by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, February 8, 2017
Tomorrow, a bunch of people will once again descend down to the Capitol building to testify at the buffer zone hearings. None of my family members will be there. It’s not because we don’t want to but it’s because we have real responsibilities.
My dad and brother will be around the island in delivery trucks getting the papayas to the customers waiting for their weekly fill. Any delay in deliveries leaves their phones ringing off the hook. I will be at my day job taking care of my residents in need of rehabilitation. I also have to be around to pick up my kids and get homework and baths done. There’s many things to be done on a daily basis.
As soon as my dad and brother finish deliveries, they are preparing to pick more fields tomorrow and survey the fields for any diseases and pests. They are also maintaining their trucks and tractors to ensure its in working condition. They can’t afford to stand outside a hearing room for several hours to defend their work as they have done for the last 4 years.
Meanwhile, the same activists along with their lead lobbyist, Ashley Lukens, will be leisurely waiting to launch their tirades against the “large corporations” and putting in a bitty clause that it won’t affect the small guys. They do this every single year. Because they have never visited a farm, they know nothing of our locations and the public’s perception of this excessive and misleading fear mongering. Misleading people is Lukens' forte and making it cool that others repeat her mantras.
If you look closely at the activists there, none of any have t-shirt tans or even the slightest hint of field dirt under their nails or on their shoes. They are all clean and free of the hands in the dirt look but to the politicians, this is the voice of what needs to happen in agriculture. Many non-farmer politicians buy into the emotional stories hook, line, and sinker.
If only more people tomorrow would step back and critically examine what’s being asked. The numbers of GM fields grown in the US is at 175.2 million acres yet Ashley isn’t going to these communities asking for the same buffer zones. Why not if she truly wants to protect people?
The truth is out there if one is willing to examine it. Until alternative facts are rejected, the small farmers of Hawaii will continue to suffer being the collateral damage of outside activists.
The fear mongering leaves people irrational to the point of vandalizing crops.