GMO Taro Ban

SUBHEAD: Efforts to stop genetically modified taro continue.
By Jeri DiPietro on 15 February 2009
This is our gmo free Taro bill that would BAN all gmo taro in the state of Hawai`i. The hearing will be on Wednesday at 9:10 am in Honolulu. Please testify in support of HB 1663 to the Hawaiian Affairs committee. will place the appropriate heading and room number.
Please submit testimony to malama Haloa the taro by clicking Maka`ala Legislation 2009 at or at
HB 1663 hearing notice for the Wednesday, the 18th, please submit testimony ,

HB 1663



Prohibits the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting, or growing of genetically modified taro in the State of Hawaii.

here's the link to submit testimony


image above: Painting 'The Planter" by Herb Kawainui Kane.

Other events on Kaua`i include:

• Monday, Feb 16 KKCR Mixed Plate with Jimmy Trujillo & GMO free Kauai 5 to 6pm • Thursday, Feb 19 sign waving for gmo free taro in Hawai`i Lihue airport gateway 3 to 6pm • Tuesday, Feb 24 gmo free Kaua`i meeting at Cafe Cocos 7pm • Saturday, March 7 free Community Seed and Plant Exchange at Koloa Neighborhood Center with registration beginning at noon and seed exchange at 2pm Important you come out this Thursday! HB 1663 is being heard this week before the Hawaiian Affairs committee in the House, and then will move to the agriculture committee. Last year citizens from across the state submitted over 7000 letters of testimony in support of protecting Haloa the taro from genetic modification. Please join us and show your support for HB 1663 by bringing a sign or banner, or coming to hold one of our signs. We want to malama Haloa and protect traditional Hawaiian varieties and protect the rights of taro farmers to save their huli and replant their fields in the manner that they have practiced for generations. Genetically modified and patented taro must be repurchased from the UH each time you plant your field. Seeds and planting material have always been a free, common resource for growers. Don't allow farmers to lose their right to save the seed and huli that20they produce. The University of Hawai`i has experimented on the forceful insertion of DNA from the unrelated species of wheat, rice and grapevine. We must prevent these plantlets from leaving the laboratory and mixing in the environment with our 60 traditional varieties of taro. You cannot tell genetically altered taro from traditional taro by looking at them. If these synthetic plants are released, we would never know for certain which taro contained potential food allergens and which were hypo allergenic. KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance and Na Kahu o Haloa are working to spread the good news about ongoing taro-related current events. Na Kahu O Haloa, the "Guardians of Haloa", are taro farmers and consumers from many diverse backgrounds and purposes joined together to share our profound respect and aloha for Haloa--the taro plant, a sacred and healthy plant that is uniquely important to Hawaii's ecology, local agriculture and traditions. We encourage your continued support to Malama Haloa and perpetuate taro culture in Hawaii, by helping to: - Protect water rights for taro farmers and native ecosystems, and, - Protect natural taro from the risks posed by genetically modified, or GMO-taro. Haloa is Growing Strong in 2009!!! Many lo'i kalo (taro patches) have been re-opened in just the past few months all over Hawaii nei, as well as beginning the restoration of neighboring native ecosystems. Volunteers at community work days come excited to learn the ancient and modern techniques used to set up taro patches in a variety of locations and environments. Many go home to plant their own patches or pots of all kinds of Hawaiian kalo- looking forward to choice lu'au leaf and 'ono homemade poi for the family!SB709 Good news! SB709- a bill to protect taro from genetic modification, on PASSED its 1st hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment last week! Six of the seven senators on the committee voted in favor of banning on GMO-Taro. Mahalo piha to the Senators who listened to the community concerns and did their own research: Senator Mike Gabbard, Senator J. Kalani English, Senator Russell S. Kokubun, Senator Josh Green, Senator Gary L. Hooser, and Senator Les Ihara. Only 1 voted against the ban, Senator Fred Hemmings. The committee also agreed to amend the original language of the bill, upon the recommendation of taro farmers, with language that will protect all varieties of taro, not just Hawaiian varities. These good amendments also present other important points brought up in HB1663. This bill should be getting its 2nd hearing in the next couple weeks. NEXT for SB709, more or less: 1) it will be reviewed by the Committee on Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs, which is chaired by Sen. Clayton Hee (D-Kahuku/Laie/Kaneohe). If it passes the vote, then it will- 2) be heard by the entire Senate, if it passes the vote then it will- 3) cross-over to the House to be heard in committees and voted on, then- 4) heard by entire House of Reps, if it passes the vote then- 5) to Governor for approval, then- 6) become an official law. What happened to the GMO-taro bills last year? Did you know that if the 2008 bill (SB958) to ban GMO-taro had been heard by the entire House of Representatives it would have passed with a majority of votes? Its true! Not only did the bill have the support of the majority of the House but it also had already passed all the way through the Senate. What happened at the end was that a small group of legislators, led by Reps. Calvin Say & Clift Tsuji, 'poisoned' the bill to represent only the interests of the biotech industry, despite the public's overwhelming concerns and support of a ban on GMO-taro. Our challenge, this year, is not to be discouraged by the unfair actions of those few but to continue to gather the majority of support and make our public voice ever stronger-- e Onipa'a, to protect our right to eat and farm healthy, safe, natural taro. This historic and crucial effort takes commitment and time- but after 1,200+ years of natural kalo farming we got plenty of both, plus pure Aloha! Mahalo nui loa for your kokua! For more information please contact: Jeri Di Pietro 651 1332 or MiKey Boudreaux 651 9603

see also: Island Breath: UH releases tarot patents 6/23/06

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