Michael Broady Jr. (L) and Oren Tsutsumi (R) protest Council’s removal of GMO labeling from meeting agenda.
Image: Karleanne Matthews

Calling it “seed money,” the agrochemical company DuPont Pioneer recently gave 59 third-graders at Kauai’s ‘Eleele School $25 each to open a savings account. Teacher Lori Carl had applied for a school grant from Pioneer, which grows genetically modified (GMO) seeds, when University of Hawaii funding for the west side school’s financial literacy program was cut.

“More importantly, we have formed a partnership between the school, Kaumakani Federal Credit Union and Pioneer,” Carl said to The Garden Island newspaper. “This partnership benefits our children who are the future of Kauai.”

The children traveled to the company’s Waimea facility to say thanks and take a tour. They were given seeds that they “planted” in a plastic glove so that they could watch the germination process at home.

“It was a blatant propaganda move, and I know a number of parents of students at the school who feel the same way, but they’re torn by the old ‘Thumper Principle’ [‘If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all’] and the fact that a significant number of families are tied to the company for a job,” commented Waimea resident Elaine Albertson in an email to the Weekly. “Hence, they will not speak out. Kids at this age mostly don’t have a clue as to the implications of the corporation’s actions. They were used, and they don’t even know it.”