Group Organizes “Plant Against Monsanto” Event, May 23
By Wendy Osher
GMO Free Maui will join Simpli Fresh Farms and resident Alika Atay in a world-wide day of action against Monsanto during a “Plant Against Monsanto” event on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
Organizers say they intend to plant food “with a goal of bringing Maui one step closer to food sovereignty and a future that is not dependent on chemical agriculture.”
In an event announcement, James Simpliciano of Simpli Fresh Produce, West Maui Cooperative talked about the upcoming event saying, “It’s important on so many levels to know where your food comes from. Join us in our effort to feed people locally grown, nutritious food. The hands you put into the soil, are the hands that will build this movement.”
Autumn Ness of GMO Free Maui says the group continues to fight for GMO labeling. “Communities pass laws requiring GMO labeling, Maui voted on a GMO moratorium, and Monsanto sues. They have also occupied our governments and our judicial system. As we continue to fight for labeling and for our Maui moratorium, we take steps to de-occupy our food supply. We bring Maui closer to a food system that is local, sustainable, and chemical free,” said Ness in an event announcement.
Representatives with Monsanto Hawaiʻi on Maui responded to the news saying, “We know that people have different points of view, and Monsanto Hawaiʻi is committed to having an open dialogue about food and agriculture – we’re proud of the work we do, and we’re eager for people to know more about us.”
Carol Reimann, community affairs manager for Monsanto on Maui continued saying, “We’re also proud of our collaboration with farmers and partnering organizations that support agriculture and help make a more balanced meal accessible for everyone. Our goal is to help farmers do this in a more sustainable way using fewer resources and having a smaller impact on the environment.”
Alika Atay, one of the five individuals who led the SHAKA Movement’s effort to pass a GMO moratorium in Maui County during the 2014 general election said the the last few years have been spent marching and talking. In an event announcement he said, “Now we move to the next phase, we plant the solution. We will spend Saturday making a statement that our future is in growing good, local, chemical free food, so we can have healthy people, healthy land for generations to come.”
Monsanto representatives maintain assertions that food safety is a top priority. In an email communication with Maui Now, Monsanto’s Reimann said, “As consumers ourselves, we care about the quality and safety of the food we eat, and we’re committed to developing products that contribute to safe and nutritious food choices… we conduct rigorous and comprehensive testing on each and every one of our products. In fact, GM seeds have been tested more than any other seeds in the history of agriculture – with no evidence of harm to humans or animals. Regulatory agencies, scientific organizations and leading health associations worldwide agree that GM foods are just as safe as any other food.”
In addition to the planting event at Simpli Fresh Farms in Lahaina, GMO Maui will announce their new leadership on Saturday.
The schedule of events includes the following:
- 7 a.m.: pule (prayer)
- 7:30 a.m.: Hands in the soil. James Simpliciano, Alika Atay and their crew have prepped 2.5 acres of land to plant sweet potatoes, kalo, pumpkin and tomatoes.
- 11 a.m.: Locavore Potluck (guests are asked to bring their own plate and utensils, and one dish made from Hawaiian sourced ingredients.)
- afternoon: head to the beach