Richard Ha writes:
At the recent Hawai‘i County Council committee meeting about Bill 79, the anti-GMO bill, I said that it was a “Man Bites Dog” story because 90 percent of the Council room in Hilo was filled by small farmers.
And it’s still a Man Bites Dog story. Yesterday, our local farmers organized a rally, and 50 cattle trucks, papaya trucks, delivery trucks, etc. went around and around in front of the County building.
This video made by Lorie Farrell shows the farmers and the impressive rally:
Most trucks had two people in it. There were cattle ranchers, papaya farmers, nursery industry, banana farmers and others.
From the Hawaii Tribune-Herald:
Farmers rally against GMO ban
Farmers and ranchers voice their opposition to County bill 79 on Friday in front of the Hawaii County Building
By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald staff writer
“I’m here to save my job,” the woman explained as she waved to a honking line of vehicles crawling by the front of the Hawaii County Building on Aupuni Street in Hilo, shortly after 2 p.m. Friday.
The Panaewa papaya packer of nine years, who would only give her first name — Diana — said that she had joined with other agriculture industry workers to voice their opposition to Bill 79, a measure being proposed by County Councilwoman Margaret Wille that would limit the use of genetically modified crops on Hawaii Island.
“We want them to vote no on Bill 79,” she said....
In my 30-something years of farming, I have never seen diverse farmers come together to support each other like this. I could see on everybody’s face that it was not a one-time thing!
Farmers have, as their top priorities, taking care of their families, workers, and feeding Hawai‘i’s people. Bill 79 is alarming because it pits the community against farmers, and farmers against farmers. Now farmers are having to defend themselves for being farmers.
In the Hawaiian culture, farmers were highly esteemed. This is not rocket science: If you like eat, you need someone who knows how to grow the food.
Farmers have some good characteristics to help them cope with the future. They are multi-talented and can fix equipment as well as grow crops. But most of all, they have good, old-fashioned common sense. This is the most important trait one must have to face an uncertain future.