Reported by: Marisa Yamane
Haleiwa is usually crowded on weekends with folks stopping by to get shave ice, eat lunch or go shopping.
And on Saturday, it was especially packed, but not because of the typical reasons.
People came out and held a protest.
They came from different parts of the state, different walks of life, all with the same message.
“No GMO’s, we want Hawaii to be a free zone for GMO foods.”
They’re against GMOs which stands for genetically modified organisms.
A guy even wrote a rap about it.
“We all have a right to know whats in our food and what we are eating. And the truth is that we don’t,” said Evan Shafram with Good Vibe Los Angeles.
An estimated 300 people marched through part of Haleiwa even taking up a lane of traffic.
They say in Haleiwa and Waialua there are thousands of acres of GMO corn and canola being grown.
“The main concerns about GMO’s is that it is untested and an unknown technology,” sated Hector Valenzuela, UH Manoa professor and crop specialist.
The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association responded to the protest and allegations.
“We support genetically engineered crops. They’ve been around for 20 years, we’ve had 3 trillion servings consumed without any health or safety incident,” stated Alicia Maluafiti, Executive Director Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.
“There is concerns about GMO’s and also about the use of chemicals needed to grow those crops,” said Valenzuela.
“Farmers are able to use fewer pesticides by growing biotech crops. So it is completely misleading,” said Maluafiti.
Folks will be taking their anti-GMO protest to the neighbor islands this month.
Next week Saturday they’ll march on Kauai. The following Saturday in Hilo on the Big Island.
March 23rd on Maui and the final Saturday of the month on Molokai.
“Basically the march today is about the future of agriculture here in Hawaii.”
The protest was organized by a number of groups and people including the Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition, Da Hui, Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte and Makua Rothman.