Free informational dinner and movie at Kulana ‘Oiwi Halau on Sept. 14
The group Molokai Mom has organized a weeklong protest against Genetically Modified Organisms on Molokai.
The protest is titled “Occupy Monsanto: Global Action Against Genetic Biohazard.” Scheduled for Sept. 17-21, Molokai Mom has encouraged people to wear all black when they target the Monsanto office in Kalamaula and the Monsanto cornfields at UH Maui College Molokai Education Center, Kaunakakai School, Manila Camp and Hoʻolehua. Protesters will be at these locations each day from 6:30–8 a.m. and 3:30–5 p.m.
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of GMO seeds, is also the largest employer on Molokai. Mycogen is another company that takes advantage of Molokai’s excellent growing conditions to produce GMO corn seeds.
The scientific community is divided on the issue of bioengineered food. Some food experts believe GMOs have contributed to increases in allergies, cancer, birth defects and other degenerative diseases. Still, there are many agriculture scientists who believe GMO technology will open the door for a whole host of crops that will be more nutritious and use less water and pesticides to grow.
A movement calling for the labeling of all foods containing GMO products has been gaining momentum. The group Label It Hawaii successfully fought for the passage of Honolulu City Council Resolution 12-57. Passed in May, this resolution urges the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of all genetically engineered food. Molokai’s Walter Ritte, candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs at-large seat, has been a strong partner with Label It Hawaii in this movement.
Mercy Ritte, founder of Molokai Mom, says it was formed, “because we value the health and safety of our keiki, ʻohana and ʻaina.” The organization states that it is, “a hui of mothers dedicated to raising awareness, informing, and educating our community on the dire issues of chemical agriculture and open-field testing of experimental genetically modified organism (GMO) crops on Molokai.”
Molokai Mom will sponsor a free dinner and movie at the Kulana ‘Oiwi Halau on Friday, Sept. 14 from 5:30-8 p.m. The informational event will feature two guest speakers: Hector Valenzuela, a UH professor specializing in organic/sustainable vegetables from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and Paul Achitoff from Earth Justice, Hawaii.
The dinner offers an opportunity to learn more about the human health and environmental effects of chemical agriculture and open-field testing of experimental, GMO crops on Molokai and throughout Hawaii.
The movie being shown will be “Living Downstream.” It is based on the work of Sandra Steingraber PH. D., an acclaimed ecologist, author and cancer survivor who explores the links between human rights and the environment, with a focus on chemical contamination.
The dinner and movie is sponsored by Hawaii SEED and the Molokai Community Service Council. Molokai Mom has the non-profit MCSC as a sponsor in order to use the facility at Kulana ʻOiwi for the dinner and movie. Hawaii SEED has provided some funding to take care of airfare and hotel accommodations for the guest speakers. All the ingredients for the food have been donated and prepared by local stores, farmers, and individuals in the community. People are asked to bring their own lawn chairs and haliʻi.