For Chris Kobayashi and her husband, Dimi Rivera, it all started with Japanese cucumbers. "In 1997 we said, 'OK, let's grow Japanese cucumbers, but let's grow it organically,'" Kobayashi tells me as we walk around her farm in Hanalei Bay on Kaua'i's North Shore. "You know, because they are crispy, crunchy, and yummy and you can eat the skin and everything."
Given its fragile and unusually rich ecology, the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i seems ill-suited as a site for agricultural experiments that use heavy amounts of toxic chemicals. But four transnational corporations -- Syngenta, BASF Plant Science, DuPont Pioneer, and Dow AgroSciences -- have been doing just those kinds of experiments here for about two decades, extensively spraying pesticides on their GMO test fields. As a result, the landscape on the southwest corner of the island has become one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture.
Hawai'i has become "ground zero" in the controversy over genetically modified (GMO) crops and pesticides. The out-of-state pesticide and GMO firms Syngenta, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow Chemical, BASF, and Bayer CropScience have brought substantial sums of corporate cash into the state's relatively small political arena.
President Barack Obama’s administration has done something no other has done: introduced federal rules limiting carbon emissions from the nation’s existing power plants.
In a special session called for late September and early October 2013, legislators jammed through a bill that preempts Oregon counties from regulating their own agriculture and seeds.
A "radical shift away from the collaborative government ... pioneering organic farming advocates demanded."
California is a trendsetter. Food, fashion, music, film. Usually, that’s a good thing. But not always.
Despite huge losses of bees that are crucial to pollination of food plants, pesticide companies selling neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides -- which a growing body of science indicates contribute to bee declines -- have ramped up efforts to sew doubt about and distract from pesticides' contribution to the problem.