Maui Group Leads Weekend March Against Monsanto
By Wendy Osher
GMO Free Maui hosted a Maui March Against Monsanto over the weekend as part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about GMOs and pesticides.
The Bee The Change international march attracted anti-GMO supporters in a procession that began at War Memorial Stadium and continued along Kaʻahumanu Avenue in Kahului on Saturday afternoon.
Event organizers distributed informational material saying they hope to ban open air experimentation, want Monsanto off the island, and want to “make it clear to the world” that they do not want to be “ground zero for GMO experimentation.”
According to event material, solutions suggested include: eating and growing local; planting food forests; saving and sharing seeds; and educating others on a healthy lifestyle.
Many of the signs had specific messages to Monsanto speaking out against the company with some posters reading, “Evict Monsanto,” “Label GMO,” and “I am not a science experiment.”
In response to the march, Monsanto Maui Community & Government Affairs Manager Carol Reimann issued a statement saying, “Monsanto Hawaiʻi respects the right to express an opinion,” but she contends, “there are many false and misleading statements that misrepresent the facts and are not based on credible science.”
“Ag biotechnology has led to products with significant global benefits, including helping to increase the food supply, reduce pesticide sprayings and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
Reimann described GMO foods as safe and said they are a “critical part” of making sure people have enough food to eat as the population grows.
“With a thousand employees in Hawaiʻi, we play a prominent role in supporting Hawaii’s agricultural community, and we take our responsibilities seriously,” said Reimann, who pointed towards the company’s “outstanding safety record” and “decades of scientific evidence.”
“We work hard to be a good neighbor, and we’re proud to contribute to local agriculture, education and communities statewide,” she said.
“Monsanto is committed to open and respectful dialogue, and we encourage everyone to please take the time to learn more about us and how we are working to support farmers and promote sustainable agriculture in Hawaiʻi and worldwide,” said Reimann.
In September, the US Senate eliminated a provision within an appropriations bill that would have provided protections to Monsanto.
The march comes on the heels of similar anti-GMO rallies held in the islands in recent months that were also organized in coordination with GMO Free Maui.