Petition Closed
Petitioning Governor Neil Abercrombie and 16 others

Governor Abercrombie, State Legislators, and City and County Council Members: Support Hawaii Farmers Now!

Throughout our state the local agriculture community is under attack.  Many small farmers at farmers' markets have reported that their produce has been dramatically thrown aside by some especially vocal consumers, if it was not grown the way they insisted it to be.  On Oahu and the Big Island, over the last few years thousands of papaya trees were vandalized.  Local farmers’ business pages have been threatened with boycott or disparaged publicly by activists.  Some farmers have been accused of poisoning the land and environmental contamination in an attempt to invalidate their work and livelihoods.  Scientists and other ag advocates, who have supported the farmers have been accused of lying and even threatened with death.  The evidence of all of this is summarized in this story of the The Legend of the A'ole GMO.  Is this the kind of aloha we want to have in our state towards our farmers and others who support them?  

Historically, the agricultural industry relies on both big and small ag.  It is a diverse industry that goes beyond just growing food. Attempts by activist leaders to destroy larger farms or agribusinesses ultimately harms the most vulnerable ones that rely on these larger entities to provide infrastructure support, research, and economies of scale to reduce cost of inputs.  We cannot allow the heart of our agricultural communities, including our small farmers, to be subjected to these misguided attacks.  Their hard work is too vital to our islands and food sustainability and a hit on them only unravels the very fabric of our agricultural economy that was started because of large industries like pineapple and sugar cane.  

To further compound the problem, county politicians are listening to the most vocal and ill informed people to base these laws upon and farmers are being attacked by these same activists. These activists have come worldwide due to the overwhelming efforts of a well funded industry.  They appear as if they are speaking for the local farmers and people, but the fact is they do not represent each and every small farmer affected by this.  If we as a state are to maintain and grow our local ag industry, we need the support of our government leaders or our farmers will have no incentive to continue the tireless work they do.  Farmers don't have the time to continually be defending their work.

Many of these activists are not well educated and it shows in their commentaries. In spite of this, somehow these are the very people that are getting the attention of the lawmakers  of our state.  They are the same people who even threatened  Mayor Carvalho when he realized the difficult and problematic issues with the Kauai anti-ag bill.  That is not pono at all.

In addition, the activist groups that are contacting our government leaders claim to want to protect the aina and our people, but then they misinform followers that have been fear mongered, which results in nasty commentaries. The Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition is a good example and has some of the most vile comments. Then there are the Babes Against Biotech with their ongoing campaign of misinformation  and bullying tactics. Hawaii SEED is yet another group actually being funded by non-local sources that is out to destroy any type of agriculture that is not organic. These groups are all about keeping people in the dark about technology and taking away important tools for the future based upon fear and misinformation.  They are out to destroy any farm big or small that does not comply with their ideology. This is not consistent with the heart of Hawaii agriculture that relies on cooperation and coexistence.

Do we want this kind of atmosphere to continue on our islands? Apparently rogue county council members like this kind of maneuvering and are on their way to destroying the future of agriculture. Here is a take on what will happen if we go the route we are heading if our leaders listen to them.  We are about to reject the scientific evidence and consensus built over several decades in the name of ignorance? That's irresponsible and shortsighted.

Perceived public opinion does not always make for good laws.  While still unclear if these activists have swayed a large majority of the state population, it still does not make for good policy.  The consequences of shortsighted thinking and the latest trend of the moment can have long-term repercussions that we can never recover from.  

In terms of policies that affect local agriculture and food sustainability, government leaders have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest for the future of our agricultural industry as a whole, and in particular focus on supporting the crucial minority who are the farmers and ag workers in our state.  If you continue to listen and capitulate to activists who use fear, bullying, and a “our way or the highway” attitude , then you are sending a message to the vast majority of food producers in our state that they would be better off getting out of the farming business.   Instead of worrying about meeting the demands of these fear-mongering activists, most of whom do not even farm or know how hard it is, you should be listening to the farmers and agricultural professionals that are doing actual  work to solve problems and feed us.  That is the responsible thing to do for resolving ag issues in our state and our farmers are calling upon you now.  Honor and cherish our farmers across the state now by showing your support!

 

Letter to
Governor Neil Abercrombie
Kauai County Council Members
Hawaii Representatives
and 14 others
Hawaii Senators
Hawaii State Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
State Representative Lauren Cheape
State Senator Russell Ruderman
State Representative K Mark Takai
State Representative Christopher Lee
State Senator Mike Gabbard
State Representative Jessica Wooley 2
State Representative Karl Rhoads
State Representative Cynthia Thielen
State Representative Sylvia Luke
Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Hawaii County Council Members
As many of you know, there is a huge division happening in our local communities that is the result of negative propaganda campaigns against commercial agriculture and biotechnology. County leaders are listening to the most ill informed people as a base to form new laws restricting agricultural activity and now the livelihoods of farmers are under attack. If we as a state are to grow our agricultural industry, we need the support of our government leaders or our farmers will have no incentive to continue the tireless work they do.

Recently local farmers have been frequent targets of these activists. They have been subject to death threats, agro-terrorism and disrespectful comments on their business and social media pages. This is not the local style way of doing things in our islands.

Many of these people are not well educated and it shows in commentaries made that reflect their ignorance and yet some-how these are the same people that are getting the attention of our local government leaders. These are the same people who even threatened Mayor Carvalho when he realized the difficult and problematic issues with the Kauai County anti-ag bill. That is not pono at all.

The activist groups that are contacting you are also full of unsubstantiated claims and nasty comments. The Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition is an example of some of the most rude and vile comments. Then there is the Babes Against Biotech with their negative propaganda and bullying tactics. These groups are all about keeping people in the dark regarding technology and taking away tools for the future of farming, based on nothing more than fear and misinformation.

Do we want this kind of atmosphere to continue for the agricultural industry here in our islands? Apparently some rogue county council members like this kind of maneuvering and are on their way to destroying the future of Hawaii agriculture. We are about reject the sound scientific evidence base created over several decades in the name of ignorance? That's irresponsible.

Perceived public opinion does not always make for good laws. While still unclear if these activists have swayed a large majority of the state population, it still does not make for good policy. The consequences of shortsighted thinking and the latest trend of the moment can have long-term repercussions that we can never recover from.

Regarding policies that affect local agriculture and food sustainability, government leaders have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest for our agricultural industry as a whole, and in particular focus on supporting the crucial minority who are the farmers and ag workers. If you continue to capitulate to activists who use fear, bullying, and an “our way or the highway” attitude, then you are sending a message to the vast majority of food producers in our state that they would be better off getting out of the farming business. Instead of worrying about meeting the demands of these fear-mongering activists, most of whom do not even farm or understand how difficult it is, you should be listening to the farmers and agricultural professionals that are doing the actual work to solve problems and feed us.

Consider the science, not the slick propaganda marketing slogans to base your decisions on. That is the responsible thing to do for the future of agriculture in our state. Hawaii's heritage has its roots in agriculture and we need to honor it and give it our support in these tumultuous times if we want to continue its legacy here.