No to GMO

I commend the Weekly’s story on GMO Transparency [Sept. 26]. Your story helped to highlight why the GMO industry spends millions of dollars to prevent labeling and usurp American consumers’ democratic right to know and choose.

There’s been an epidemic of suicides by India farmers, according to a 2011 report released by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU’s Law School. Millions of Indian farmers adopted GM Crops, which studies have shown provide no benefits, but trap farmers into a perpetual system of dependence that ends up bankrupting them.

US and Indian farmers have been hoodwinked by multinational biotechnology giants into adopting GM Crops, based on deceitful claims that [they] will improve yields. Such claims are absolutely baseless, and no legitimate studies have ever proven them to be true; however Indian and US politicians apparently don’t care. Here in Hawaii the GMO industry is shoveling money to our politicians and the UH to buy their support as they quietly take over our precious farmlands to develop their dubious crops that are providing no value to the people of Hawaii.

Let’s hope your story gets folks thinking and asking serious questions . . . Better yet, let’s hope it helps to push the GMO industry out of Hawaii.

Guthrie Seeger Kahalu’u, HI

In a grand hypocritical gesture to benefit a few, City Council Chair Ernie Martin recommended eliminating bus fares for seniors and the handicapped, saving them $30 a year. But when it came to benefiting ALL the people in Hawaii by mandatorily labeling GMO foods, he voted against that. It makes one wonder if Mr. Martin accepted campaign contributions from the biotech industry causing him to not want to bite the hand that fed him.

Hesh Goldstein, MSNutri “Health Talk” Moderator K-108 Radio

Editor’s response

In 2011, Monsanto gave $250 to Martin.[monsanto.com]

Who remembers that in his opening day speech to the legislature in 2008, Rep. [Kirk] Caldwell sounded an alarm, warning that Hawaii was losing its farmland faster than any other state in the country but one and asking “When is enough, enough?” Now, four years later, he is championing both Koa Ridge and Hoopili, developments that will pave over 2,000-plus acres of Oahu’s most productive farmland, growing 40 percent of our local produce Cayetano has spoken up against these developments, citing those lands as critical to our food security.

However I’ve yet to hear either candidate outline specific steps they plan to take to stop this hemorrhaging of our farmland. That is, farmland for local farmers, growing food for local consumption, not to multinational seed companies for GMO experimentation. (Kudos to the Weekly for your super reporting on this.)

It’s hard to keep up with all the ag land being slated for development, from Makaha to Laie. Who is looking out for our future generations? Where are our mayoral candidates on these critical questions? When did building rail and filling potholes become more important than ensuring we have enough land left to feed our children?

Beth McDermott Honolulu, HI