves ag experts.

Meanwhile, agriculture in Hawaii lost a true advocate with yesterday's passing of Big Island Rep. Clift Tsuji, who chaired the House Agriculture Committee. He was a kind and caring man who maintained his smile and the twinkle in his eye even though he was mercilessly attacked by the antis.

The Hawaii Center for Food Safety blew $2,895 on anti-Tsui flyers alone last year, and were aided in their attacks by the Babes Against Biotech, who wasted no time in offering phony words of sympathy:

Biotech legislator of the year and long time Hilo Representative Clift Tsuji has died. May God rest his soul and give us grace and wisdom in this time as our future shifts yet again with his passing.  We may never know all the reasons Clift had or ever agree with any of them, but we can send his family condolences and love in this difficult time, and we can take a moment of grace. Surely he cared for his family and some people really loved him. What is done is done. We only have from now.  

Talk about no class. But yes, we can only hope the Babes somehow gain the grace and wisdom they so sorely lack.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Gary , he is thinking, aha if everyone grows corn, the seeds will be contaminated and not saleable, so maybe make a little money, a little trouble. It's an old idea. Guess he never grew corn or he would know it is always direct seeded, not a potted plant not to mention needing at least a 4x4 plot for pollination. Happy farming.

Anonymous said...

Joan, am thinking Hooser likely has no real objective to grow corn to eat at any meaningful scale but rather his "corn angels" are intended as political statements with only a few plants in back yard gardens. No doubt he will instigate planting near existing test fields possibly contaminating the ge crops with this organic sweet corn pollen. Reed between the lines.

Anonymous said...

Just what the world needs, more Cornell Alliance for Science zombies regurgitating what they are told.

Joan Conrow said...

That is so insulting to the highly intelligent Fellows who come in to the program with a wealth of knowledge and are perfectly willing and able to think for themselves. Maybe you should actually talk to a few, or check out their bios, before you make such an ignorant (and racist?) remark.



Anonymous said...

We have on this island people that I categorize as "Fukatares"= fucking stupid like 6:33

Lorie Farrell said...

Well said Joan!! I was being genuine in my thoughts but Gary chose the low road and got ugly. That being said you rock, love this especially needed after yesterdays passing of Clift, a great man who I'm proud to call my friend. I was appalled by Babes "Insincere" comments about Rep. Tsuji, the audacity astounds me; no class considering her behavior over the past few years and her lack of common courtesy and respect to the Representative whereas he always was a gentleman.


Manuahi said...

Gary thinks he has figured out a way to get at the seed companies by growing organic corn near their fields with the hopes that the GE corn will infect his organic corn so he can file nuisance suits. He's just a little shitty fly hoping to be a pest to those are are actually doing something positive for the world. No worries, his little venture will crap out just like his Council candidacy.

Bradley Choquette said...

My goodness, that is pitiful looking sweet corn. I have volunteer corn with bigger ears than his corn. I'd be ashamed of.... well, that's not a positive statement. *sigh* at least he's trying, but he might consider reading a book, or something, before he starts giving organic farming advice.

Anonymous said...

Modern day Manifest Destiny, "we are going to save the earth and the poor" with our products.

Anonymous said...

Hooser is a proven liar and a cheat. He will do and say anything to advance himself regardless of who he hurts; including is starry-eyed followers.

Anonymous said...

Right on cue, the Nebraska guy chimes in

Anonymous said...

Corn starts.....to think that this guy has been in leadership positions for a couple of decades blows my mind. He gets the last laugh though because we'll be paying his bloated retirement.

Anonymous said...

I think you're confused. THEY are sharing research and valid information...YOU are regurgitating what you have been told.Read more research.

Anonymous said...

Darn that "Nebraska guy" chiming in with facts and a successful track record in agriculture! Who does he think he is? Better to listen to a Caucasian north shore transplant who's been here a few years, with no experience or education in agriculture or plant biology!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Volunteer corn". I suspect more volunteer corn will be volunteering in cornfields all around the state very soon.

Anonymous said...

Ever wonder what that pollinator plane is spewing in the air near kealia, anahola and kapahi?

The plane flies in the same path above these areas for hours.

Down the bird!!!!!!!!!!

Bradley Choquette said...

Gary Hooser’s 2491 horse shit show didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving a legal challenge. Even the county attorney said as much. Further, Monsanto wasn’t going to skimp on a legal challenge either. Now, corporations are not known for eating legal fees, and those cost are going to be passed onto farmers in the form of higher seed cost. Higher cost takes money out of farmers pockets. That’s revenue that I can spend on food, cloths and home heating. Taking money out of my pockets puts a target on Gary’s back. In Nebraska, we have a saying, “Don’t bitch about being shot at when you willingly put a target on your back.” SO, Gary posting a pathetic 8 row around ear of sweetcorn (so over mature my dogs wouldn’t even eat it) is going to draw cheap shots from me. Then, the guy brags about giving away food that people wouldn’t eat, and are going to throw away; all the while, casting dispersions on farmers who grow healthy, affordable and safe food, that people actually eat. SO, ya, I’m going to chime in about that…. The fact that I'm from Nebraska doesn't matter, because his actions in Hawaii have ramifications for all Nebraska farmers.

Anonymous said...

A real farmer would be too busy being a farmer and wouldn't have time to but into another communities business.

Anonymous said...

Bradley! You have such thin skin! Suggest you stay home in Nebraska behind the safety of your computer key board where you can take safe shots at the big fist.

Anonymous said...

Fuck a Nebraska!!!! Go fix Nebraska's problems and stay out of Kauai's problems.

Gary did it all wrong and the incompetent state of hawaii made him a scape goat for their own laziness.

If anyone has problems at the county or state levels, follow the process then go federal but if you have a OSHA or EEO/Civil rights complaint then go federal because the state of Hawaii is as incompetent as a county of Kauai parks and recs employee. Shit will stay and stain the area for years before they even look at the problem.

Anonymous said...

Wow Bradley. You saying Hooser should be shot?

Joan Conrow said...

Dear Bradley,
I'm sorry you are experiencing the provincialism of some Kauai residents -- ironically, they are likely malihini (newcomers), anyway -- as well as the hypocrisy. The activists think it is perfectly all right for them to stick their noses into an industry they know nothing about, as well as in activities the world over, but they get all huhu when a Nebraskan dares to join the conversation. Why? Because you know what you're talking about, and they can't stand that because it exposes their own ignorance.

Thanks for joining the conversation.

Manuahi said...

Let's not forget that when one posts anonymously, the same person can throw up multiple inane postings to make it look like there's more than one dolt:
2:07, 3:24, 3:37 and 4:24.

Kirby Kester said...

Bradley, thanks for defending real agriculture. As a farming Nebraska native who has spent the second half of my life growing corn in Hawaii, believe me when I say you're in every right to chime in on Kauai activities. I don't wish this misconception about agriculture on any community, Thank You for all the food you provide! Kirby

Anonymous said...

Does anybody else find it amusing and Trumpesque that some guy is making fun of another guys corn size and bragging his corn is bigger and better

Bradley Choquette said...

Gary should be given a shot of reality, not shot with anything else....

Bradley Choquette said...

@ 2:07 a real farmer finished harvest two weeks ago, calves are weaned, the cows are on stalks, all the winter fence is made, I'm almost done cleaning up the sprayer/harvest equipment, and I'm ready for the big blizzard to close in. That gives me plenty of time to address the silly little misconceptions of Kauai.


Thanks for the compliments Kirby and Joan... I love chiming in.

Anonymous said...

Manuahi, the word is "Schizophrenia". Multiple dolt personalities. Ha!

Anonymous said...

@8:28 - Farmers who know what they're doing will make fun of a competitor that tries selling inferior product with good marketing. Which is exactly what Gary is trying to do.

Facts: 1. transplanting corn seedlings is inefficient and will damage young roots leading to smaller plants and potential plant death. 2. People that want to plant in their backyard should go to the store, buy a pack of good hybrid seeds, and plant in a block of ~16-20 plants so self pollinating can occur. 3. Corn needs good nutrients in the soil available for a fast growing HUGE plant... do a soil test!

I just feel that Gary is selling a myth, and non-farmers (or people that have really never grown anything before) are going to pat themselves on the back for growing 'something'... see how easy it is, then continue to degrade farmers for being 'weaklings' for using fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

It makes me sick when looking at the Ag stats for Hawaii, that the VAST majority of 'farmers' make less than $10k, yet these are the people that are trying to dictate all the rules and perceptions of Farming. These rules created from those voices of 'farmers' will decide how a farmer trying to make an actual living in Hawaii from farming (~$50k) can farm. Also... it is disgusting that ~50% of agriculture income in Hawaii is from 'Agritourism' (farm tours and Ag-zoned bed + Breakfast type rentals), and there is a serious push to make this 'agriculture tourism' more prominent.

Anonymous said...

7:09 AM:
I've been involved in ag policy here for almost 30 years and YES, you are spot on. It's not the food-production farming that the public is clamoring for but it speaks to how difficult it is to make it as a farmer in Hawaii.

Thank you, Joan, for honoring House Ag Chair Clift Tsuji, a kind man who advocated for all Hawaii farmers, contrary to this typical mean-spirited and untrue comment by retired-to-Maui pro-golfer, now woofer "farmer" Bill Greenleaf (former president of Maui Farmers Union United), from his 2-acre gentlemen yard:

"I tried meeting with this guy at the capital...he had plenty of arm in arm with lobbyists...for me...no time...he was monsanto man of the year a couple of years ago...maybe a few too many tours of the biochem operations."

Anonymous said...

Grandma still barking at the moon? Or is this just another Santa Maria dry BBQ?

Anonymous said...

You guys are kidding me right? You actually believe Hooser wants to farm? He is interested only in the politics of this! He is intending to try to sabatouge the GE corn and contaminate it with organic pollen. Watch next for seed bombs and drones spreading organic pollen over west side fields. This guy and his fistees will stop at nothing.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand that this is what the Chem/bio companies did all over the US and real farmers lost their crops and lands to these tactics.

Anonymous said...

Farmer 1- Ha, ha, my corn is bigger than your corn!!!

Farmer 2- It's not how big your corn is, it's how you wiggle it.

Bradley Choquette said...

@ 10:44 BULLSHIT.. Post one real example where the farmer didn't blatantly violate the TUA (technology Use Agreement) and lost his farm to cross pollination. There are real examples where farmers planted seed from the elevator illegally and were sue by seed companies. Also, farmers illegally crossed GM crops with their own heirlooms seed, then illegally applied GM chemicals to those crops. There was one farmer in Australia that didn't use a buffer strip along his conventional neighbor and lost his organic certification. That's kind of his fault, which is why he lost his lawsuit. Red Shirts are notorious for taking stories out of truthful context, and it's growing OLD....

Anonymous said...

Did hubby pass or is he gonna pass another drug test? Anybody married to you would be playing video games and smoking weed 24/7.

Anonymous said...

Don't just read one report, article, blog post, or news investigation; read at least 5 or more to gather information that you know guys like Bradley can't get through their reptilian brains.

GMO patent controversy 3: Does Monsanto sue farmers for ...
https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org › ...
AMP - Jan 4, 2016 - ... sue farmers for any cross pollination from GM seeds that might ... So how is it that this myth about Monsanto suing farmers still ...

Top Five Myths Of Genetically Modified Seeds, Busted : The ...
NPR › sections › thesalt › 2012/10/18 › t...
Oct 18, 2012 - Back in 1999, Monsanto sued a Canadian canola farmer, Percy ... of GMOs that were introduced into fields simply through cross-pollination.

Monsanto Has Sued Farmers For 16 Years, Never Lost A Case | Food ...
www.fooddemocracynow.org › blog › sep
Sep 6, 2014 - This includes when farmers tried to sue Monsanto over cross-pollination of their organic crops with ...

Agricultural Giant Battles Small Farmers - CBS News
CBS News › news › agricultural-giant-bat...
Apr 26, 2008 - Monsanto sued him claiming he was "aiding and abetting" farmers, helping them to violate the patent ...

Monsanto vs Farmer | The Grand Disillusion
WordPress.com › thegranddisillusion › ...
Personally, I think that the cross pollination was schemed up by Monsanto because once .... farmers has sued Monsanto over GMO seed contamination of their ...

Monsanto Wins Lawsuit Filed By U.S. Organic Farmers Worried ...
Huffington Post › 2013/06/10 › monsant...
Jun 10, 2013 - June 10 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co. on Monday won another round in a legal battle with U.S. organic ...

I have read that Monsanto has sued farmers whose fields have ...
https://gmoanswers.com › ask › i-have-re...
I have read that Monsanto has sued farmers whose fields have exhibited ... plants to cross pollinate, leaving the farmers no choice but not to grow corn or soy, ...

Monsanto vs. Farmers - Personal ...
Drexel University › pages › the_issue
This is why some people must pay for the effects that cross-pollination has on ... a leading company in genetically modified seeds, has sued 145 farmers in the ...

Monsanto Sues Farmers for 16 Yrs over GMOs, NEVER Loses ...
naturalsociety.com › monsanto-sued-far...
AMP - Aug 29, 2014 - This includes when farmers tried to sue Monsanto over cross-pollination of their organic ...

Anonymous said...

@ 1:57 - Or you could actually try to find the ACTUAL court case (Percy, Canadian Supreme Court) as the evidence for or against the claim.

http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2147/index.do?r=AAAAAQAJc2NobWVpc2VyAAAAAAE

If you actually read the court documents for Findings of Fact, you will then see that all your 5+ sources are click-bait shit that rehash the same myths.

The number of sources don't matter if the content is all derived from the same erroneous information.

Anonymous said...

Let the spin begin! "The pest control company is one of four in Hawaii under investigation for the alleged misuse of pesticides.

A January Kauai incident at Syngenta when 10 workers were hospitalized after enter a field too soon after spraying the pesticide chlorpyrifos is also under EPA investigation. In addition, EPA is investigating pesticide violation allegations at Monsanto, and Wonder Farms on Oahu."

Bradley Choquette said...

LOL, I mentioned the Percy case, but not by name. That guy is a crook. He crossbreed his canola with his neighbor's Roundup Ready canola crop. He then planted that seed, sprayed it with Roundup to kill all the conventional plants, harvested the seed and was able to plant a canola crop that was 100 Roundup Ready. He even sprayed that crop with Roundup for weed control. That's how he stole the RR technology from Monsanto. Monsanto sued for patent violations and won (hands down). Percy's crop wasn't accidentally cross pollinated. You don't get pure RR seed that way. He intentionally stole the technology (because he is a CROOK).

Anonymous said...

You focus on one article and yet leave out the rest and all aren't from one of the same source(s).

Sheep are herded for a reason.

Anonymous said...

This is the exact route that Hooser and his people should have taken. Like I've posted many times before, there's many org's that have experts that have done superfund sites so Hooser could have added more merit to 2491 if he had not chosen to play the HERO.

Anonymous said...

@4:13 PM

Looks like you're the spinner.
1. EPA (and DOA) are investigating pesticide violation allegations ....isn't that contrary to what all you antis have claimed----that there's no pesticide regulations and no enforcement?

2. These are investigations---can we wait until the agencies complete them so we can learn the facts, rather than spinning prematurely?

And anyway, what's your point, that pesticides are bad/that no one should be using pesticides? Well, Little Fire Ants have just been discovered on at least 12 acres at tourist-heaven Kapalua, Maui; near the beach, and near an endangered seabird colony, which they could destroy. Pesticides will be used and I, and other conservationists, are thankful we have these tools.

Anonymous said...

Heard Feds were coming down hard on syngenta and soon.

Bradley Choquette said...

@ 5:56 You didn't post complete links, and it's not my job to make your case. However, the organic propaganda machine usually spin lies to make their case. That being said, farmers are happy Monsanto sues farmer that don't pay the technology fees the rest of us honest farmers pay. Plus, they donate their court judgements to charity.

Anonymous said...

Well if EPA does come down hard, it's likely a 'justify your expensive existence' and make a giant deal over minimal infractions thing---the kind of over-zealous thing EPA Region 9 is known for.

Sure, Syngenta should be fined if they violated pesicide law, but if the fine is not in proportion to the infractions, you can bet that EarthJustice and the activists have been working with EPA to make this national media-worthy so that EJ and CFS can continue their destruction of Ag in the islands.

Oh, except for yardening, and WWOOFER gardening.

Mistakes are made and should be dealt with....to punish, remediate where appropriate, and to ensure that they dont happen again. But not for self-serving reasons.

Would be interesting to know what these holier-than-thou people eat.