Learning / “Our islands are currently the world’s most significant center of biotechnology seed experiments,” according to Jeri Di Pietro, president of Hawaii SEED, a nonprofit organization that aims to educate islanders about the threat posed by GMO agriculture, and one of the organizers for Dr. Vandana Shiva’s anticipated upcoming visit to Hawaii. “A significant portion of our state’s agricultural lands [is] currently used by [genetically modified] seed companies to produce an inedible product that is shipped off-island, rather than contributing to a local farming economy,” Di Pietro adds.
Indian philosopher, physicist, environmental activist, author and eco-feminist, Dr. Shiva (focus of our Jan. 9 cover story, “Food As Weapon”) will speak to legislators, students, agricultural specialists and community members on Oahu and Kauai about food justice and sustainable agriculture. Shiva’s presentation, “Seed Freedom is Food Freedom,” will touch upon the importance of preserving biological diversity and intellectual democracy in agricultural policy. “We hope that Dr. Shiva’s expertise in sustainable farming can help to transition our islands into cleaner, more productive local land use,” says Di Pietro. While Shiva describes using food as a weapon of oppression, she offers action for peace.
“Peace means you grow food locally, non-violently,” Dr. Shiva says. “I look forward to supporting the GMO-free movement in Hawaii.” By the time this paper is distributed, Shiva will have already marched from the University of Hawaii at Manoa to the State Capitol for a presentation, but her remaining appearances include a speech in Kapolei, joined by special guest Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and executive director of the Center for Food Safety. She will be joined by local activist Walter Ritte in Lihue, Kauai.