Only Jessica Else and The Garden Island would treat a couple's eviction from the Kalihiwai Community Garden as “news.” I mean, gosh, cutting down a banana tree without permission? Heinous!
But in scanning that tripe, I was struck by this statement from the Board of Directors of Malama Kauai, which oversees the garden in Kalihiwai (and has co-opted the publicly-funded “community farm” in Kilauea by conferring its own name on the project):
It is our kuleana to hold members responsible for respectful behavior and our community garden rules are one way we do this in Kalihiwai.
How curious, that the Board demands “respectful behavior” from its gardeners, but does not hold its new executive director, Megan Fox, to the same standard.
The Board's statement also noted that the couples' actions were not “the pono way of dealing with such a situation in our small community.”
Hmmm. Is the Board even aware of Megan's own disrespectful behavior, her own ugly history of failing to “[deal] with things in a pono way in our small community” — a community with a long memory, a community she has worked to polarize?
I'm talking about Megan's role in the anti-GMO movement, her participation in the mob mentality that surrounded the GMO/pesticide regulatory Bill 2491. And more specifically, her attacks on longtime Kauai flower farmer Johnny Goriness and his business,Tropical Flowers Express. As Joni Kamiya noted in her blog at the time:
When the issue of Bill 2491 hit the island of Kauai last year, some farmers, who know the agriculture issues in Hawaii, spoke out. Johnny was one of them. Others stood in the background instead of taking the risk of being a target. Little did he know that he was not dealing with local folks, and was barraged with disrespect and hate for submitting testimony for the bill and for a letter in The Garden Island paper.
One of those disrespectful haters was Megan Fox, who arrived on Kauai from San Jose in 2013. Like so many other malihini looking to belong, she jumped on the anti-GMO bandwagon and quickly began trashing anyone who dared to disagree:
Even rabid anti Joanna Wheeler recognized that wasn't “the pono way of dealing with such a situation in our small community.”
But Megan went ahead and left disparaging remarks about Tropical Flowers Express on Yelp:
Yelp later removed at least one of her reviews “for violating our Content guidelines or Terms of Services.”
Now, I think just about anyone would consider it disrespectful for a JOJ — just off the jet — to trash talk a local who has devoted his life to agriculture. Especially when that JOJ knows zero, zip, zilch about farming:
But Megan didn't stop at Johnny. She also attacked others who are pillars in the Hawaii ag community, including Jerry Ornellas, Kirby Kester and Dennis Gonsalves:
Of course Megan, who is now trying to pass herself off as a "farmers advocate" on Kauai, would love to sweep her past under the rug. Which is why, when Joni recently posted about the attacks on small farmers and I referenced Megan's behavior, Megan contacted Facebook to complain, prompting FB to delete the comments for not meeting its "community standards."
When I emailed Megan about her actions to wipe out the FB comments, she replied:
I'm not sure what happened to you to be so vindictive and hateful but I really hope you go back to finding aloha for others and not continue to be so focused on dredging up negative hate.
Yes, that's how the antis twist things. When you highlight their self-described "negative hate" you suddenly become the hater who needs to find aloha for others. WTF?
Our community needs to build bridges, overcome the past and work together towards common future to benefit all. There ARE things we can agree on, and focusing on moving those things forward is much more beneficial than mud slinging and gossip. Why you're so against that I will never know.
If you’re interested in "building bridges, overcoming the past and working toward a common future to benefit all," you would have taken that opportunity to apologize to Johnny Gordines. Instead, you sought to have me censored by complaining to FB to get the comment removed.
Let me turn your question around: what happened to YOU to be so vindictive and hateful during 2491? To the extent of trying to destroy a good man’s business.
I’m definitely not against finding common areas of agreement and moving forward, though I certainly don’t see you or any of the other antis working toward that. But it really grates to see people who were actively working to harm small farmers now claim to be all peace and love and ag advocates, no less.
Please drop the sanctimony and self-righteousness. It rings hollow.
To borrow a line from sovereignty and social justice movements, "there can be no reconciliation without addressing the past."
Regardless of how one feels about GMOs, there's no denying that the anti movement sowed an ugly divisiveness in the community that chillingly mirrored the Twilight Zone classic "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street."
And yes, it does grate to see antis now making like nothing nasty ever happened as they try to recreate themselves as "aloha aina warriors" and "agvocates."
If people like Megan want to enjoy a position of leadership and respect in the community, they should start by issuing an apology and showing a little humility. And since they love to throw around Hawaiian words like "pono" and "malama aina," here's one they should learn: ha'aha'a.
Yes, let's all move forward — from a place of the antis acknowledging and taking responsibility for their bad behavior, their false accusations against farm workers, their polarization, their lies.
And don't come back with "Monsanto is evil." We're not talking about Monsanto. We're talking about real harm done to real farmers and ag workers in your own back yard. Own it.
Especially if you plan to start holding others to "respectful and pono behavior."