Molokai Mom sponsors GMO protest the week of Sept. 17

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.


9 Responses

  1. eh, moloka’i news-

    do you think it appropriate to maybe post moloka’i kitchen’s “war garden/victory garden” entry here? somehow the two seem to compliment each other well.

    just a suggestion

  2. I must clarify a few things:

    MOLOKAI MOM has organized two upcoming events: Free ʻDinner and a Movieʻ and ʻOccupy Monsanto Global Action Against Genetic Biohazardsʻ.

    I need to mention that the ʻMovie and a Dinnerʻ event is not an anti-Monsanto event, nor are the guest speakers going to present an anti-Monsanto stance. They will, however, present information on human rights & environment. They will also share information regarding the connection between GMOs and pesticides/chemical agriculture and how this affects human health and our environment. Information about the ʻOccupy Monsantoʻ event will not be discussed here, as the beginning of the article seems to suggest. If people inquire, we will share more information at a later time.

    The purpose is to inform people on the issues I mentioned above and allow those who attend, to decide for themselves how they feel about industrial agriculture or the way our lands are being “farmed”. It is my personal hope that this will prompt others to research further, pay closer attention to food labels, be aware of what is happening to our resources and environment, and ask questions or search for answers.

    As for the ʻOccupy Monsantoʻ event, some of the individuals who participate in this global demonstration may clearly announce an opposition toward the Monsanto corporation, but it is much more that just “throwing dirt” (as I once heard someone put it). It is about breaking the silence and publicly expressing the concerns we have for our keiki and environment. It is expressing what Molokai needs presently and for the future, in order to sustain us and the generations to come. It is supporting our right, and Californiaʻs efforts, to know what is in our food. It is about combining our voices, world-wide, to demand quality and safe food. It is to promote alternatives for jobs that will not compromise ANYONEʻS health.

    Joining this effort is much deeper than just being an angry “protestor”. For me, it is a motherʻs plea to these industrial agriculture corporations to farm responsibility, care for the long-term health of the environment and people who dwell here.

    Lastly, a free dinner and activities for the keiki are being offered to create a comfortable, inviting atmosphere for families, so they will get the most out of the information. I say this, because I am a mother and I know how troublesome it is to be at a meeting, while tending to my children and figuring out what to do for dinner.

    Please understand that MOLOKAI MOM has evolved into being more than just an “anti” or out to “protest” hui. We are mothers who have one common goal: To protect what we love! Our children!


  3. Aside for some areas that needed to be clarified, thank you David for your willingness to promote both events for MOLOKAI MOM!

    • wow!

      well w”ritte”n.

      i speak not for david’s publication, but solely for myself- please come back and tell us how it goes (i’m 1/3 the way around the world from d’kine).

    • Sorry if the story created any confusion. Thank you, Mercy, for taking the time to clarify the goals of your group and providing more details on the dinner and movie. I look forward to hearing more from your hui.

  4. Mahalo Steve! Yes, will keep you posted!

  5. […] September, the group held an event at Kulana ‘Oiwi showing the movie “Living Downstream” about chemical contamination. Molokai […]

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