Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Musings: Practice or Preach?

All the folks who have been crying for land, begging for a chance to farm, clamoring for the seed companies to beat it and free up agricultural acreage have a chance to put their money — and sweat — with their mouths are.

Some 3,000 acres of state land is now sitting idle in Kekaha, while 1,400 acres of Grove Farm land near Lihue will soon be out of production. Surely those who envision a different future for agriculture in Hawaii can do something meaningful with 4,400 acres of irrigated land.

Will they step up to the challenge? Don't bet on it. They'll have a hundred and one excuses why they can't create those organic farms they've long imagined flourishing across the westside if only those nasty, dirty seed companies weren't in the way.

One of those excuses — and Kauai Councilman and anti-GMO activist Gary Hooser is already starting the stink talk, with the help of Civil Beat — will be that the land is too depleted and toxic to farm. Civil Beat even highlighted Gary's totally unsubstantiated conjecture in a bold, red-lettered outtake quote, so as to give his bullshit extra prominence:

The speculation is that the soil is depleted and there’s [sic] been lots of pesticides applied and therefore there’s probably residue. I don’t know that, but I certainly think it deserves some testing.

No, Gary doesn't know that, or a lot of things about seed companies operations, or agriculture in general. But that has never stopped him from making stuff up — or buying a home built on heavily sprayed former pineapple fields. Go figger….

Yet even if you accept the premise that former seed fields are undesirable, or unusable, there's still that 500-acre parcel that Dow never used, and just returned to the state. Certainly 500 acres is a significant start for the agricultural idealists to grow their dreams and start feeding the island good, wholesome, healthy food.

Why not seize this opportunity to prove their creds as true “aloha aina warriors,” assume the challenge of remediating land they imagine is toxic, prove they can successfully “malama the aina” with their mushroom mounds and permaculture arrays and cover crops and kenaf plantations? What better chance to show “industrial agriculture” how farming is supposed to be done?

Gary's HAPA nonprofit, the one he lobbies for on Kauai County's dime, claims its mission is “catalyzing change and empowering communities.” So go for it, Gary. Let's see you, Walter Ritte, Bart Dame, Andrea Brower and the rest of your board members lease some of this land and start actualizing your rhetoric. Maybe put aside your road shows and pick up an o'o, stop crashing Syngenta shareholder meetings, get off Mauna Kea and into the fields?

Meanwhile, over on Maui, the same players who organized the anti-GMO movement there — luxury Realtor Mark Sheehan, “Babe” Courtney Bruch, Superferry protestor Karen Chun, rogue physicist Joe Ritter, etc. — are leveling their sights at another major agricultural interest: HC&S. 

They're using the same self-righteous propaganda techniques — doctored photos, dubious “experts,” unsubstantiated claims of health impacts, wild hyperbole, social media fear-mongering, manufactured facts — to attack cane burning as a way to shut down the last sugar plantation in Hawaii.

Here's an example of how they operate: 

LOOKING FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL, PARENT or TEACHER to share your cane burning story on Akaku TV tonight, need you from approx 6:30pm to 8pm Please comment below, tagging me if you are interested. Mahalo!
‪Sandi Imberi Ioakimi ‪Kelly Hanson Shimabukuro u like be on TV? 
1 hr · Like

‪Kelly Hanson Shimabukuro Sandi, I wish I was a better public speaker. I am far from eloquent when it comes to words. frown emoticon
1 hr · Like

‪Kelly Hanson Shimabukuro ‪Jessica Brown Qunell are you on the island? You are a much better speaker than myself.
1 hr · Like

‪Deb Mader Creagh It's story telling, just speak from the heart.
58 mins · Like · 1

‪Deb Mader Creagh I'll be there to help carry conversation! I would love one other mama or teacher or doctor to come on show with me.
57 mins · Like · 1

Yes, it's storytelling. As in, you just open your mouth and say whatevahs, like cane smoke mutates your DNA. Only the other guys need be held accountable.

So what do they think will happen to those 36,000 acres of Central Maui if sugar cane is shut down? How much choking dust do they suppose will fly if that windy land is laid barren? What ideas do they have for alternative agriculture — or will they just sit back as the subdivisions creep in from Kihei and Kahului?

Is development the goal of this constant attack on agriculture?

If not, will those who are unhappy with farming as it's practiced in Hawaii take this opportunity to lease land and demonstrate some viable alternatives? 

All eyes are on SHAKA and HAPA, Center for Food Safety, da Babes and KKCR, to see if those folks can actually practice what they preach.

PS: I just saw this exchange, which perfectly exemplifies how the anti-ag folks promulgate propaganda:

  • Victoria Breeden I was wondering when I read a comment reply earlier on this page the person was defending the burn stating it didn't harm her, there is more important things to do and it provides jobs why she was allowed on this page spouting such bs.
    11 hrs · 
  • Darnell Lei McCabe Estrella You're right Victoria... She was trying to express how she felt & how it created jobs so hc&s employees could put food on the table for their families... but what she doesn't know is all the political power in the back of all this poison!!!
    10 hrs · 
  • Andrea Kale Marcus Funny how diversion from the real problems seems to be a theme in Maui....... I've seen a microcosm of this behaviour and it isn't pretty...
    Every time a species of plant is used in landscape where it really doesn't belong some unknowing landscaper uses poison to irradiate the pests it makes a home in!! That's why white fly is such an issue in Wailea .... It's a desert !! Treat it that way
    7 hrs · Edited · 
  • Karen Chun Victoria - when you see someone posting that stuff could you message me so I can find it and delete it?
    3 hrs · Like · 1

Yes, Karen, delete anything that doesn't fit your world view. Because there is absolutely no room for dissenting opinion in group think. Baaa….


Anonymous said...

Another really good post regarding ag and those who say they have the answers until you call them out and realize that they have no grasp on reality at all.

I find it very interesting that the sugar plantations actually came close to the ideal that many of these collectivist preach; a job for everyone, including the handicapped, free housing, free water and electricity and free medical care. With the rise of unionism many of these perks disappeared but I can't help wondering if those who advocate for a new agriculture will be able to match what the plantations provided to their workers.

Anonymous said...

It is a long walk from air conditioned cushioned arm chairs with fat government and other salaries lining your pockets to actually schticking a shovel in the ground.
First you have figure out what to grow, lease the land, water plan, insurances, labor etc.
Even if St Gabriel toots his horn and the arm chair farmers get some farm land, then the real test. Long days, weather conditions, labor problems and then the big daddy...where do I sell the produce? Growing is one thing, marketing another and every step costs money.
Or you can just go down to Costco and buy the same product at better quality for less than it cost you to grow. Ag is good, Ag is hard, Sun is hot, drought is unpredictable, workers are fickle and the market has no rules.
Maybe the County can give a few million to the "new farmers", no need pay back, just go plant some seeds. Wear coveralls, get a sunrise necklace, achieve a shrill voice and join the rest of the wealthy rambutan cheese growers from the NS. There is no justice in farming. Just prayers and hard work. And prayers are often left unanswered.
I suggest Tim Bynum be hired as the New County Ag Administrator he understands the legal system, he can house workers in bootleg rooms, has a calm and peaceful demeanor, will promise not to throw sh*t during negotiations and we can hire another blemished politician with a nice fat job.
As far as the plantations go...we are still using most of their stuff. The roads, thousands of houses, elec lines etc...most of the hard stuff on the island was made by sugar, hundreds of years ago. So as you sit on Kuhio Highway stuck in traffic, thank the Sugar Kings, they built the road over a hundred years ago...but blame the politicians...they have added, but few roads since King Cane...not bad. And we have a hard time just patching the pukas in the roads built by others. Jumpin' Jehosafah Batman, what is it we really want? A fat salary and an air-conditioned room seems to be the answer. Yikes, Sugar even brought the vast majority of the current Kauai dwellers to the islands. We all owe our Kauai lives and family legacy to Sugar (with the shining exception of the Hawaiians). All of us.

Anonymous said...

Thank God sugar stepped in where Captain Cook left off, so that all the ignorant savages could be fed, housed and given jobs.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the CB article, Anita cannot even get Aunty Charmaine Rapozo's last name correct. She spells it Rapoza twice, but gets it correct under her photo caption. Not nitpicking, but it's just sloppy.

lovinitmaui said...

Another witch hunt on Maui. Instead of aiming their pitchforks at companies that provide hundreds of jobs to families those hypocrites should be using them to try and farm. Hypocrites and armchair activists with no intention to do anything but destroy lives.

Anonymous said...

Pardon the interruption of this post Joan but:

Is the Kauai Retreat Center (Hilary's unpermitted place)still open in Waipake? Since it is on AG land my reading is that there will be no permit, and especially since she does not live there? True? Any insight would be appreciated.


Joan Conrow said...

It's tragic that KITV's Brenton Awa has such a poor grasp of the issue. What a mash up that story is!

But your interpretation is correct. Hillary Ferris-Chandler's retreat should not be permitted because it is a multi-family dwelling unit (lock out units), is located on ag land and she's not an owner-occupant. It appears to still be operating, however, since it's website calendar shows bookings through 2015. Perhaps it's time for the county to file criminal charges to force her to shut down, as it did with Ed Ben-Dor.

for life said...

8:00am right got it

Chuck Lasker said...

It was the "we will not allow dissenting opinions" attitude that got me to first question the anti-GMO movement. I was strongly anti-GMO and was participating in all the nonsense during the 2491 crusade. I simply asked on one of the secret Hawaii GMO-Free Groups if we should discuss ways to help the 800-1,000 people who would lose their jobs if GMOs were banned here. I was immediately called a Monsanto shill. I tried to continue the discussion, mistakenly thinking anti-GMO was about compassion and caring for people, and got banned from the group.

A while later, while reading an article about cults, I realized the anti leaders use cult techniques to recruit, control, and retain members. The equivalence is striking.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, on top of your experiences, it strikes me that all of the anti-GMO/pesticide/ag activists use Karl Rove's playbook. Politics makes strange bedfellows, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Love cane fires.

Anonymous said...

People should walk the talk. Give farming a try... When you can visualize what kind of effort is needed to "farm" you will certainly go anti-farming. You'll be too tired by the time you visualize the harvesting part and getting your crop to market. People grumble because it is so easy to do so. You do not need any equipment at all, just your mouth and .......mind.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that as soon as the lawsuit favored the plaintiffs in the Waimea vs GMO dust, the seed companies are packing their bags.

Is it because there's something more that is beneath the surface?

Let the universities and org's test those sites immediately and if there is something toxic then hold them accountable and if there is not then they will have verified their reports and Hooser and his supporters must make a public apology and find another industry to help support the families in the west side of Kauai.

Anonymous said...

The Anti's....all mouth and no follow thru. All they want to do is protest; not actually work. Protesting us fun! Working is hard. These are hippies of today. It's a social thing. "Hey! You going to the rally?" "See ya there man!" Hopefully they grow up and grow out of their hedonism. But some never do. They grow up and move to Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the 600 acre brush fire mauka of Kaumakani? I wonder if Hooser's little gang had something to do with it. "Oops, I lost my cigarette!" I wouldn't put it past him.

Anonymous said...

@3:21 PM, such cute little innuendo. DuPont closed Kekaha due to finances, they started looking into this years ago. The Waimea site, which is the one that was focused on in the lawsuit, is going strong & will stay. Syngenta let go of land & laid off people due to changes in strategy that had nothing to do with the anti-ag people. And now they are hiring again.

I am OK with university research staff other than Valenzuela testing the site. The "orgs" have no credibility and their "data" would mean jack.

Anonymous said...

The 100 something Waimea Residents who sued over dust and won have received more money from Ag than most of the little farmers do.
With one fell swoop 50,000 each. Now this is the real "income from farming agenda" of Da Hoos, MAson, JoAnn etc.
Thar's gold in that thar dust. Money from Ag by-products. Kauai what a system.
There are many ways to get money from Ag. Taxes, lawsuits and fees. Next jackpot is the Dairy. And perhaps several other lawsuits being planned right now in the cloistered rooms of HAPA and lunches with Da Hoos, JoAnn and Mason. Ag is bad. Ag is dusty, they use bad stuffs, the wind blows the dust.
Why did I choose to live in Waimea, a farm intense area? No Mind, I'll get paid. Let's see 50,000? Why that's about 30,000 per ounce of dust. Eureka, 28 times the price of gold. I am surprised the State hasn't made claim, after all the State owns all minerals and dust is a mineral type. The State should get the "dust" money.

Anonymous said...

@6:37 AM - I don't think the plaintiffs each got $50,000. I may be wrong, but I think their attorneys got a substantial portion of the award. After all, that suit was driven by two struggling attorneys; one, a newcomer trying to become established and the other, an adulterer and restroom sex maniac from Oahu. But I guess when suing for free money ya takes what ya gets.

Anonymous said...

i guess we can safely assume that 6:37 has firsthand knowledge of that of which he speaks....